How To Transfer Military Experience Into Resume

How To Transfer Military Experience Into Resume


If You Don’t Have An Education Degree But Want To Teach

Converting Military Experience To A Civilian Resume

Alternative certification programs, such as the Military Career Transition Program at Old Dominion University are innovative and supportive options. Approximately 90% of students entering the MCTP program have earned bachelor’s degrees, while 45% have earned masters’ degrees. The average age of candidates is 42 years old.

Several essentials for successful military career transition programs include: collaborative efforts, effective advisement and counseling, placement efforts, career follow-up, excellent instructors, and continuous program evaluation. Current information on MCTP is provided to military members throughout the world via the MCTP home page. MCTP students must meet the university’s general education requirements, as well as state course requirements in their certification areas.

The number of courses that constitute teacher training varies depending on the candidate’s experiences and academic record. Typically, after earning a B.A., students earn licensure and a master’s degree with eleven courses in addition to six credit hours and six weeks of student teaching.

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Do your homework before getting started

What happens after you get certified to teach?

Review our resume services or or phone toll-free 1 877 738-8052 today to learn more and get started on your career transition!

Create A Linkedin Profile

This social media tool is optimal for networking and sharing ideas. Having a well-crafted profile not only showcases your skills in a more comprehensive manner than on a standard two-page resume, but it also demonstrates your tech savvy and social media skills, which are strongly desired across various career fields. Plus, you can create a custom URL that can be listed as a form of contact on your resume. Not sure where to start? Check out

Translating Military Experience To Civilian Terms

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High-stress situations. Quick decision making. Teamwork.

You make a fist thrust your hand up high, and dozen a United States Marines snap to attention behind you. Reacting accordingly, the squad makes for cover, concealment. Moments later youre on the comm, summoning the local Explosive Ordinance Disposal team, and posting security

Members of the United States Armed Forces encounter situations like these on a daily basis. The adroit leadership, stony nerve, strong interpersonal skills, and high-stress decision-making exhibited by our service members, mirrors that of top CEOs. With that being said, many a service person transitioning to the civilian sector, fails to convey their military experience into civilian terms. Soldierly jargon tends to get lost in translation, so-to-speak. Nevertheless, interpreting skills gleaned from your enlistment/commission is imperative when seeking gainful employment. Thankfully, all it takes is some creative thinking and a few online resources.

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Use Relatable Terms Instead Of Military Jargon

Military jargon might make sense to you, but it will likely confuse whoever encounters it on your resume. When writing for civilians, it’s best to avoid military jargon acronyms, specific duties, job titles altogether.

But that poses a problem: How do you explain your military service without using those words? You need to find relatable terms that anyone can understand.

Military Speak

“Being able to explain your military experience and how it directly relates to the position that you are applying for is vital,” said Eric Putt, senior program manager with Hiring Our Heroes. “This is how you inform your potential new employer that you possess the basic skills and requirements of the position you have applied to, and the employers want to ensure you meet the minimum requirements of the position.”

If your resume is filled with military jargon, it will be tough for recruiters or employers to tell if you’re qualified for the position. Instead, think of using relatable terms as a way to bridge the gap between the military and civilian worlds.

More About Our Military Transition Resumes

Convert Military Resume To Civilian

For 30+years, our Military Transition resume-writing team has led the resume-writing industry in customer service, product quality, and results. Many of our writers are veterans themselves and take very seriously their responsibility of writing a powerful and competitive resume for our clients. As tricky as it is to demilitarize veterans resumes, our writers have firsthand knowledge of military jargon and know exactly what content to use to describe and translate the experience gained while serving in the military.From enlisted to military flag officers, we take the guesswork out of transforming your military career documentation into strong, demilitarized, accomplishment-focused, and interview-winning military to federal resume presentations.

Generals, Colonels, Admirals, and Navy Captains will be marketed as CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, and COOs in the corporate sector. Well listen to your career transition desires and expectations and develop your military to corporate resume based on your future career transition objectives.

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From A Tank To A Cubicle

“You have to be patient because there is no such thing as a perfect resume,” said Philip Lapple, a former M1 Main Battletank Crewmember in the U.S. Army.

Lapple wants to switch career gears completely and get a job in business. To reach that goal, he is currently attending the University of Maryland, University College and working on a degree in Management Studies.

“I really don’t think I will get a good job until I finish my degree but I’m trying,” said Lapple.

In the meantime, he is working on creating a basic master resume that he can tailor to individual job opportunities as they arise.

“On my resume, I try to show that I am a well-rounded package of education and expertise,” said Lapple adding that it continues to be a work in progress.

“You’re not going to get it right the first time or the second time you write it,” said Lapple who finds himself revising his resume each time someone else critiques it for him.

