Military to Civilian Resume Example—Template and 20+ Writing Tips

Military resume examples and tips. Write a civilian resume with military experience. Make your military-to-civilian resume fast, with good and bad examples.

Military to Civilian Resume Example—Template and 20+ Writing Tips

Here’s an outstanding military resume example.

 

Why is it so hard to write a military to civilian resume?

 

Two reasons:

 

1. Most of the world doesn’t know what you went through.

2. Most military to civilian resume examples target the wrong things.

 

But—

 

With the right translation, your veteran resume can shine like a tactical flashlight.

 

This guide will show you:

  • A sample military resume better than most.
  • How to translate military skills to a civilian resume.
  • How to write a military resume that gets interviews.
  • Why choosing the right few military accomplishments for resumes is life or death.

 

What does a perfect military to civilian resume profile look like? See below—

 

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sample resume templates

 

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Military Resume Template

 

Michael Keogh
Police Officer

 

Personal Info

 

Phone: 423-797-6780
Email: michaelqkeogh@gmail.com
linkedin.com/michaelqkeogh

 

Summary

 

Police Officer with 5+ years of experience in USAF Security Forces. Seeking to use proven law enforcement skills to ensure civilian safety & security. As Staff Sergeant, trained 47 team members in security tasks. Slashed administrative costs 15%. Cut disciplinary incidents by 35%.

 

Experience

 

Security Forces Staff Sergeant
US Air National Guard
2015–2019

  • Led teams in support of operations and security.
  • Trained 15 team members on collective and individual security tasks.
  • Provided surveillance, asset security checks, and safety inspections.
  • Cut administrative costs 15% with better vendor relationships.
  • Provided oversight of team members and equipment.
  • Worked with superiors to achieve team goals often in advance of deadlines.
  • Managed disciplinary actions in the team. Cut incidents by 35%.

 

Security Specialist
US Air National Guard
2013–2014

  • Assisted with management and accountability of internees.
  • Provided surveillance and security for headquarters.
  • Furnished external security for internment corrections facility.

 

Education

 

B.A. in Criminal Justice, University of Memphis
2013–2016

  • Excelled in law enforcement coursework.
  • Pursued a passion for emergency response classes.

 

USAF Security Forces Tech School
2010–2012

  • Commended by instructors for efficiency.
  • Maintained 4.0 average in security and surveillance classes.

 

Certificates and Clearances

 

  • Security Clearance
  • HAZMAT Familiarization and Transportation
  • First Aid / CPR
  • Weapons certifications: Glock 19 pistol, 12-gauge shotgun, Taser X26P/X2

 

Courses

 

  • Basic Leadership
  • Risk Assessment

 

Volunteer Work

 

  • Volunteer firefighter, bimonthly, Shelbyville, Tennessee
  • Volunteer Basic First Aid trainer, American Red Cross

 

Additional Activities

 

  • Article on conflict resolution published in Cop Talk blog.
  • Participate in weekly road biking for fun and self-care.

 

Hard Skills: Law Enforcement and Public Safety, Emergency Planning and Response, Security and Surveillance Operations, Conflict Management, Firearms Safety and Handling, Team Development

 

Soft Skills: Leadership, Collaboration, Communication

 

Languages: Spanish

 

Now, here’s how to write a military to civilian resume:

 

1. Pick the Right Military Resume Format

 

Critical intelligence:

 

Use the right resume format to prove you’re no oxygen thief.

  • Start with the reverse-chronological resume format. It puts your most relevant achievements in the front lines.
  • Choose the best resume fonts in 10–14pt. Use 1-inch margins, clear headings, and generous white space.
  • Write a one-page resume unless you’re more accomplished than R. Lee Ermey.
  • Lead with a military to civilian resume header. Include name, phone number, email address, and social media links. No snail mail. No photo.
  • Next add a military resume objective, work experience, and education.
  • For maximum effect, include resume extras like volunteer work, publications, and additional activities.

Expert Hint: Use a resume PDF unless the job description says they’re off limits. PDFs don’t go AWOL in transit. Plus they’re machine-readable in 2019.

2. Write an Effective Military Resume Objective

 

Big tip:

 

The hiring manager is a civilian.

 

She’s wondering, “but can this applicant do the job?”

