Translating Military Jargon for Civilian Employers

One of the most essential factors of effective military conversion resume writing is the ability to turn your tasks, accomplishments and experience into something that employers can understand. It does not matter how decorated you are as a veteran, if you can't relay those experiences and accomplishments to a civilian hiring manager properly, you are never going to have a successful job hunt. Military to civilian transition resume writing can be difficult, but here are a few tips to help you.

In converting your experience to civilian language, here are some examples of what words you can use in your military to civilian resume.

·    "Soldiers" should be called "staff", "employees" and/or "co-workers"
·    "Uniforms" and "Weapons", etc. become "supplies"
·    "Barracks" and other buildings are simply "facilities"

It is also important to convert your education, medals and successes into civilian language, provided that they are relevant to the position you seek. For example, you would not use your shooting skills or your frontline experience on a private sector resume, so do not worry about this. Also, achievements such as Special Ops Captain can be simplified into a simple statement such as Extensive management experience in critical operations.

To explain the classes you have taken and the training you have completed, you can offer broad statements that are understandable to private sector employers. If you took classes in management, there is no conversion needed, because everyone understands this word. Conversely, if you took classes for officer ranking or for cavalry, you would need to translate. For example, you could say Leadership classes and training instead of officer training. However, once again, artillery training is irrelevant to civilian positions, unless you are looking into a law enforcement career.

All in all, converting the military jargon into words that are understandable to public sector recruiters will be one of the most essential aspects of your military conversion resume writing. while you need to make sure that your resume is focused and stands out, you cannot do this without first ensuring that it is understandable. It is not important if your resume is the most unique an employer reads; if they cannot understand your military language, they will not even give it a second glance.

If you have concerns when you are writing your military resume, there are resources that you can use. The military has special classes and offices to help their staff in their conversion. Also, many private sector companies and schools specialize in re-acclimating veterans to public society. As long as you are willing to invest the effort, making the military to civilian transition can be a simple task. The most essential thing is to make sure that your resume is  unique and comprehensible to civilian employers who have no military knowledge.


Gail Esparan