Prepare Your Resume For Leaving the Military

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July 11, 2011

Prepare Your Resume For Leaving the Military

Filed under: Resume — admin @ 11:25 am

Prepare Your Resume For Leaving the Military


When leaving the military, finding a job can be a far more involved process than it was while in the military. One of the most important things to remember is that most employers will not be familiar with all of the things you did while you were there. They may not understand the positions you held, the responsibilities you had and how those experiences are relevant to the jobs they are interviewing you for. Your job with preparing your resume is to make all of these things obvious from a civilian’s point of view.

To start your resume, create a list of each position you held in the military in reverse chronological order. The most recent should be first, and so on. Each job position should be described as best you can with what you accomplished during that time and how long each position was held.

Then, take a look at what you have and decide whether a civilian would understand much of that description. To make sure they can, describe things clearly and without using military language. Don’t use any abbreviations or military lingo that the general public wouldn’t understand. This goes for the job title itself as well.

Next, make sure to include any special training that you had as part of each job title. Any special training is important to include on a resume. If you took courses or were licensed to carry out certain duties, include that information. Also include the major projects you were a part of and any special accomplishments. To make these stand out on a resume, and to make them easily understandable, put them in an overall context. If you took a course not offered to everyone, mention the number of people eligible for the course out of the entire military. If you worked on a part of a major project, however small that project was, mention the outcome of the project.

Many people also find it useful to create a special skills section of their resume. Having been in the military, your special skills are likely too numerous to list them all, so this can be the portion that you tailor to each job that you apply for. To make this easier, create a master list of the skills you have amassed during your time in the service. When you apply to a job, take a look through the list and pick several that would be most appreciated by your potential employer.

Like the rest of the information on the resume, the special skill section should be easy to read and understand by someone who has never been in the military. Tank driving might not be a skill that you can use elsewhere, but handling large machinery might be. There are many skills specific to the military that can actually translate into a broader range of skills if approached in the right way. Instead of simply listing tank driving as a skill, list that your special training taught you how to handle large machinery, including the tank you drove while in the service.

Jason Kay recommends you learn more about how to write a military transition resume at

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