You can start by checking our military resume example in this article to help guide you on writing your resume. There are many opportunities for military personnel, and it all depends on your preference. If you are trained in a particular profession, it may be easier to get a job in that profession, but it doesn’t hurt to try something different if you want to change careers.
A military job is completely different from a civilian job. This means that the two resumes are also different, so you cannot use your military resume to get a civilian job. You will need a civilian resume that is well-written to set you apart from the other job seekers. You also have to avoid using military jargon in your civilian resume because civilian employers may not be familiar with the same.
The perfect resume template or resume builder can help you write a resume that gets you your dream job. Your personality should shine through in your civilian resume, and you should show the hiring manager how your military skills will be useful in the new position.
Let’s look at some more military resume writing tips to help you write a civilian resume that enables you to stand out and beat the other candidates.
Additional information about military resumes.
The U.S Army industry hires the most military-specific occupations. Sales-related occupations, installation, maintenance, and repair occupations, and construction and extraction occupations are the top three most similar occupations to military specific occupations by wage.
According to the U.S Bureau of Statistics, examples of types of occupations for enlisted personnel include the following:
- Administrative personnel
- Combat specialty personnel
- Construction personnel
- Electronic and electrical equipment repair personnel
- Engineering, science, and technical personnel
- Healthcare personnel
- Human resources development
- Machine operator and repair personnel
- Media and public affairs personnel
- Protective service personnel
- Support service personnel
- Transportation and material-handling personnel
- Vehicle and machinery mechanical personnel.
The basic pay of military personnel varies depending on their rank and time in service. According to Payscale, the average yearly salaries of employees of popular companies for military certifications are as follows.
U.S Air Force (USAF) $64k per year
U.S Army $62k per year
U.S Navy $69k per year
Booz, Allen, and Hamilton $85k per year
U.S Marine Corps $51k per year
The average salary for certified military personnel is $67,000. (Payscale)
Example of a resume
Accomplished Military Professional seeking to transition to a career in the private sector. Decorated soldier with nine years of experience in operations and personnel management. Proven exceptional leader and expert in communicating with other military personnel, improving efficiency, and resolving conflicts and issues.
U.S Air Force
July 2011-December 2020
Budgeted and apportioned $100,000 per month to monitor existing services and supply requirements closely.
Led a team of 50 enlisted personnel in the Air Force military branch, promoting collaboration and career development.
Improved processes and made efficiencies within the distribution management system, leading to a $20,000 fall in transportation expenses.
Reduced the number of contracted facilities to centralize distribution under the control of the U.S Government.
U.S Marine Corps
June 2006-May 2011
Held position of principal platoon officer and provided basic training to soldiers, including the safe use of all weapons systems.
Responsible for logging and filing various classified documents in the given timeline.
Led and developed numerous employee training programs to ensure consistently high performance in combat missions and non-combat situations.
Provided tactical guidance to three infantry members with little combat experience and led them in combat operations.
Bachelor of Business Administration
University of Maryland
United States Military Police School
Firearms safety training
Supply and logistics planning
Associate Professional in Human Resources (aPHR)
How to make a military to civilian resume?
Writing a military to civilian resume follows the rules of writing any resume. However, you should constantly personalize a resume to the job you are applying for. If you use one generic military resume to apply for multiple military jobs or civilian jobs, you will most likely not get any of the positions.
Suppose you were working as a military professional in a specific field. In that case, you should mention it in your resume and show the hiring manager how you’ll use that knowledge to benefit the company. Some of the ways you can personalize your military to civilian resume include:
- Using the right resume format for your military resume.
- Adding the right keywords and action verbs that help your resume stand out, which you can find in the job description.
- Use the additional section on your resume to showcase your uniqueness compared to the other candidates.
The layout of the military resume
The layout and writing style of your military to civilian resume is the first thing the hiring manager notices, so you should choose a layout that is easy to scan through. Most recruiters spend less than ten seconds on a resume, and if your layout is hard to understand, they will probably not read your resume.
The best resume format for your military to civilian resume is the functional resume. This format focuses on your skills and is sometimes referred to as the skills-based resume. It is perfect if you are changing careers and don’t have relevant experience in the position you are applying for. If your military experience is not applicable to most civilian jobs, this format allows you to talk about transferable skills useful in the civilian position.
The structure of the military resume
There are two other formats you can consider using on your military resume. One of them is the reverse-chronological format. This format focuses on your professional experience and is a favorite of many hiring managers because it is easy to scan on ATS systems. If you worked as a human resources professional or security specialist and can utilize your experience in a civilian job, this format is perfect for your military to civilian resume.
The other format is the combination resume format or hybrid resume format. It blends the best features of the reverse-chronological and functional resume formats. It focuses on both the skills and experience and works for you if you have outstanding skills and relevant experience.
The structure of your military to civilian resume should have the following sections:
- The header section
- Resume summary/ resume objective
- Work experience
- An additional section (Certifications, awards/honors, interests/hobbies, and languages)
Start with the header of the military resume.
