Military to Civilian Work - Your Resume Matters
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After you leave the military and return to civilian life, you will find that you need to make a number of changes. Since you will be seeking employment, your resume is one of the most important things that you will change. Your civilian resume lets potential employers know that you are prepared for a non-military job. It also shows the skills that you have that are separate from your military experience. In essence, you want to show potential employers that you are able to operate outside of the military and you have the necessary skills to do it.
What You Want to Include on Your Civilian Resume
What you put on your civilian resume is critical because your resume if your first impression when you are applying for jobs in the civilian world. Remember that while your military experience is important, it should not be the primary focus of your resume. You want to include information and accomplishments from all areas of your life to show that you are well-rounded and have something great to offer those who are interested in hiring you. Make sure to include the following on your civilian resume:
a) Look back and your military experience and include the skills that are transferable to the civilian jobs that you are applying to.
b) If you have to use any military vocabulary or jargon on your resume, make sure that you translate it so that civilians know what it says.
c) When it comes to discussing your military experience on your resume, omit any combat details. Simply list your rank and your job in the military.
d) List the accomplishments that you have had all throughout your adult life. This will include both military and civilian accomplishments to show that you are well-rounded. When it is possibly, quantify these accomplishments on your resume.
e) Use one-sentence explanations and bullet points on your resume. When you are listing accomplishments for each experience point, keep this to three to four bullets per experience.
f) Make sure that your resume does not exceed two pages. Extra long resumes are often not read by potential employers. Those that do read them may miss important information if your resume is too long.
g) When you re formatting your resume, make sure to use plain white paper, black font, a font size of 12 and the Times New Roman font. This is the most professional formatting and it is the easiest to read.
h) List your experience in reverse chronological order so that your most recent experience is on top.
What You Want to Omit on Your Civilian Resume
There are some things that are best left off your resume when you are working to attract potential civilian employers. Make sure that you keep the following in mind to ensure that they do not end up on your resume:
a) Address the needs of your potential employer and not your personal employment needs.
b) Avoid talking about anything that is negative when crafting your resume.
c) Make sure to use language that is accomplishments-oriented and not job-description language.
d) Be concise when you are talking about your accomplishments and experience. Stick to the most prominent highlights for each point to keep your resume easy to read.
e) Do not include any personal pronouns. Make sure to always speak in third person for professionalism.
f) When you are creating your resume, leave off your personal references. You can create another short document with a list of your references for your employer to contact.
g) When you are discussing your experience, make sure that it is always honest. Employers can tell when a candidate is exaggerating the truth.
h) Never put any information about pay or salary from past employers on your resume. You should always discuss salary and money in person.
i) Avoid using military jargon whenever possible.
When you are creating your civilian resume, keep in mind that you must present your skills, abilities and knowledge in a way that encourages a positive response from potential employers. This is something that all veterans can do so that you can show that while you value your military experience, you are able to function just as well in the civilian world. This is important for employers because they need to know that you are up to the task, especially if the job is much different than the job that you held in the military.
- Rosemary Kitchen
Enlow, W. S. (2005). Writing Military-to-Civilian Resumes: Make Your Resume Interviewable. Retrieved on February 4, 2015 from http://www.military.com/veteran-jobs/career-advice/resume-writing/making-your-resume-interview-ready.html