Many ex-military personnel find it extremely difficult to write a resume when applying for a civilian job. This is because the general focus in the military is far different from that in the civilian arena. Therefore most ex-military resumes that interviewers receive simply do not serve the function of telling the interviewer more about how well that person would fit into the working environment at that company and how suitable he is for that particular job.
The problem that most ex-military people face is that their accomplishments while in the military service are just not directly transferrable to a civilian context. Interviewers have received many a military resume that contains a list of accomplishments over five pages long, simply because the veteran who wrote the resume included a full list of all of his military accomplishments. The problem with this is that accomplishments such as a long-range marksmanship award are just not relevant to a civilian employer – especially not when simply listed without some form of explanation.
You should not think for one second, however, that military accomplishments are totally irrelevant to jobs in a civilian setting. Resume writing for a civilian job merely requires a different focus from a military resume and accomplishments have to be interpreted from the viewpoint of a civilian setting. Rank, for example, may indicate an ability to command soldiers in the field but it can also indicate an ability to lead a civilian team just as effectively – everything depends on just how you choose to pitch your military achievements.
Making Your Military Resume Sound More Like A Civilian Resume
The first and most important thing may seem like something exceedingly simple, but it is something that many job seekers with a military background neglect when they write their resumes. The starting point for any veteran writing a resume must be that his interviewer knows absolutely nothing about the military. This means that even the most basic military terms should be clearly explained within the resume. This is because many interviewers are often confused and befuddled by terms and names used by military personnel that may be extremely meaningful within the context of the military but which regular civilians know nothing about.
Another thing to keep in mind is that, while most employers admire veterans for their loyal service to the nation, they would rather not hear about first-hand experiences of the battlefield. Some veterans feel the need to relate their experiences on the battlefield to their prospective employers but this may in fact backfire and cause your prospective employer to become squeamish.
Instead, focus on de-militarizing your military accomplishments, making them understandable and applicable within a civilian context. This may mean adapting civilian names and job postings to your military postings and jobs in order that your prospective employer might better understand what you have to offer the company.
Contrary to popular belief, turning your military resume into a civilian resume does not involve completely toning down all references to the military. In fact, your military experience is an asset, emphasizing character traits such as loyalty, perseverance and dedication. The key is simply getting your prospective employer to understand that about you.