 

Answer fast with a resume objective (aka resume summary).

 

Include:

 

  1. One adjective (hard-working, motivated, efficient)
  2. Job title (police officer, IT manager)
  3. Years of experience (3+, 5+)
  4. How you’ll help (ensure civilian safety & security)
  5. Best 2–3 achievements (cut disciplinary incidents by 35%)

 

Scope out these two military resume examples:

 

Military to Civilian Resume—Objective

Good Example
Police Officer with 5+ years of experience in USAF Security Forces. Seeking to use proven law enforcement skills to ensure civilian safety & security at Three Rivers PD. As Staff Sergeant, trained 15 team members in security tasks. Slashed administrative costs 15%. Cut disciplinary incidents by 35%.
Bad Example
USAF E-5 with deep experience in security and surveillance. Responsible for supervision and leadership of teams in USAF Security Forces. Highly skilled in leadership, communication, and firearms safety and handling. Also trained in law enforcement and defensive tactics.

Massive difference.

 

That first of those military resume samples is superior. The measurable accomplishments give it force.

 

The second is too military-focused. Civilians won’t relate to it.

Expert Hint: Don’t write your military resume summary or resume objective first. You’ll get lost. Write it last so you can build it from the best materiel in your resume.

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3. Write a Fast-Moving Military Resume Job Description

 

Here’s the biggest problem with your military to civilian resume.

 

It talks about your military background.

 

Civilian hiring managers don’t know what that means.

 

So—

 

Here’s how to add military experience to a resume:

 

  1. Read the job offer like your life depends on it.
  2. Note the job skills, duties, and responsibilities you see.
  3. Use your resume bullets to show you own those things.
  4. Avoid acronyms and jargon.

 

These military resume examples provide reconnaissance:

 

Military Job Descriptions for Resume—Example

 

Job ad wants these skills: (1) leadership (2) security (3) training (4) vendor management.

Good Example

Experience

 

Security Forces Staff Sergeant
US Air National Guard
2015–2019

  • Led team of 12 security specialists in support of operations and security.
  • Trained 15 team members on collective and individual security tasks.
  • Provided surveillance, asset security checks, and safety inspections.
  • Cut administrative costs 15% via better vendor management.
  • Provided oversight of team members and equipment.
Bad Example

Experience

 

Security Forces Staff Sergeant
US Air National Guard
2015–2019

  • Led teams in support of operations and security at Arnold AFB.
  • Provided surveillance, asset security checks, and safety inspections.
  • Coordinated logistical support of U.S. forces deploying from the base. Tasked with keeping administrative costs low.
  • Provided oversight of team members and tactical and infrastructure equipment.
  • Worked with superiors to achieve team goals.

What gives supremacy to example #1? It’s got measurable achievements that plug into the civilian job.

 

Translate Military Skills to Civilian Resume

 

This is high value:

 

Translate what you did in the military to the civilian skills the job is looking for.

 

Need a military skills translator for resume use?

 

Use the one at Military.com.

 

Not sure what jobs your military experience translates to?

 

Try CareerOneStop’s Military to Civilian Occupation Translator.

 

Never copy resume skills from a list online.

 

But—

 

For reference, here are the skills civilian employers value most:

 

Military Skills for a Resume

 

Military Skills to Put on a Resume
Interpersonal SkillsPersuasion
LeadershipDependability
CollaborationJudgment
Problem SolvingCompassion
AdaptabilitySelf-Motivation
CommunicationDetail Oriented
Work EthicListening
Critical ThinkingActive Learning
EnthusiasmHonesty
Decision MakingPhysically Fit

What about hard skills in a resume for veterans?

 

In the military, you may have picked up skills in engineering, IT, HAZMAT training, cooking, or mechanical work. Maybe you were a driver or instructor.

 

List those hard skills on your resume, too.

 

But—make sure they fit the requirements shown in the job ad.

Expert Hint: Should you mention combat experience in a military-to-civilian resume? Only for security or law enforcement jobs. Otherwise, it may play to negative stereotypes.

4. Turn Boring Education to a Reason to Hire You

 

How do you show education on a military to civilian resume?

 

There’s a right way and a wrong way.

 

The wrong way only shows your GPA and that you graduated.

 

The right way shows accomplishments that fit the job.

