10 Tips to Developing a Military Transition Resume

By Barbara Adams, CPRW, CEIP, MFRW, MMRW, MFCA-T

For the million-plus military personnel scheduled to retire or separate from the United States Armed Forces within the next few years, the best advice I can offer is  to prepare. Statistics show that only 1% of the U.S. population comprises the military, leaving 99% civilian. You must prepare to compete when separating from the military against your civilian counterparts.

Thousands of military personnel have the same Military Occupational Specialty (MOS). What differentiates you from others in a military to civilian resume are your specialized experience, accomplishments, training, and individual skills.

Below are 10 tips you can follow to help set you apart from both your military and civilian counterparts:

  1. Demilitarize all military language into civilian-ize–e.g., the word “soldiers” becomes “personnel”
  2. Omit acronyms
  3. List a brief, overall demilitarized job description for each assignment—e.g., missions are assignments
  4. At least 80% of your resume should highlight your accomplishments; this will put you ahead of your competition
  5. Write your resume using the challenge, context, actions, and results of your experience
  6. Don’t just say you’re the best—you need to prove it; list both quantitative and qualitative results
  7. Provide a statement from your superior from your performance evaluation, such as: “The best Electronics Technician in years to pull off a 2,500-system installation with zero deficiencies… promote immediately”
  8. Use brevity on your resume; less is more
  9. Add your security clearance at the top of your resume; your clearance is priceless to both government contractors and the federal government
  10. Be clear, concise, and accomplishment-focused and be sure to have a few colleagues or friends proofread your military to civilian resume for errors

A resume doesn’t have to be full of boring job descriptions. Thousands can have the same MOS or job description. You need to prove your value to an employer and how your experience, skills, education/training, and accomplishments will make an immediate contribution to their organization. CareerProPlus can help you write it with our military to civilian resume services.

Barbara Adams is the President and CEO of CareerPro Global, Inc. (CPG). She has been on the leading edge of SES application development for decades. Committed to providing world-class service, she has also built a SES writing team that has assisted more than 2,500 clients develop their application materials. Ms. Adams has been featured on TV and radio and as a presenter at numerous career conferences. CPG recently sent a team to instruct senior officials at Warner Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, in best practices for developing their SES application materials. She is the co-author of the new book, Roadmap to the Senior Executive Service: How to Find SES Jobs, Determine Your Qualifications, and Develop Your SES Application.

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