How to Translate your Military Skills for a Civilian Job Resume

Man Hand writing New Career with black marker on visual screen

Once you leave the military after years of service, finding a well-paying job to support your lifestyle becomes a top priority. However, many veterans are often unsure of where to start their search for a normal job. This is primarily due to the fact that they may be unable to explain to employers how their time in the military has given them the necessary skill set for civilian jobs.

If you are a military veteran, it is imperative that you are able to translate your experience into skills that will strengthen a civilian resume. While employers are more than willing to employ veterans, they need to be sure that your experience and skills will contribute to the overall growth of their organization. Here’s what to keep in mind when writing your civilian resume:

Pick a Career

Before you begin to put down your skills on paper, think about the kind of work you want to be doing. By selecting a career path, you will be able to narrow down the skills needed to tackle a specific job, and highlight them in your resume

If you start drafting a resume without any idea about the type of employers you are looking to work for, you’ll be left with a very general resume that doesn’t showcase the right talents for any particular job.

If you have more than one potential career path in mind, you can draft a separate resume for each one.

Figure out your Strengths

After you’ve settled on a defined career path, summarize your military experience and explain how your role as an officer will help when you take on the new job. To do this, you’ll have to demilitarize your experiences so that they make sense on a civilian resume.

For example, if you supervised a covert operation, think about the skill sets and techniques that were required. You needed to pay attention to detail, work under extreme pressure, make quick decisions, and carry out your instructions in line with the commander’s orders.

Instead of just mentioning your role in the army, break down the specifics of the role and explain to your employer (in the resume) how that role has taught you the skills and techniques that will make working in a corporate environment a very smooth transition.

Highlight Essential Military Skills

You don’t necessarily have to translate your entire military experience into civilian terms. You can list out the major techniques and skills that you’ve picked up while you were in service.

For example, you can say that being in the military has taught you how to be a team player because you have served with people from various ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds.

You can also explain how being in the military has showed you how to respect all policies and procedures, as this is an essential part of an officer’s life.

So, before you draft the resume, sit and think about your life in the military and what you have learned. You don’t have to figure out how to translate all of your military experiences into civilian skills. Simply list out the essential life skills that you have learned by being in the service and your employer will be able to gauge your capability.

These are a few ways how you can improve your chances of finding a civilian job upon leaving the military. It might be a little difficult to make the transition at first, but stay positive, since most employers today are looking to hire military veterans. Just think long and hard about how you can be of value to a company, brush up your resume, and dress smart for the interview. You’re sure to land the job that you are looking for.