Military to Civilian Resume Guide

October 22, 2020, Military Transition

After spending countless years in the military, training, learning, and serving, you are now taking a step back. This transition may seem like a daunting task, but there are ways for you to utilize your knowledge, training, and experience from the military in your new career. Preparing your resume is one of the first steps to a successful career transition, and Geo Owl is here to help you. 

  1. Make a list of your education, duties, and experience. Listing out what education you have, whether it is from school or training from the military in areas such as location intelligence, is a beneficial tool when applying for jobs. Including your duties as an active member of the military and describing all of the things you accomplished are the bones of your resume. Use military terminology and details such as dates or numbers when you can. 
  2. Highlight the pertinent information. Your military career was full of growth and knowledge, but deciding what is relevant to your post-military career path is important. Being promoted to a leadership position means you led teams and gained managerial experience. Being one of three who worked on a specific location intelligence project gives you valuable analytical skills that others might not have. Any combat experience can be helpful if applying for a job in security or law enforcement. 
  3. List awards or security clearances. Listing these may seem tricky because some of the information, if not all, is confidential. However, simply stating the awards or clearances without describing what you were doing is beneficial when looking to apply for law enforcement or some corporate jobs. For example, if you worked on a top-secret location intelligence tactic, this alone is impressive to hiring managers because it shows you are dependable, trustworthy with sensitive information, and have a clean background. 
  4. Translate terminology. After being in the military, you have gotten used to using specific acronyms and codes, but hiring managers might not understand. When describing what you accomplished throughout your military career, select the verbs used in the description and change them to more civilian wording. Here are some examples: 
    1. Rather than saying you “commanded a platoon” you can say that you “supervised” or “directed” a large group of people. 
    2. “Subordinates” could be “employees” or “coworkers.” 
    3. “Brigade” or “BN” can be referred to as “groups,” “units,” or “organizations.”
  5. Add keywords from the job description. When typing out your resume, place useful and relevant keywords or phrases from the job description directly into your descriptions. This specifically shows that you have what the position is asking for. Keywords such as data analysis, location intelligence, or surveillance are all phrases that would pop out to a hiring manager. 
  6. Use templates. Once you have all of your information gathered and sorted, it is time to build your resume. This can be the easiest step of the entire process by using free templates available for everyday use. Plug in your information and allow the template to format the document. 

Preparing for life after the military can be hard, and Geo Owl understands that. Geo Owl’s Military Transition Program (MTP) provides service members with support throughout their transition into their civilian careers. The MTP can provide assistance during the shift, help build and edit your resume to optimize career opportunities and distribute resources to you and your loved ones. Contact Geo Owl today for more information.