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Retired Military? Craft a Resume for a Civilian Job

Resumes & Cover Letters

Creating a resume isn’t always as easy as it looks, especially when you are trying to craft specific types of resumes. If you are a former member of the military who is not yet ready to retire from the work force, you will need to craft a resume for a civilian job. This may sound easy, but when your experience is mainly military experience it may be hard to show that your skills are transferrable to civilian jobs. Here we are going to take a look at how to craft a proper resume for a civilian job.

1. Focus on What You Want

Do not focus your resume solely on what you did in the military. That part of your life is over, and now it is time to look ahead to the future. Focus on what you really want, and the type of work that you are interested in doing. This is particularly important if the type of work you are applying for has absolutely nothing to do with the work you did in the military.

2. Write for an HR Manager

You are applying for a civilian job, so do not craft your resume in a way that makes it look like you are writing it for a military officer. An HR manager would much rather see common vernacular on a resume than military-speak. Go online and take a look at other resume examples to see what works and what doesn’t. Don’t use a lot of jargon or acronyms, and use wording that works in the civilian world.

3. Make Use of Your Skills

When first transitioning back into civilian life, you may find it easier to look for work that will make use of your current skills. Think about your most transferrable skills, and write them down. Then, look at these skills and decide which ones would be best to use on your resume. For instance, if you worked on military vehicles, you may want to look for jobs involving auto mechanics, and tailor your resume to this. Or, you may want a job in management. If you were a team leader, this skill can help you in a management position.

4. Use Civilian Lingo

One of the most difficult things is going to be to describe your transferrable skills in civilian language rather than military language. For instance, talking about your military training, but mention the skills you picked up that are transferrable to the job you are applying for. These can include critical thinking skills, risk management, leadership abilities, etc. Figure out how to describe these skills in civilian lingo. Look at some resume templates to get a feel for what employers are really looking for.

5. Don’t Downplay Military Experience

Yes, you do need to craft your resume in a way that speaks to someone in the civilian workforce. But, you shouldn’t downplay your military experience either. Obviously, you don’t want to go into details about things you did while in active combat, but you can mention that your experience gave you skills in various areas that translate into civilian life, including teamwork skills, a positive work ethic, the ability to cross-train, etc.

6. Test Your Resume

Before you start applying for actual jobs, give your resume a test drive. It can take a while to get the ideal resume, and most veterans will tell you that creating the perfect resume for the civilian world is an ongoing process. Once you have crafted your resume, send it out to a few places, and see what the response rate is. If you are not getting much response, you will likely have to tweak your resume, and keep tweaking it until you come up with a winning formula.

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