Key Elements to a Military to Civilian Conversion Resume

Getting a private sector job after years of military experience may seem like a daunting task, but as long as you know what you’re doing, it shouldn’t be too complicated. There are a few basic elements that will almost guarantee success in your military to civilian conversion resume writing, and those are listed below for your review.

  • Objective: You need to have a clear goal in mind and state that on your military-to-civilian conversion resume. Don’t use vague or general statements; this will most certainly ensure that you DON’T get the job.
  • Focus: Don’t list every detail of every second of your military career; instead, focus on one area where you excelled and would like to obtain civilian employment in. You should be proud of your experience, but if it’s not relevant, employers generally don’t care.
  • Confidence: Your military-to-civilian conversion resume needs to scream “I’m THE person for this job”, otherwise it won’t catch the employer’s attention. Make sure you state your abilities in relation to the job in question with confidence. For example, try saying “I am competent in running computer networks of up to 500 computers” instead of saying “Some experience with computer networking”.
  • Be specific: Referencing the previous example, your military-to-civilian conversion resume needs to be direct and detailed. If you did something notable that will relate to the job in question, state it clearly and specifically. Ultimately, you are answering one question with your resume: What can YOU do for the employer?
  • Civilian-ese: If you were a First Class PFC, that’s great. Unfortunately, that is usually foreign language to a private sector employer. You need to convey your military experience that is related to the job you seek in a language that civilians can understand. Don’t waste your time (or the employer’s time) by listing rankings, jobs, and officers by their military titles; instead try to explain these things in plain English so that the employer can understand exactly what you did in the military. Also, if you were in direct combat, don’t provide the gory details. Unless you’re applying for a job as a hit-man, no one needs to know how many enemy soldiers you blew up.
  • Contact Information: If your contact information is still military related, such as your e-mail or mailing address, consider changing to a civilian e-mail server or using a different address for your resume. This will make it appear that you have already successfully transitioned into civilian life. Thus, you will look like a more stable employee in your military-to-civilian conversion resume.

Many veterans experience great difficulty with military-to-civilian conversion, so don’t feel like you’re alone. The military even offers classes and information on transitioning into a civilian lifestyle, so there are plenty of resources available to you. When it comes to getting a civilian job, keeping these tips in mind will help you to develop an effective military-to-civilian conversion resume that will help you to get the job that you want.


Gail Esparan