By Clay Wyatt
Posted on 05/25/2016

If you’re transitioning from a military to a civilian career this Memorial Day, it may seem easy to just jot down everything you did on a resume and send it off to employers. However, the recruiter who reads that resume might have never set foot on a military base. So if your resume is full of military terminology, he will probably have no idea what you’ve been doing all these years!

However, it is possible to craft a resume that helps you successfully transition from military to civilian work. Here’s how to list military experience on your resume this Memorial Day.

Avoid Using Military Jargon

As mentioned, a recruiter with no military experience will probably have no idea what certain military terms mean. So avoid using any terms that would stump such an individual. In other words, if someone with no military experience wouldn’t understand something on your resume, it probably shouldn’t be on there.

Highlight Your Skills

There are several skills that you may have obtained during your military career. These include:

  • Leadership
  • Ability to perform under pressure
  • Ability to learn quickly
  • Teamwork

As most employers will view such skills positively, these are worthwhile to include on your resume. For example, if you successfully led others in combat situations, you probably wouldn’t have much trouble managing employees in a hectic call center environment. After all, you’ve already proven that you can lead others under stressful conditions. As such, this would be something to highlight on your resume.

Don’t Include Unnecessary Information

In addition to listing your military experience appropriately, you’ll want to be sure to exclude unnecessary information from your resume as doing so could waste valuable space.

Unless an employer specifically requests them upfront, it is generally not necessary to include references on your resume. Employers typically contact them at a later stage in the hiring process, so including them now will likely be unnecessary. Simply noting that you have references available should suffice in most cases.

Also, avoid listing irrelevant jobs. For example, if you are applying for a technology job and delivered food for a summer 15 years ago, that job was probably irrelevant to the one you currently seek. As such, there would almost certainly be no need to include it on your resume.

Reference This Sample

This resume sample from Kent State University should help you explain your military and, if applicable, civilian work experience on your resume. It also covers other items such as education and a summary. It is specifically geared toward veterans, which should be especially helpful in your situation. Consider using it and/or other sample resumes to help you create your own.

Have Someone Proofread it

That friend who barely knows which branch of the military you were in could be a great person to proofread your resume. If he still doesn’t know much about your work history after reading it, it’s probably time to make some adjustments. However, if he understands everything on there, most recruiters probably will, too.