What You Need To Know About Military Resumes
The transition from a military career to a civilian career can be challenging, especially if you have spent most or all of your adult life in a military environment. Chances are you have some significant accomplishments to go along with strong skills and attributes that many civilian employers will find quite valuable.
Your resume must reflect these accomplishments in a way that is clear and understandable to a potential civilian employer who may not be familiar with military terms and standards. There are some things you can do, though, to show the strength of your qualifications so they are readily apparent to the reader.
Translate into non-military language
When you write your accomplishment statements, military resume writers can use military terms but in subsequent drafts, you will need to do some translating. Help the reader understand the value and significance of military awards and recognition so that the scope of your qualifications is clear.
Assume the reader has no knowledge of military titles or acronyms and change any of these references into more common language. After you have „demilitarized“ your accomplishment statements get some help from resume writing services, civilian friends or colleagues. Have the person read through your material and point out any terms that are not clear or confusing.
Do not minimize your military experience
For many years, some curriculum vitae writers suggested that military experience should be minimized or downplayed during the transition to a civilian career, but that has changed. Your military accomplishments are a real asset in your job search so make the most of them. Military veterans are typically very skilled leaders and bring great teamwork skills to the civilian workplace, so let your attributes shine.
The exception to this, though, is if you were involved in active combat. In most cases, you can include dates and locations of combat action if it is relevant to the job you are pursuing, but it is best to leave out the graphic particulars. There is no doubt that combat is horrific and has a huge impact on you as a human being, but most potential employers are not prepared to hear about such things in detail.
Substitute a summary for an objective
In the past, a career objective was considered an essential part of any resume, but that thinking has changed in recent years. A career objective typically focuses on what you want to achieve, when what a potential employer really wants to see is what you can do for them.
A summary of your experience and qualifications is a better tool for sharing this information, because is provides the employer with definitive statements about the skills and attributes you would bring to their organization. Use the summary to your advantage by tailoring it for each job you pursue, including strong references to the attributes you possess that match up with the posted requirements and desired qualifications.
An effective summary is concise and to the point, usually no more than three to four sentences long. Use active language that includes both your accomplishments and the results you generated. Results are particularly important because they show a potential employer measurable, quantifiable evidence of the value you could bring to their organization.