Military to Civilian Resume Examples

Demilitarize your resume using our helpful tips

Build Your Military to Civilian Resume

Professional Resume Samples for a Military to Civilian

Check out these veteran resume samples

Military to Civilian Resume Tips and Ideas

Transfering from military to civilian life is a challenge familiar to all veterans. Creating your resume and applying for civilian jobs is a battle you don’t have to fight alone. Our expert tips and professional resume examples can help you get started.

Your military experience has endowed you with numerous skills vital to the civilian workforce. Your resume should demonstrate these skills in an appealing format that is understandable to civilian employers.

Top Tips

  • Functional or combination formats are recommended

When designing your military to civilian resume, consider:

  • Section Headings
  • Organization
  • Readability
  • Font




  • Contact information
  • Resume summary
  • Skills
  • Work history
  • Education


  • Language proficiency
  • Certifications
  • Honors and awards
Resume Length

1-2 pages


Functional or combination resumes are recommended for a military to civilian transition, as these focus on your skills rather than your work history.

Begin your resume with a summary statement. This should be designed to catch your employer’s eye by citing skills he or she is looking for.

Next, build a skills or qualifications summary. This summary should demonstrate your skills in action. Don’t just state that you have a skill—show how you used it. Quantify your skills if possible. For example, rather than just listing “leadership,” quantify it by stating “directed a squadron of 30 personnel under combat conditions.”

Especially if you are using a combination resume format, list your work history and education in reverse chronological order.


You can utilize a standard resume design such as that demonstrated by most online resume templates. Your resume should be clean and neat in appearance. Begin each section with a clear heading. You can set your headings apart using bold or italic fonts. Select a standard font such as Arial at 11- or 12-point font. Leave plenty of white space around the text.


In the United States, it is not necessary to include your photo with your resume. If applying to a job while residing in another country, research common practices in that land. For example, you may be expected to submit a photo in some European countries.

Sections of a Resume

Most resumes include the following sections:

  • Contact information
  • Resume summary
  • Skills
  • Work history
  • Education

Contact information will allow your employer to get in touch with you. The summary, skills, and history will give him or her a clear picture of your abilities.

Depending on your circumstances and the job to which you are applying, you may also include:

  • Language proficiency
  • Certifications
  • Honors and awards

The ability to speak languages other than English can be a real asset in a diverse workplace or community. You may have attained various certifications during your service, such as CPR training or heavy equipment operation. These can also be valuable in civilian employment.

Finally, while your skills show what you can do, any honors or awards you have received show how well you can do it. You can even include pull-quotes from past reviews.

Resume Length

Your resume should be one to two pages in length, sized to fit 8.5 by 11-inch letter paper. If printing your resume, select a high quality, heavy weight resume paper.

Military to Civilian Resume Section Headings

Your skills and experience in the military can translate into just what your civilian employer needs. It is your job to tell them about your work and qualifications in a way that they will understand.


Skills are one of the most important aspects of your military to civilian resume. You will need to “translate” the language you use into that which can be easily understood by civilians. For example, you can demonstrate how you solved a problem under pressure without delving into the intricacies of military procedure.

What skills should you include? There may be many hard or technical skills, such as machine operation, computer programming, logistics, and the like. Also think about soft skills, including leadership ability, communication, and organization.

Remember that your employer is looking to hire someone that can solve a particular problem. Focus your skillset on qualities that will help you be that person. This may entail omitting irrelevant skills. For example, your marksmanship may be important if you are applying for a position as an armed security guard or as an instructor at a shooting range, but it is irrelevant if you are applying to an office job.

Work experience

A long military career may have endowed you with enough work experience to fill a biographical novel. For the sake of your resume, however, you’ll want to keep it brief. List only the last 10 to 12 years of experience, as this is considered the most relevant. Use your work descriptions to highlight skills that may transfer to your new job.

Military to Civilian Resume Vocabulary & Writing Tips

It is important to “demilitarize” the wording and vocabulary of your resume. Unless he or she has also served in the military, your civilian employer is unlikely to understand terms such as E-7, SNCO, or PCSing. When describing your duties, avoid military jargon and explain them in “layman’s terms.”

Read the job listing or description for the position to which you will apply. Look for keywords, and include them in your resume. This is important because many companies employ software that pre-screens resumes for key terms before it ever reaches a human reader.

The keywords you use will differ depending on the job you are seeking. Below, we’ve included a number of terms that are well suited to a wide array of resumes.

When you are finished writing your resume, proofread it carefully for any errors.

Words to Use

  • Eager
  • Disciplined
  • Fast learner
  • Leadership
  • Communication
  • Dedicated
  • Safety
  • Teamwork
  • Group dynamic
  • Veteran
  • Veteran-owned
  • Motivated

Action Verbs

  • Work
  • Train
  • Teach
  • Lead
  • Oversee
  • Understand
  • Communicate
  • Organize
  • Cooperate
  • Listen

Resume Samples

1. Candidate seeking security guard position

Army Veteran seeking to improve the safety of Township residents by providing security services to the Township Apartments.

  • Oversaw 30 military police personnel
  • Actively participated in the training of new personnel, including safety procedures
  • Divided time between video surveillance and foot patrols
  • Provided armed response to reported incidences and unusual activity
Build Your Resume
  • High school
  • 5 years
    of military experience
  • 2 years
    of combat experience
  • Concealed
    carry permit

2. Candidate seeking position as restaurant manager

Passionate about food service and veteran-owned businesses, with the skills to manage supply logistics and day-to-day operations.

  • Graduated with Honors
  • Gained customer service skills as a retail associate that grew into communication and leadership skills during military service
  • Responsible for supplying chain logistics
  • Oversaw a group of 15 personnel
Craft Your Resume
  • High school
  • Associate’s Degree
    in Business Management
  • 6 years
    of military experience
  • 1 year
    of retail experience

Last modified on July 18th, 2019

Jobless due to COVID? Let Resume Coach help you get your next job ASAP.