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Military to Civilian Resume Example & Writing Guide

  • What should your military to civilian resume include?   
  • Why use this military to civilian resume example?
  • Which key skills are relevant to a military to the civilian resume?

Transitioning from the military to a civilian job can be challenging. You gained a lot of outstanding skills and experience while you were in the military, but it doesn’t always translate easily into the civilian working world. This article will help you convert your expertise and the activities into an effective resume. We’ll also provide you with an excellent example of a military to civilian resume.

What should your military to civilian resume include?   

When you’re writing your resume to transition from the military into a new civilian job, the first thing you need to figure out is what career path you want to pursue. This will help determine the right type of resume to create. Begin by writing down everything you did while you were in the military, such as:

  • All the job tasks, assignments, and projects you worked on. What were your main responsibilities, objectives, and outcomes? Quantify your efforts with specific numbers whenever possible.

  • Did you receive any recognition like medals, awards, or certificates? Make note of the details so you can use them to highlight your achievements.

  • What training and education did you receive? Do you have a security clearance? List these items in your education and professional development resume sections.

Now that you’ve gathered the information you need, go through each item and decide whether it’s relevant to the job you’re applying for.

Why use this military to civilian resume example?

Always start your resume with a concise summary statement that, in just a few sentences, tells your potential employer why you’re the best candidate for the job. The example resume does this by including how much experience they have and some of their most impressive skills and qualifications.

This example of a military to civilian resume is for a person who is going for an executive management position. You’ll notice that this is a solid match with their military background because they have a lot of leadership experience. 

When you’re writing your job experience descriptions, take the time to translate them into civilian language. If you’re not sure what the civilian title would be, do an online search for equivalents. Our example resume does an outstanding job of using widely accessible language to ensure it’s easy to read and understandable for civilians. It avoids using specialized or overly confusing military terminology and acronyms.

The most important thing to remember is that your operational objective is to convince the hiring manager to give you the job. Make sure all your descriptions stay on mission by being relevant to the high-value target you’re going for. The best way to do this is by studying the job description and using the keywords and terms that match your background. 

Which key skills are relevant to a military to the civilian resume?

If you’re an ex-military person moving into the civilian job market, then you have a lot of skills you gained in the military, but which ones are the best to put on your civilian resume? Below is a list of some of the best skills to use on your military to civilian resume:

  • Strategic planning

  • People management

  • Problem solving

  • Process improvement

  • Project management

  • Risk assessment

  • Relationship management

  • Data analysis

Resume Example

Summary example

15+ years of success developing, supervising, managing, and leading diverse groups of personnel to achieve mission-critical objectives. Consummate professional with exceptional mentoring, coaching, and communication talents; adept at building positive rapport and relationships with staff at every organizational level. Current Top Secret/SCI clearance with SSBI investigation.

Employment history example

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR / SECURITY MANAGER for the United States Navy, Okinawa, Japan. 2020 - Present

Advise and represent Commander in maintaining performance, efficiency, and professionalism across multiple geographical areas. Oversee schedules for three department heads, coordinate training plans, and monitor/enforce adherence to regulations, policies, and standards for 85 military and contractor personnel. Manage human resources to ensure organization maintains highest level of readiness to support multi-national training and operational exercises with foreign allies.

  • Increased material readiness of production facility and 85+ storage warehouses by incorporating Zone Inspection Program; greatly enhanced ability to identify and track discrepancies through resolution and enabled on-time repairs valued at $5.2M.

  • Provided crucial technical and tactical support for several major military exercises annually as primary liaison between US Navy, US Air Force, and Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force.

  • Ensured 100% accountability for 4K-ton inventory valued at $360M+; arranged movement of 2K tons through 27 national and multi-national exercises with zero mishaps.

  • Created organizational climate that fosters professional and personal training, education, and mentorship; leveraged dynamic, people-oriented training program to increase rates of off-duty education and promotion for team members.

SENIOR TECHNICAL ADVISOR – AIRCRAFT MAINTENANCE for the United States Navy, Naval Airfield Atsugi, Japan. 2019 - 2022

Principle leader on all issues involving quality assurance, safety, and operational risk mitigation and management. Planned, guided, monitored, and supported daily activities for 65 personnel maintaining, loading, and handling ordnance and avionics systems. Developed and utilized training methods that empowered personnel for maximum performance in deadline-driven, high-pressure operations.

  • Articulated vision for organizational achievement, inspired team members, and invested in both career development and personal empowerment of staff.

  • Increased operational efficiency by 80%, winning Navy’s top award for operational efficiency despite 50% turnover in personnel and severe staffing, funding, and support equipment shortfalls.

  • Identified and removed logistical obstacles for transoceanic trips from Japan to NV; moved 150 personnel and millions of dollars in aircraft support equipment with zero safety mishaps.

STAFF MANAGER / TECHNICAL ADVISOR for the United States Navy, Naval Air Station Lemoore, CA. 2015 - 2019

Directed safe loading/unloading, maintenance, and storage of complex aircraft munitions and related avionics systems. Developed and steered programs for safety, inspection, and risk mitigation.

  • Optimized personnel and material resources through effective prioritization and organization, leading to unprecedented 98% mission completion rate during Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

  • Drew upon strong counseling and mentoring skills to boost personnel retention and enable 98% job promotion rate.

  • Hand-picked to train and augment new department; ensured Commander’s standards were met before deployment deadline.

Education example

Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Management at the University of Arizona Global Campus.

Skills example

  • Operations Management

  • Change Management

  • Logistics Management

  • Quality Assurance

  • Six Sigma Improvement

  • Equipment Maintenance

  • Risk Assessment & Mitigation

  • Occupational Safety

  • Diversity & Inclusion

  • Stakeholder Communication

  • Team Building & Leadership

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