Your military experience is a strength that needs to be expressed and highlighted throughout your resume. The experiences have provided you with qualities that employer’s seek when filling a position.
Your transition from military to civilian life will be highly impacted by showing how your military experiences transfer into the civilian job market.
Define your objective in the civilian workforce. Dig deep and do some soul-searching. Research career options then pinpoint a specific career path. Tailor your resume to fit your desired occupation. The local transition office will be able to help with this area if you are unsure what career path to follow or how to tailor your resume. If you have diverse interests and experiences and are able to follow multiple career paths then create a resume for each area.
It is important to create a civilian resume that speaks civilian language. When deciding what information to include in your resume think about the employer’s view point. Think from the employer’s view and ask yourself, “What can this individual do for my company?” Once you have answered this question, these are the items that should be highlighted throughout your resume.
Assume that whomever is going to look at your resume knows nothing about the military. Eliminate any military jargon and word the resume in civilian terms. Demilitarize such things as your job title, job duties, training, education, awards, and accomplishments. A simple way to see if you have accomplished this is to ask several non-military friends to look over your resume. Have them read through it and either mark or tell you what terms they do not understand. Keep working on the resume until it is civilianized.
Emphasize your accomplishments throughout your military career. An example would be – ‘Increased units productivity and communication skills through the use of training, team building and individual recognition’. This type of wording is what the civilian workforce understand. Word all your experiences in this manner. Employers know the value of hiring veterans. It is well known that veterans have developed positive employee attributes such as excellent leadership skills, teamwork, dedication, cross-funtional skills and a positive work ethic.
Leave out any type of information dealing with active combat. The details of this part of your military service will not benefit you in the civilian workforce. Employer’s get squeamish as they are not trained to deal with such details. Downplay your involvement in active combat unless it directly relates to the position you are seeking.
Complete your resume and begin to distribute to employers whether on the Internet, in person, or through the mail. Listen for feedback and make any changes until your civilian resume begins generating interviews. Do not be afraid to ask for other people’s opinions about your resume. Your resume will only get better with constructive input from others.