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10 Essential Tips for Translating Your Military Resume to a Civilian Format

Division BGSF, Career Tips
May 19, 2023

Translating a military resume to a civilian resume can be challenging, as the terminology, skills, and experiences in the military may not directly correspond to the civilian job market. However, with careful consideration and a strategic approach, you can effectively highlight your transferable skills and experiences to create a compelling civilian resume.

10 Tips to Translate Your Resume

Here are ten tips to help you with this process:

  1. Understand the civilian job market: Before translating your military resume, research and familiarize yourself with the specific industry or job you are targeting. Understand the skills, qualifications, and terminology commonly used in that field.
  2. Identify transferable skills: Many skills acquired in the military can be applicable in civilian roles. Review your military experience and identify skills such as leadership, teamwork, problem-solving, organization, communication, adaptability, and technical expertise relevant to your civilian job.
  3. Translate military jargon: Avoid using military jargon or acronyms that may not be easily understood by civilian employers. Instead, describe your roles, responsibilities, and accomplishments using civilian-friendly language. Explain the meaning behind any military-specific terms you include.
  4. Focus on achievements and results: In your civilian resume, emphasize the accomplishments and results you achieved during your military service. Quantify your achievements whenever possible by including metrics, numbers, or percentages. This helps potential employers understand the impact you made in your previous roles.
  5. Customize your resume for each job application: Tailor your resume to match the requirements of each civilian job you apply for. Highlight the skills and experiences that are most relevant to the specific position. Use the job description and keywords as a guide to ensure your resume aligns with the employer’s needs.
  6. Highlight professional development and certifications: Include any relevant professional development courses, certifications, or specialized training you completed during your military service. This demonstrates your commitment to learning and your willingness to acquire new skills.
  7. Showcase leadership experience: If you held leadership roles in the military, emphasize those experiences on your resume. Highlight your ability to manage teams, make decisions under pressure, and take responsibility for outcomes. Leadership skills are highly valued in many civilian professions.
  8. Seek assistance from veterans’ support organizations: There are various organizations and resources available to help veterans transition to civilian careers. Take advantage of career counseling services, workshops, and resume writing assistance provided by these organizations.
  9. Proofread and edit your resume: Ensure your resume is error-free and well-formatted. Proofread it thoroughly for grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes. Consider having someone else review it as well to provide objective feedback.
  10. Network with civilian professionals: Engage in networking activities to connect with individuals working in your desired industry. Attend job fairs and industry events, or join professional associations to gain insights and build relationships. Networking can provide valuable guidance and potentially lead to job opportunities.

Remember, the goal of translating your military resume to a civilian resume is to effectively communicate your skills, experiences, and accomplishments in a way that resonates with civilian employers. By highlighting your transferable skills and focusing on your achievements, you can create a compelling resume that positions you as a strong candidate for civilian employment.

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