The header section contains your full name, job title, contact information, and a personal link to your portfolio or LinkedIn profile(if applicable). This section has to be accurate because if you put the wrong contact information, the hiring manager cannot reach you.
Example of a good header
Example of a bad header
Date of birth 13/12/1987
324, Rodeo Drive
House number 12
Is a photo required in the military resume?
You do not need to have a photo on your military resume. Most hiring managers advise against it because it may cause discrimination and unconscious bias against the candidate. However, if you want to add a photo to your resume, it should be professional.
Choosing your military resume title
It is advisable to tailor your job title to each job you are applying for because it varies from job to job and the company.
A professional summary is a short paragraph that summarizes your professional accomplishments, experience, and skills. A strong summary statement compels the recruiter to read the rest of your resume and separates you from the other job seekers. Multiple civilian resume examples can help you write a military resume summary that grabs the hiring manager’s attention. You can check out our resume examples to get you started.
Work experience in the military resume
The work experience section gives your potential employer an idea of what you can do based on your previous work history. Most hiring managers spend a little more time in this section to see what potential value you will bring to the company.
This section depends on the position you want to apply for. If you gained experience relevant to the job you are applying for in your years of military service, you could mention it in your military resume. If that is not the case, you should try and showcase the skills you gained and how they will be helpful in the new position.
An effective military resume should be easy to read and understand. If you are not sure about adding your work experience under this section, a military resume sample can be helpful. As we said earlier, civilian positions are different from military positions, so take your time and read through job descriptions to understand exactly what the recruiter needs.
Describe your professional experiences on your military resume
The best way to stand out is to add your relevant experience. If you have this relevant experience, you should consider using the reverse-chronological format, which focuses on showcasing your previous experience.
Examples of Professional Experiences for Military Resume Beginner/Junior
Here’s an example
January 2014-October 2020
Responsible for coordinating the training schedules of 10 team members and filing essential administrative paperwork.
In charge of preparing and dispatching over 20 registered and certified mail every day.
Responsible for all ammunition processes, including issuing receipts and storage of inventory.
Assisted the Commander in charge with creating and implementing operational policies by advising on the needs and morale of enlisted personnel.
Examples of Work Experience for Senior Resumes for the Military.
Here is an example
Human Resources specialist
September 2012-December 2018
Employed skills and expertise in career development to create and lead training programs that gave career advice to enlisted personnel and examined their preparedness.
Trained 30 staff members every month on best practices and protocols to improve productivity and ensure processes were more efficient in their career path.
Designed and directed a once-a-month physical training program for 50 employees.
Delivered high performance and received recognition from the Chief Commander and consequently accepted responsibility to oversee peers.
Education in the Military Resume
The education section allows you to list your educational qualifications, whether it’s a high school diploma or college degree. If you have any specialized training in the military, you should try and relate the qualifications to a civilian equivalent. If you have a Master’s degree, you do not have to add your high school diploma.
You can check online for courses with similar aspects of the training and use the descriptions to help you guide you as you write your civilian resume. An excellent civilian resume example can also give you an idea of how you should add your education to this section.
Suppose you prefer to use military resume templates when writing your military resume. In that case, you can check out our resume templates that will help you write a civilian resume that gets the attention of the recruiting manager.
Should you start with education or work experience?
You can start with the education or experience in your military to civilian resume. The resume format determines what you begin with. If you use the reverse-chronological format, you start with experience. If you use the functional resume format, you start with the skills and education.
How to properly list your education in a military resume?
It would be best if you listed your education correctly to ensure the recruiting manager sees it. The best way to list your education is by starting with the name of your school, location, degree earned, and the years spent in school. If you list your high school diploma, you can add your grade if it was exceptional and will help your resume stand out.
Example of the Education Section of a Military Resume.
Here is an example
Bachelor of International Relations
Skills to put in the resume for a military resume
The skills section is a crucial one in a veterans’ military to civilian resume. If you do not have relevant experience in the civilian job you are applying for, the skills you gained while working in the military can help you get the job. The most important thing is to show the recruiting manager how those skills will be helpful in the new position.
Most civilian jobs require specific skills to ensure you fulfill your duties effectively. The skills in your military to civilian resume also ensure that the applicant tracking systems do not filter out your CV. The ATS system is software used by hiring managers to filter out candidates who do not meet the requirements.
Some of the skills the recruitment manager wants to see in your resume are in the job description. Therefore, you should take time to review the job ad before you start writing your military to civilian resume to ensure you add these skills.
What are the main skills sought for a military resume?
As a military professional transitioning to a civilian job, you will probably have some specific skills for the military career. It is advisable to add the transferable skills that will be useful in the new position and leave out any military-specific skills. You should list your skills using bullet points, including hard and soft skills, as seen in most military resume samples.
Here are some of the skills you should add to your military to civilian resume.
- Financial management
- Account management
- Inventory management
- Microsoft office
- Security and surveillance
- Database Management
- Programming skills
- STEM skills
- Management skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Communication skills
- Organization skills
- Leadership skills
- Analytical skills
- Critical thinking skills
- Attention to detail
What skills for a Junior
- Interpersonal skills
- Conflict resolution
- Stress management
- Excellent communication
- Decision making
- Time management
What skills for a qualified Senior
- Project management
- Artificial intelligence
- Business analysis
- Content management systems
- Adobe creative suite
- Financial statement preparation
- Automotive technology
Write the Ideal Resume Hook for a Military Resume.
