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Civilian Resumes for Military Personnel
In writing a resume to work as a civilian, it is important to emphasize your experience as a military
officer or enlisted, but to do so in a manner that makes complete sense to a civilian.
Quick tips:
Translate military jargon into civilian terms
o Assume the hiring manager knows nothing about the military
o “Commanded”= “Supervised” or “Directed”
o Quantify your statements: 250 personnel,” $3M budget, etc.
Focus on skills, qualifications and accomplishments that are transferable
o Soft skills: decision-making, resourcefulness, teamwork, performing under pressure,
leadership, flexibility, attention to detail, self-motivated
Do not use acronyms; spell out all affiliations
If you’ve held numerous ranks and duties, choose the ones with the most responsibilities/are
most relevant to the position for which you are applying
Offer brief explanations for any phrases or titles that may not be self-explanatory
o Example: if you attended NERS (Navy Enlisted Recruiter School), describe it as an in-
depth, three-week sales training course
Consult your commanding officer to see if he/she has experience advising others transitioning
Translating your duties for civilians:
1. Write out everything that you do in your job, using whatever language makes sense to you
If you have writer’s block, try explaining your job out loud to someone, preferably a civilian
This may end up being a lot of information, and employers won’t have the time to read
through all of this, so it’s important to consolidate your responsibilities. Break these duties
down into categories based on skills:
Management and Leadership:
o Led an infantry team in combat operations, providing tactical and technical guidance to
subordinates and professional support to both superiors and subordinates in the
accomplishment of their duties
o Received and implemented combat orders, directed deployment of personnel in offensive,
defensive, and retro grade operations
o Assisted in the performance of reconnaissance operations
o Used maps and map overlays, performed intersection and resection, and determined
elevation and grid azimuths
o Operated in an NBC contaminated area (here is an example of why acronyms may be
o Employed, fired, and recovered anti-personnel and anti-tank mines
o Called for and adjusted indirect fire
o Supervised construction of hasty fortifications and receipt, storage, and issue of
Civilian Resumes for Military Personnel
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