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If you’re a veteran and looking to prepare your resume, you’ll likely be targeting a post-military career. Having a resume that showcases your valuable military experience and strong transferable skills in a clear, concise, and compelling way is vital. Check out our veteran resume example and style guide to help you get on track for a rewarding civilian career.
Veterans are former members of the armed forces who served in active military, naval, or air service. They bring diverse experiences, transferable skills, and valuable training to the civilian workplace. This includes strong teamwork, leadership, organization, problem-solving, and cross-functional skills (among many others!) which make veterans a great catch for prospective employers and companies.
As a veteran transitioning to the civilian workforce, you need an impressive resume that highlights your experience, skills, and qualifications relevant to the jobs you are targeting. Our veteran resume example ticks all these boxes, showcasing transferable skills and experience in a way that civilian employers will understand.
The summary of qualifications is your initial pitch, so it needs to grab the attention of the hiring manager and promote you as the perfect person for the job. Our resume example has a punchy professional summary, bullet-pointed areas of expertise for maximum impact, and a career highlights section that tells the hiring manager exactly what you have achieved in your outstanding military career.
The all-important professional experience section provides recruiters with clear and concise information about your responsibilities and showcases the specific projects you have worked on in the military. Paragraphs (detailing core responsibilities) and bullet points (detailing accomplishments) provide a distinction between each section so the hiring manager can clearly see your core responsibilities and what you have accomplished.
Professional qualifications and training follow, including degrees and certifications completed before and after joining the military. These are selected based on their relevance to the target civilian role and wrap up a great veteran resume example.
Detail your contact information on the resume and add a link to your LinkedIn profile if you wish. Hiring managers will often have a look at your LinkedIn profile anyway, so make sure it’s up-to-date. Add your security clearance at the beginning of the resume too, as this shows you’ve had a thorough background check and can ensure high levels of confidentiality in your work.
Check the job description for keywords that you can use throughout the resume, primarily in the professional summary, areas of expertise, and work experience sections. Focus on removing any descriptive language that is very military-specific as this won’t be relatable to the civilian job market. Terms like subordinates, commanded, or battalion, can be replaced with employees, instructed, or team.
Highlight your areas of expertise in the summary of qualifications (around 15 areas as a maximum that relate as much as possible to your target roles). Follow this up with three or four career highlights at the beginning of the resume that detail your accomplishments as well as the transferable skills and experience you can bring to the table.
Your resume should showcase your core experience as well as specific contributions in areas such as leadership, project management, and performance improvement. These can be bullet-pointed under the relevant role, with a brief outline of your role and any positive outcomes (including the all-important facts and figures).
Focus on including relevant professional qualifications and training to the job you are targeting, rather than listing every qualification you have acquired during your time in the military.
The job description is the best reference point for keywords for your veteran resume. Look out for terms that are repeated or emphasized as important skills and experience. Here are some key skills to include:
Budgeting and cost control
Accomplished, performance-driven US Navy veteran with 20 years of experience leading teams, programs, and operations in fast-tempo, hazardous operating environments. Hold current SECRET clearance.
Employment history example
Division Manager at United States Navy, Pearl Harbor 2019 - Present
Oversaw US Navy's only fully integrated military/civilian Diving Division, leading 70+ personnel performing underwater repair and maintenance for dozens of local and visiting vessels at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility. Monitored accounts and controlled spending as Maintenance & Material Management (3M) Program Manager and Government Purchase Card (GPC) Program Approving Official.
Led team through safe, compliant completion of over 10K dives, the highest of all US Navy groups in the last two years; directly contributed to achieving goals for operational readiness.
Synthesized information, from multiple sources, into concise reports while driving safety mishap investigations for Naval Sea Systems Command.
Planned, administered, and ensured accountability of $1.6M annual budget and $15M in diving/dry-docking support craft, certified Diver's Life Support Systems (DLSS), and related equipment.
Steered innovative technological improvements, and streamlined shop organization and hiring; drove unprecedented growth of Diving Division and enhanced material readiness for numerous customers.
Established training program unique amongst all US Navy maintenance facility/regional maintenance centers, and boosted organization’s capabilities by qualifying 60+ personnel in key maritime job duties.
Trained and mentored junior leaders, and fostered an inclusive culture with high department morale and 100% retention.
Senior Operations Manager / Senior Diving Officer at US Navy, Deployed 2016 - 2018
Led, trained, and equipped 19-person diving and salvage company Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU). Advised on safe diving techniques and procedures, and managed $5.3M in specialized equipment.
Planned, coordinated, and executed 280+ Anti-Terrorism Force Protection dives in six countries, completing over 14K minutes of mishap-free bottom time to max depth of 160 feet.
Orchestrated funding, procurement, acquisition, and timely delivery of customized 65-foot boat, meeting high-priority needs while avoiding millions of dollars in potential contract costs.
Oversaw salvage of 158K pound barge at Naval Base San Diego; team removed a hazard impeding vessel navigation, restoring pier availability four days ahead of schedule.
Senior Operations Manager / Diving Supervisor at US Navy, Key West, FL 2014 - 2016
Met requirements for operation, maintenance, and repair of 150 underwater breathing apparatus (UBA), two recompression chambers, two diving bells, and submarine escape trainer. Maintained safety while supporting delivery of standardized and accredited water-based training to US and partner nations. Administered variety of digital and database systems to centralize and streamline data analysis and reporting of logistics, quality assurance, and risk management functions as Dive Jump Reporting System (DJRS) Coordinator, 3M Coordinator, and QA Supervisor.
Requested by name to advise on diving operations across the region; forged productive relationships as liaison to federal government agencies, foreign special operations units, and diving organizations from all military branches.
Instructed 270 Army personnel on recompression chamber operations, Navy 3M program, and Diving Supervisory qualification; improved training program and helped propel review and modernization of Emergency Diver Casualty procedures for 30 Army instructors.
Budget Planning & Management
Purchase Account Management
Helen is an experienced content writer, with expertise in corporate law, business, sales, marketing and education. Prior to this, she worked in recruitment and human resources, so she has a strong sense of what recruiters are looking for in terms of a potential employee. Helen loves exploring new places, writing blogs of her travel across Europe and enjoying trips to the US, Thailand and the Middle East. She is an avid reader of fiction, poetry, self-help books and factual content and also enjoys creative writing in her spare time, including poetry and children’s fiction.