Lapple understands that he needs to translate specific words in order to make his resume work. Rather than say he was a tank crewmember, he says that he was a heavy equipment operator.

To highlight his skills without over emphasizing equipment operation, he puts strong emphasis on leadership.

“My latest version shows words like mentoring, efficiency, and work load planning. I also use the word “team” instead of platoon or squad,” said Lapple.

Identify Transferable Skills To Include In Your Military To Civilian Resume

The most important and first step in transitioning from a military to a civilian job is to make a list of your transferable skills. Incorporate the keywords you identified in your military to civilian resume and cover letter. A useful tip for identifying transferable skills is to research current job ads to target your interested positions. Identify the skills a hiring manager is interested in when recruiting a desirable candidate. The job ads will help you closely align your keyword choice with companies attributes and experience in demand. Here are some examples:


In this example, a leadership position is used. In addition to leadership, here are other words taken from current leadership job ads:

Start by listing actual positions:

  • Leader/Manager/Vice President/Director of xx xx xx
  • Development Manager

Follow this keyword selection process for all of your competencies. Other examples are:

Operations Management, Training, Intelligence, Security, Computer Programming

Here are more top transferable skills in demand in the civilian sector:

Supply Chain Operations, Logistics, Distribution, Inventory Management, Air Traffic Control, Security Analysis, Asset Protection, Computer Programming

Once you have identified core keywords, writing your military to civilian resume and cover letter will be easier.

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Highlight Your Military Experience

While itâs important to translate your military experience for the sake of civilian clientsâdonât try to hide it completely. Your military experience is an asset. You should own it proudly. Donât be afraid to include your military title and rank in your resume, but provide a civilian translation as well.

As you write the work experience section of your resume, list your military positions with separate subheadings. Within each subheading, include rank/position, company or organization, and dates of employment. You can follow this with a brief description of your job responsibilities and duties. This can be in bullet points for better presentation and donât forget to use civilian terminology.

Pro tip: Focus on highlighting military experiences where you used the skills required for the role you are currently applying for.

Additionally, you can make use of Upworkâs Military Veteran status option. This tool adds a âMilitary Veteranâ status and flag representing the country served to your Upwork profile and lets clients know you are a military veteran. Many clients would love to give opportunities to veterans like you, and this can help them find you.

Translating Your Military Experience For A Civilian Hiring Manager

How to Build your Military-to-Civilian Resume

It may seem a daunting task to effectively translate your military experience on your resume into a format from which a civilian hiring manager can easily extract your civilian qualifications and experience. Hiring managers receive so many resumes that it is imperative that your resume be targeted and concise, with clearly spelled out qualifications and experiences.

Civilian hiring managers can hardly be expected to effectively translate military skills they see on resumes when statistics show that 76% of service members do not know how to translate their own military skills. In fact, having too much military jargon and code on your resume can be the quickest way to ensure your resume is passed over. By translating your skills and experiences for them, you have eliminated the biggest obstacle to transitioning into the civilian workforce.

The first step in translating your resume into civilian terms is to list all positions with specific and quantifiable detail. Quantify how many people worked for you and the dollar amount of the equipment, budgets and programs for which you were responsible for. “Battery Commander” on a resume may not convey much to a civilian hiring manager, but quantifying with “As Battery Commander, I was overall in charge of 100 soldiers and responsible for five million dollars worth of equipment” will demonstrate the depth of your responsibility. Numbers are critical.

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Skills Translation Example Infantryman

The term Infantryman, covers a fairly broad category, encompassing several definitions, and a plethora of responsibilities. As a service member, how do you translate your wholly unique set of skills to civilian employers? Well, if your military occupational specialty is infantry, you can convert that into a civilian-friendly summary of qualifications. Instead of simply denoting yourself as an infantryman who shot machine-guns, take a second, grab some water, relax.

Very few employers are enamored with machine-gun management. They are, however, more apt to entertain the idea you operated equipment in high-stress situations. Think outside the military box. Deconstruct your responsibilities, pulling from individual acts, instead of an all-encompassing billet denoted by the Department of Defense.

Translate Terms Into Civilian Language

Some positions, such as those in combat, can be harder to quantify. In those cases, its important to put the job into terms that any lay person could understand. For example, if you were responsible for property and equipment, you might say, proactively maintained and repaired six vital IOT-enabled pieces of equipment, ensuring operational efficiency for 300+ team members. Or if you worked under stressful conditions, you could say cultivated strong attention to detail under stressful conditions, successfully completing 23 initiatives while juggling multiple competing priorities.

