Military to Civilian Resume Example

Need to write a resume after your military career? We've got a military to civilian resume guide filled with tips and examples!

Flor Ana Mireles
Written by Flor Ana Mireles • Last updated on Jun 23, 2021
Military to Civilian Resume Example
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Imagine this: you've just come out of the military and are readying yourself to once again become a civilian. You've begun looking at jobs but have no idea how to format and create your military-to-civilian resume. Well, you've come to the right place.

So, what is a military-to-civilian resume?

A military-to-civilian resume is a resume document that showcases your relevant military experience that is transferable to non-military, civilian jobs.

Like a civilian resume, your military-to-civilian resume will include the following information:

  • Contact information
  • Work experience
  • Education
  • Skills
  • Certifications

There are also other items you can include on this resume, if space allows, such as:

  • Resume summary
  • Clearances
  • Courses
  • Languages
  • And more

So, if you're looking to write a military-to-civilian resume, you've come to the right place.

In this article, we are going to go over 7 steps to turn your military resume into a military-to-civilian resume. Here's a look at what they are:

  1. Formatting your resume
  2. Writing a resume summary
  3. Describing your work experience
  4. Listing your key skills
  5. Including your education
  6. Adding your certifications and clearances
  7. Adding your languages

1. Format your resume like a civilian resume

When transitioning to a civilian and looking for non-military jobs, the job hunt and hiring process will be made easier for you if your resume follows the same format as a civilian, or regular, resume.

Tip: To truly impress hiring managers, it is crucial to correctly format your resume.

Be sure to include the following sections in your resume:

  • Resume summary
  • Contact information
  • Skills
  • Work experience
  • Education
  • Certifications
Tip: Your civilian resume should be a maximum of two pages. Ideally, however, you should be able to fit everything into one page.

There are three ways to choose from to correctly format your resume:

  1. Reverse-chronological, which emphasizes your previous work experience
  2. Functional, which highlights your key skills
  3. Hybrid, which combines the previous formats

As a military member, choosing the reverse-chronological format will really help to showcase your experience, which can help you land a civilian job.

Tip: Just because you're focusing on your past experience doesn't mean you should forget about your key skills. Be sure to include this on your resume, too, following a sort of hybrid format.

Take a look at our guide on how to format your resume if you want to learn more.

2. Write an impressive and professional resume summary

We live in a busy world. Oftentimes, resumes are only looked at for only 6-7 seconds. Therefore, providing hiring managers a resume summary shows them you appreciate their time.

A resume summary is a 1-2 sentence blurb that summarizes the important stuff on your resume. It also makes your resume look more professional, which can help you land the job. It can also include an objective, which shows hiring managers what it is you're looking for and wishing to get out of a job.

Tip: Sometimes, it's easier to write your resume summary after you have already written your resume. That way, you can pick and choose what you want to include.

Here's an example of what your resume summary can look like:

Trained and dedicated Military Intelligence Officer with 7+ years experience gathering information for pre-strike threat analysis and assessing post-strike battle damage. Looking to learn about civilian law enforcement.

As you can see, there are elements you should always incorporate into a resume summary, including:

  • Years of experience
  • Type of experience
  • Achievements, if applicable
  • Personal characteristics
  • Objective

Need more help writing a professional resume summary? Our guide on writing resume summaries has tons of examples.

3. Describe your work experience efficiently

You don't need a dozen bullet points detailing everything you've done on a job.

5-8 bullet points describing what you've done will suffice.

Now, regardless of what field you are going into, there are elements you should always include when describing your work experience:

  • The company or military branch you worked for
  • Job title
  • Dates worked
  • Job location
  • Job description bullet points
Tip: When listing your work experience, it is important to go in reverse-chronological order. This shows hiring managers your most recent job experience and what you learned or mastered in that job. It's also important to highlight the specifics you did on the job and use good verbs.

