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Resume Writing Tips for Job Seekers with Military Backgrounds

Resume Writing Tips for Job Seekers with Military Backgrounds

Transitioning from military to civilian life can be a daunting experience. While veterans possess a wealth of skills and experience that are highly valuable to employers, effectively translating this background into a compelling resume is crucial.  A well-crafted resume can make all the difference in securing a job interview and ultimately landing a fulfilling civilian career. In this blog post, we will guide job seekers with military backgrounds on how to create a resume that showcases their unique qualifications and maximizes their chances of success.

1 - Understand the Civilian Workplace

One of the first steps in creating a resume for a civilian job is to understand the expectations and norms of the civilian workplace. This may include differences in terminology, job titles, and industry-specific requirements. It' is essential to do thorough research on the industries and positions you're interested in to tailor your resume accordingly.

2 - Start with a Strong Summary

Capture the hiring manager's attention through a resume summary also known as "Professional Summary" or "Objective." Crafting a strong resume summary involves providing a concise overview of your qualifications and career goals. Highlight your military background, including your rank, branch of service, and any relevant certifications or awards. Clearly state your career objectives in the civilian workforce.


"Highly motivated and disciplined U.S. Army veteran with extensive leadership experience and a strong track record of teamwork and problem-solving. Seeking a challenging project management role in the construction industry to leverage my skills in planning, coordination, and resource management."

3 - Showcase Transferable Skills

Military exposure provides opportunity to veterans to develop multi-faceted or transferable skills. Veterans have plenty of transferable skills that are highly sought after by civilian employers, such as: leadership, teamwork, adaptability, and problem-solving. These skills are also often referred to as "soft skills" and can prove to be significant assets in a civilian job. Use specific examples from your military service to demonstrate how you've developed and applied these skills.


  • Leadership: Led a team of 20 soldiers during combat missions, ensuring mission success and the safety of team members.
  • Teamwork: Collaborated with cross-functional teams to execute complex projects, fostering a culture of cooperation and unity.
  • Adaptability: Thrived in high-pressure environments and quickly adjusted to changing circumstances during deployments.

4 - Quantify Achievements

Employers love to see quantifiable results on a resume. Whenever possible, use metrics to demonstrate the impact of your work in the military. This could include the number of people you led, the size of budgets you managed, or the successful completion of projects.


  • Managed a $2 million budget for logistics operations, achieving a 20% cost reduction within one year.
  • Trained and mentored 15 junior team members, resulting in a 25% increase in their proficiency ratings.

5 - Tailor Your Resume for Each Job Application

Don't use a one-size-fits-all approach to your resume. Customize it for each job application by highlighting the skills and experiences that are most relevant to the specific job you're applying for. Carefully review the job description to identify keywords and requirements and incorporate them into your resume.

6 - Highlight Relevant Certifications and Training

Your specialized training and certifications during service can come in handy in your civilian resume. If they are relevant to your target job, you should include them in your resume. Examples might include security clearances, project management certifications, or technical qualifications.

7 - Education and Additional Information

Include your educational background, starting with your highest level of education. If you have completed any civilian courses or certifications related to your desired career path, include them as well. Don't forget to mention any relevant volunteer work, associations, or affiliations.

8 - Proofread Your Resume

Most job seekers do not realize the importance of a well-proofread resume. You might have the relevant experience and trainings for your target job; but if your resume is plagued with formatting and grammatical errors, there is a good chance you might not be considered for the job. Failure to proofread one's resume shows the lack of attention to detail of a job seeker. Attention to detail is a crucial skill in almost any working position. 

9 - Keep It Short

Recruiters do not have a lot of time to spare in going through each candidate's resume submissions. To stand out, your goal should be to catch the recruiter's attention in the shortest amount of time. You won't be able to do that if you write an "extensive" resume. The industry standard is to keep your resume in a single page up to a maximum of 2 pages. 

10 - Stand Out By Selecting An Appealing Format

Invite readers in. Select a format that is pleasing to the eye. Be wary though, do not over-embellish your resume. Keep in mind the saying: less is more. Choose a a clear, easy-to-read font like Arial or Calibri. Make sure your sections are clearly defined and bullet points are formatted the same way throughout to help potential employers navigate through your resume easier.


Crafting a resume can be hard for everyone, veterans and civilians alike. By following these tips and tailoring your resume for each application, hopefully, you can effectively bridge the gap between your military service and your civilian career aspirations. Remember to highlight your transferable skills, quantify your achievements, and demonstrate your commitment to success in the civilian workforce. With a well-crafted resume, you'll be well on your way to securing your dream job in the civilian sector.