 

These military resume examples show how:

 

Education on Military to Civilian Resume—Example

 

Let’s say the job calls for skills in law enforcement, emergency response, and efficiency.

 

Education

 

B.A. in Criminal Justice, University of Memphis
2013–2016

  • Excelled in law enforcement coursework.
  • Pursued a passion for emergency response classes.

 

USAF Security Forces Tech School
2010–2012

  • Commended by instructors for efficiency.
  • Maintained 4.0 average in security and surveillance classes.

 

That military to civilian resume sample sews it up. It demonstrates civilian skills.

Expert Hint: Should you list your GPA on a veteran resume? Only if it’s high or recent. Otherwise, use the space for something more impressive.

5. Use Military Resume Extras to Get Inside the Wire

 

What do all military-to-civilian resumes have in common?

 

They show experience and education.

 

Plus—

 

They blend in like MultiCam.

 

Your military resume must make employers want to work with you.

 

How?

 

With resume extras that show you’re not just a grunt.

 

See these military to civilian resume examples:

 

Additional Sections on Veteran Resume—Examples

 

Pretend you’re applying for a police officer job.

 

The job posting wants skills in HAZMAT, weapons use, leadership, risk assessment, training, conflict resolution, and physical fitness.

Good Example

Certificates and Clearances

 

  • Security Clearance
  • HAZMAT Familiarization and Transportation
  • First Aid/CPR
  • Weapons certifications: Glock 19 pistol, 12-gauge shotgun, Taser X26P/X2

 

Courses

 

  • Basic Leadership
  • Risk Assessment

 

Volunteer Work

 

  • Volunteer firefighter, bimonthly, Shelbyville, Tennessee
  • Volunteer Basic First Aid trainer, American Red Cross

 

Additional Activities

 

  • Article on conflict resolution published in Cop Talk blog.
  • Participate in weekly road biking for fun and physical fitness.
Bad Example

Additional Activities

 

  • Participate in regular volunteer work.
  • Avid biker.

See the difference?

 

Those first military resume samples prove your skills.

Expert Hint: Send a military resume cover letter. While more than half the hiring managers don’t read cover letters, nearly half insist on them.

7. Army Basic Training Description for Resume

 

How do you show military training on a resume?

 

It’s basic.

 

First:

 

Do you have lots of more impressive accomplishments?

 

If yes, add basic training on a resume bullet point under “additional activities.”

 

If no, add military training to a resume section called “Basic Training.”

 

Then put job-fitting achievements in the bullet points.

 

See this military resume example:

 

Military to Civilian Resume Training—Example

 

Let’s say the job calls for efficiency, motivation, teamwork, and work ethic.

 

US Army Basic Training 
Fort Jackson, South Carolina
2015

  • Received rare US Army Certificate Achievement for demonstrating fast learning, efficiency, and motivation.
  • Excelled in teamwork learning exercises.
  • Commended by Training Instructor for willingness to perform unpopular tasks.

 

Pow.

 

That’s military experience translated into civilian experience.

 

The hiring manager knows you’ll fit in perfectly.

Expert Hint: On a military to civilian resume, you can call BCT “Basic Training” or “Boot Camp.” Leave out “combat” to ensure you don’t confuse civilian hiring managers.

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Key Points

 

Here’s a recap. To write a military to civilian resume:

  • Use the military resume template in this guide. It uses military experience on a resume the right way.
  • Translate military skills to your civilian resume. Kill the acronyms and show how you used skills listed in the job offer.
  • Write a military resume objective that gets noticed. In it, put your 2–3 best assets.
  • Pack your experience and education with accomplishments. Show you’ve basically done the job they’re hiring for.

 

Got questions on how to write a great resume for military jobs? Not sure how to show military experience on a resume? Leave a comment. We are happy to reply.

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Tom Gerencer
Career Writer at ResumeLab
Tom Gerencer is a career advice writer and a resume expert at ResumeLab. Tom has been featured on BBC News, NBC, The Economist, Business Insider, Fast Company, and dozens of other outlets. His insights, commentary, and articles reach over a million readers every month. With inside knowledge of key industry players and in-depth research, Tom helps job seekers with advice across all professions and career stages. Tom holds a degree in English from Colby College.

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