Here's an example of what your work experience section can look like:

Military Intelligence Officer, US Navy
Souday Bay, Greece • February 2014 — August 2021

Intelligence Specialist

  • Analyzed intelligence information
  • Prepared and presented briefings and reports
  • Prepared graphics and overlays
  • Plotted imagery data using maps and charts
  • Planned photographic reconnaissance missions
  • Provided input to and receiving data from computerized networks ashore and afloat
  • Used intelligence databases, libraries, and files
  • Gathered information for pre-strike threat analysis and post-strike battle damage assessment

Program Analyst, US Navy
Souday Bay, Greece • September 2008 — January 2014

US Fleet Cyber Command

  • Served as a cyber intelligence analyst responsible for providing technical advice on a wide range of complex analysis, evaluation, collection, interpretation, or dissemination of information and or products related to cyberspace operations.
  • Advised senior leadership on collection and production intelligence requirements and programs that support intelligence preparation and planning, target development, and measurement of effects in support of cyberspace operations.
  • Evaluated the organizational effectiveness of the Cyberspace Operation Integrated Planning Element (CO-IPE).
  • Analyzed qualitative and quantitative cyber intelligence production requirements to determine their validity and relevance to be synchronized and integrated within the production process.
  • Made specific recommendations for necessary refinements to work products so they more effectively support planning, target development, operational planning and measurement of effects.

Want more tips and tricks on how to write your work experience description? Check out our guide on describing your work experience.

4. Include your key skills

Key skills just may be what makes you a more suitable candidate for any position you apply for, and listing them on your resume shows hiring managers what you are capable of.

Tip: Listing impressive and relevant skills gives hiring managers more reasons to hire you because, based on your resume, they know you have the qualities they may be looking for.

Here are some examples of key interpersonal skills you can include in your resume:

  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Time Management
  • Organization
  • Adaptability
  • Problem Solving
  • Accountability

Moreover, be sure to include skills you learned in the military that are relevant to the civilian jobs you are applying for.

Tip: If you haven't got the additional space, include the languages and specific certifications, like first aid and CPR as key skills in your resume.

Having trouble identifying your skills? We have a guide with 100+ key skills you can include in your resume.

5. Include your education

Depending on what field you're going into, your education is a necessary component of your resume.

With that being said, it's important to list your education on your resume. Whether you've only finished high school and joined the military or even went to college, this shows hiring managers that you at least meet the educational criteria, if necessary.

When including your education, be sure to mention the following when listing your education:

  • School name and location
  • Years in school
  • Degree, if applicable

Here's what adding your education to your military-to-civilian resume can look like:

San Francisco State University

San Francisco, CA

2011 — 2014

Computer Science - B.S.

United States Army Military School

2007 — 2009


Lowell High School

San Francisco, CA

2003 — 2007

Want more tips and tricks? Check out our guide on listing your education on a resume.

6. Add your certifications and clearances

While they may not be required, depending on the job you are applying for, if you've got certifications or clearances, it's a good idea to include them on your resume.

Tip: You can include important and relevant certifications in your resume summary, too.

Here are some certifications and clearances you can get and include in your resume:

  • Security Clearance
  • Certified First Aid
  • Certified CPR
  • HAZMAT Certified
  • Weapons Certification
Tip: Be sure to include the year you got cleared or received your certification as well.

If you're looking for more information on how to include certifications to include in your resume or want to know how to correctly list them, check out our guide.

7. Add languages to your resume

Perhaps you were stationed overseas or got to travel a lot during your military career. If you know more than one language, include a languages section on your resume. Especially living in the melting pot that is the United States, knowing more than one language can help you to land a job in a location where English isn't the only language commonly spoken.

Here are some languages you can include on your resume if you know them:

  • English
  • Spanish
  • French
  • Italian
  • German
  • Russian
  • Chinese
  • Japanese
  • Romanian
Tip: Next to the languages you know on your resume, add if you're fluent, intermediate or a beginner in the language to show hiring managers just how well you know the specific language.

Need more help writing the perfect resume? We have a guide that can help you do just that.

Key Takeaways

Perhaps you were accustomed to writing regular, civilian resumes before your time in the military but forgot, or you'd only ever written a military resume. However, following this guide will not only leave you with a civilian resume but a good and professional-looking one, too.

In case you need it, here's a summary of everything we've covered:

  1. Format your resume in reverse-chronological or hybrid format
  2. Write detailed a resume summary
  3. Describe your work experience
  4. List your key skills
  5. Include your education
  6. Add your certifications and clearances
  7. Add your known languages

Whatever career you decide to get into post-military, we know you'll succeed. Good luck!

Flor Ana Mireles
Flor Ana Mireles is a writer and editor with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication (Journalism) and a background in English literature, music, marketing, and business. She is also the self-published author of two poetry collections and the lead singer of South Florida rock band Leather and Lace. Flor has experience in social media and getting crafty and artsy. When she is not writing, she's spending time in nature, reading, or listening to music.
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