Job-hunting is never easy, especially with the job market being so competitive. You have to look for different ways to make your resume stand out and beat the other applicants.
A resume hook is a great way to do that. It is a set of words that summarizes your accomplishments and value proposition. You can write it as a quote, testimonial, achievement, or personal description.
Example of a tagline for a junior employee
Dedicated professional with effective communication skills and military grade problem solving abilities. Promotes team building activities to boost morale and build cohesiveness and cooperation in working toward a common goal.
Sample tagline for a senior level
Dedicated leader with proven ability to motivate and lead teams. Excellent at working under high pressure situations.
Additional headings for your military resume.
An additional section on your military to civilian resume is necessary if you want your resume to stand out. This section gives you a chance to showcase your uniqueness. It’s good that you have relevant experience and an impressive list of skills, but what else do you have to offer?
The recruiting manager is always looking for what makes you the best person for the job, whether on a veteran resume or a civilian resume. Many military resume examples can guide you on the different sections you can add in this section. The sections include computer skills, certifications, interests, languages, volunteer experiences, and awards/honors.
Let’s look at some of these sections in detail.
Computer skills and certifications
You can list the computer skills on your resume under the skills section. However, this sometimes makes it hard for the recruiting manager to see them. If you especially have specific skills, such as knowledge of programming languages, you should list them in this section to ensure your potential employer does not miss them.
Certifications and security clearances that are not, so top secret access go a long way in helping your resume look attractive to the recruiting manager. While you have probably seen a sample military resume with the certifications under the education section, it is better to list them under a separate certifications section.
If you got any specialized training in the military or did some courses, you can also add them to this section. Some of the certifications that will help your military to civilian resume stand out include:
- First Aid certification
- HRCI Certification for Military HR Personnel
- Certification in Project Management
- Certification for Pharmacy technician
The interests you choose to add to your resume should fit the profile of the job. Some interests may cause you to lose an opportunity if they do not help you build on the required skills in a particular position. Interests such as blogging and photography look good on a military to civilian resume if you are looking for an opportunity in media.
The languages section should have all your languages listed using the official language reference. You can list your language skills under the skills section, but that only makes it hard for the recruiting manager to see them. A separate section makes them more visible, increasing your chances of landing the interview.
Most potential employers love a bilingual candidate, so do not leave out your language skills from your resume. You can list your languages as stated below.
- IELTS or TOEFL (with a 30-point or higher score).
- SIELE FOR Spanish
- DELF for French with a score of 70% or higher.
Summary: key points for writing a perfect military resume
Let’s look at some of the major takeaways from this article.
The right resume format is critical if you want to get the job. The recruiting manager only scans through your resume, and if it is hard to read, they will probably toss it, and you will miss out on the opportunity.
You need to use the right keywords and action verbs in your military to civilian resume if you want to beat the ATS systems that the recruiting managers use to filter out resumes that do not meet the requirements.
Constantly tailor your resume to each job you are applying for to increase your chances of landing an interview.
Write a resume summary that will grab the recruiting manager’s attention and compel them to read the rest of your military to civilian resume.
Write a cover letter that goes with your military resume.
Hiring managers do not always ask for cover letters as a requirement, but you should always accompany your military resume with one. A cover letter helps your application stand out and gives the potential employer more information about who you are.
A military resume cover letter allows you to briefly talk about your achievements and career goals as you express your passion for the job. The perfect cover letter template will allow you to write a cover letter that makes you a front runner in the civilian position.
The information on your cover letter should complement the one in your military resume. Be careful not to repeat what you already have in your resume.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you write a military resume?
Your military resume should showcase your skills and experience. It should have all the necessary sections to do so, which include the header section, the resume summary/objective, work experience, education, skills, and an additional section(volunteer experience, interests, awards/honors, certifications, and languages)
How do you list military experience on a resume?
Your military experience plays a massive role in helping you get a job after you leave the military. If you can translate your skills from your military experience and show your potential employer the value you will bring to the company, you will increase your chance of getting the job. You start with listing your title, then list at least three to five roles and responsibilities. It is always better to quantify your achievements with figures to show the value you will bring to the organization.
Does military look good on a resume?
Veterans bring a lot of value to the company, and recruiters recognize this. Personal attributes such as hard work, positive work ethic, and teamwork are important traits that allow an employee to work efficiently and diligently. Therefore, the answer is yes. It helps to mention that you were in the military, looks good on your resume and could give you an edge over the other candidates.
How do I convert military experience to civilian resume?
The best way to convert your military experience to a civilian resume is by mentioning the transferable skills you gained in the military that are useful in a civilian position. In most cases, veterans add their experience but forget that most hiring managers do not understand the military jargon, which is a mistake that could cost you the job. It is essential to ensure you use the terms that are easy for the recruiting manager to understand in your military to civilian resume.