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Writing a Civilian Resume for the First Time: 7 Steps to Follow

Career Exploration

Transitioning back into a civilian career after serving in the military for a time can be difficult for many veterans. However, the initial shock wears off more easily once a person has landed a job they can rely on for daily routine and stable income.
While a plethora of employers and companies are fully open to hiring veterans, it’s still up to you to write a civilian resume. Writing a resume that accurately represents your personality and skillset will get you a step closer to a job you can be proud of having. Let’s discuss the steps to keep in mind when writing your civilian resume again, as well as some job interview pointers as an aside.
1. Get into a Habit of Writing in a Civilian Language Again
One of the more difficult habits to get out of for ex-military personnel is to start using everyday civilian language again. Given that you are transitioning out of the military career and are looking for stable employment, you should do your best to do so.
Once you start writing your resume and listing your personal information, education and skills, don’t use military-specific jargon or abbreviations. Most employers will understand the fact that you are a veteran, yes, but some won’t and it can prove an unnecessary obstacle for your employment.
2. Don’t Omit the Fact that You Are a Veteran
It is important both for you as an individual and whoever reads your resume that you don’t omit the fact that you are a veteran. Wear your status as a badge of honor and not something to be swept under the rug simply because some employers might frown upon it.
Even more so, it’s best to be open about it because of that. Many employers will welcome ex-military employees with open arms due to their own military histories or family stake in it. List the fact that you served in the military as well as the length of your tour but not much beyond that. You are not required to disclose sensitive information to anyone and you can instead follow up on your military experience briefly during the interview.
3. List Both Pre and Post Military Skills in the Resume
The upside of serving the military and then looking for civilian employment is that you will undoubtedly have certain skills under your belt. Most military personnel go through medical, mechanical, IT education or other types of training during boot camp, making these skills invaluable for future employment.
Instead of using military codes and terminology in your resume, refer to the Military Skills Translator to translate your skills into a more civilian vocabulary. List both the skills you acquired through formal education prior, and military experience post serving. The combination of both will exponentially increase your odds of landing good stable employment as a civilian.
4. Keep the Resume to a One-Page Format
For the sake of convenience and readability, keep your resume to a single page. This is more than enough to list your personal credentials, skills, education as well as any civilian courses, seminars or conferences you’ve attended.
Interviewers rarely have enough time to go through resumes longer than one page, so make sure to meet them halfway and adjust your resume’s length. You can rely on a resource with written essay samples in order to see how you can edit and restructure your resume. This will help focus your resume’s structure and make it easier to scan through quickly.
5. Write Down your Latest Contact Info
Given that you are unlikely to receive an immediate response as to whether or not you are hired your contact information should be up-to-date. Make sure that your home address, phone number, email and any social media handle you wrote are functional and that you can check them personally.
Misspelling your contact info or omitting a number or special character from this section can make it difficult for employers to reach you afterward. Properly including different contact channels in your resume will showcase how organized and forward-thinking you are, as expected from an ex-military individual.
6. Proofread the Resume before Submitting It
Once you’ve written your resume you should also make sure that it is free of any grammar or proofreading errors. Transitioning back into civilian life will mean that you have to use proper written correspondence and terminology different from what you’re used to.
Using tools such as Grammarly and Hemingway Editor while writing and finalizing your resume can be extremely helpful. Regardless of how confident you are in your writing proficiency, having a second pair of eyes, or in this case, an online tool, is useful. Likewise, if formatting your resume proves too troublesome, you can refer to platforms such as which will help structure your resume properly without issues.
7. Job Interview Advice to Keep in Mind
With your resume ready for application, you will also need to prepare for the upcoming interview as best as possible. Luckily, many employers are happy to work with veterans due to their commitment, so your resume will speak for itself already. However, once you get through the door and discuss your future employment, keep the following tips in mind to land the job you really want:
● Smile – HR managers like to see that their job candidates are relaxed and communicative
● Relax – As a veteran, you’ve done more for your country than most, it’s only a job interview
● Walk the talk – Dress well and act like a civilian as a part of your reintegration process
● Answers the interviewer’s questions through discussion – Don’t give short answers, expand on them
● Listen carefully – Interviewers will always adjust their questions to reflect your resume and skills
● Ask about the company – Employers love questions about the company prior to employment
● Ask for a follow up – Don’t wait for the employer to get back to you at an undisclosed date, ask about it
Taking the First Civilian Employment Steps (Conclusion)
Writing a civilian resume after some time spent in the military is a big step toward who you’ve been before serving. It can be frightening being a civilian again, but once you find a job you can rely on it will all be worth it.
Take a deep breath, write down everything about your professional life and education in a notepad and start typing out your resume. As you do, you will get ideas on how to properly structure it and how to play up your personal strengths and military experience. Before you know it, you will be on your way to your first job interview.
Bio: Alison Lee is a professional writer, proofreader and career development advisor. Alison’s expertise is in writing online articles, guides and essays in professional development, sales and marketing niches. She spends her free time catching up on life coach literature, her favorite blogs and trending industry news.

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