If you can translate your actual job titles into civilian terms, its worth including both on your resume. This can work well in some cases, like Team Lead instead of Squad Leader, or Operations Manager instead of Operations NCO, says Deere. Heres what it might look like:

Squad Leader | United States Air Force | May 2013 – July 2019

Lastly, dont forget that the military has a language all its own and most civilians wont understand the acronyms and jargon. So, do your best to simplify or translate whenever possible. A tank might be an operational vehicle or a piece of equipment, a mission might be better described as an initiative or project, and reconnaissance might be data collection or research.

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How To Write A Military

  • Get started by creating a master military resume
  • Consult your VMET and fitness evaluations for ideas and resume content
  • Translate your military titles and skills for civilian readers
  • Focus on experience that is relevant to the job for which youre applying
  • Top-load your resume with targeted keywords and accomplishments
  • Dont separate your military experience from your other work experience
  • Get help if you need it

Military veterans transition into the corporate job market with a broad skillset and experience shouldering unimaginable responsibility. Unfortunately, most civilians have no idea whats going on in the military or how to decipher military terminology. To succeed in a post-military job search, its up to a transitioning veteran to create a military-to-civilian resume that describes their experience in a way that makes sense to civilian recruiters and hiring managers.

To gain some insight, I spoke with three military resume experts:

The military speaks its own languages. Each service has its own way of communicating things. Even between the different services within the military, I cant read some of their lingo, said Cooper. If the Army has trouble understanding the Navy or Air Force, you can bet that a civilian recruiter will be confused by all of it.

Tips For Adding Military Experience To Your Resume

Army Officer Resume Samples

The first thing to remember when youre trying to decide how to include your service on your resume is that you should absolutely include as much of your service as you can.

Never feel self-conscious about describing the specifics of the work you did just keep in mind whos going to be reading it.

You might get lucky and send it along to someone who knows exactly what certain terms mean but youre much more likely to encounter an employer whose closest connections to military service are through the Call of Duty matchmaking games they play on weekends.

So keep the following things in mind when youre listing your military experience on your resume:

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Sections Of A Military To Civilian Resume

Most resumes include the following sections:

  • Contact information
  • Certifications
  • Honors and awards

The ability to speak languages other than English can be a real asset in a diverse workplace or community. You may have attained various certifications during your service, such as CPR training or heavy equipment operation. These can also be valuable in civilian employment.

Finally, while your skills show what you can do, any honors or awards you have received show how well you can do it. You can even include pull-quotes from past reviews.

Your resume should be one to two pages in length, sized to fit 8.5 by 11-inch letter paper. If printing your resume, select a high quality, heavy weight resume paper.

Make A List Of Your Military Skills And Experience

Before you start building your resume, itâs essential to identify your existing skills. This includes both technical and soft skills gained in the military. Think about all your duties, responsibilities, and accomplishments while you served in the military and write them down. Donât worry about translating military terminology at this stage. Just make a list.

This step alone can be challenging for many veterans. You can make use of online resources for transitioning veterans to make sure you donât leave anything out.

It can be helpful to get a copy of your Verification of Military Experience and Training document. This document describes your service occupations in civilian terms. It can be a convenient resource for creating your military experience resume.

The Military Crosswalk Search tool on O*NET Online is another excellent resource for demystifying military resumes. It allows you to search by military occupational classification or job title and cross-reference MOCs to civilian equivalents, or vice versa.

Note that military skills resumes are usually more technical than civilian resumes. Civilian roles and projects often look for a holistic combination of hard and soft skills. When making your list, try not to become hyper focused on technical expertise alone. Make a note of relevant soft skills like leadership, timeliness, teamwork as well. We discuss this further below.

Identify hard skills that transfer from your military role

  • Global perspectives
  • Dedication

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Tips For Writing A Great Military To Civilian Resume

Before you start writing, make sure you know how to write a resume in a way that best emphasizes your strengths.

Serving your country is no easy task, and neither is transitioning to a civilian job once youve been discharged from the military. Although the military doesnt require writing resumes to move up in rank, youll need to write a military to civilian resume to move onto your new civilian career.

Writing a successful military to civilian resume depends on what industry you want to enter upon exiting the military. Each industry requires relevant work experience and will want to see a set of industry-specific skills on your resume. Unfortunately, theres no one size fits all approach here.

However, there are some basic ways to show employers how your military experience is relevant and improve your chances of landing a civilian job.

Here are three tips any MOS, NEC, or AFSC should keep in mind when writing a military to civilian resume. Examples will be listed throughout the text to give you a rough idea of what to write about .

Creating Your Civilian Resume: 5 Tips For Military Vets

Resume Writing Tips : Military Resume Writing

Understanding your military skills and their value is the first step to building your resume and Upwork profile. The following steps will help you create a resume that showcases your military employment history, experience, and skills while contextualizing it for a civilian role. We also include specific tips to help you create a robust Upwork profile for your freelancing career.

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