Putting Your Military Experience on an Attention-Grabbing Resume

Jan, 27 2021

Image of male sitting at desk writing while looking at a laptop, with the words Craft a 5-Star Resume Land Your Dream Job

In the military, service members gain an immense amount of skills, achievements, and knowledge to make them excellent candidates for any organization. The most significant task military members have in their military to civilian transition is securing a job that matches these skills. Applying for jobs is a difficult task for anyone, and typically a task completed alone. For military members, applying for jobs is more challenging. Why? Military experiences gained during active service do not translate easily to civilian terms on a resume.

To help military members navigate their transition, we put together tips to write a five-star resume to optimize the chance for success.

  1. Link your skills and your employer's needs together.

It is essential to know which career field you want to enter before writing a resume. You must tailor your resume specifically to each job application. Start by listing your experience and duties performed. Then compare your relevant skills with the qualifications and requirements for the position you are applying for. Use the connections you make to build a resume that mirrors the employer's needs.

If you are not sure which career option is best for you, take an interest assessment to find areas that match your skillset. 

  1. Make your resume "civilian friendly."

Always assume that potential employers do not understand military terms. You have valuable skills, and it is important to communicate that in a language that others understand. Instead of classifying your military job position as a senior infantry sergeant, you can classify it as a senior logistics supervisor. If you need assistance, you can find civilian skills translators online to help you find correct and appropriate terms to translate your experience.

  1. Highlight your accomplishments.

Demonstrate your value and work ethic by including medals, awards, or recognitions you have earned. If you want to stand out, benchmark your accomplishments with data and numbers. Think about how you were evaluated for your job achievements and turn that into numbers: You can list the budget amounts you handled or the number of people and supplies you managed. These accomplishments will help employers better understand your strengths.

  1. Structure your resume.

Format your resume so that it looks organized and concise. Creating sections in your resume will help you stand out. Select a resume style that works for you, but be sure to include important information that employers look for, such as: 

  • Name and contact information
    • Include your full name, email address, phone number, and home address.
  • Summary or objective
    • In two to five lines, connect your military experience and qualifications needed for the role you are applying for. The summary is a place to highlight what makes you the ideal candidate.
  • Professional or military experience
    • Use this section to list the positions you held during your time in the military, along with a timeline. Highlight your responsibilities and achievements that match the ones listed in the job description to show you are an ideal candidate.
  • Relevant skills
    • Add in any training or skills you learned in the military that will make you stand out, such as computer skills or different languages.
  • Education and training 
    • List colleges, schools, or any military training schools that you attended. Include the name, location, and time frame that you attended.
  • Awards and achievements (optional) 
    • List any medals, accomplishments, honors, or awards by their title and the year they were received.
  1. Proofread your resume and ask someone to give you feedback.

Read your resume out loud and check for spelling, grammatical errors, formatting issues, missing information, and verify the keywords in your resume are tailored to the job description. It helps to have a second person proofread it and give you additional feedback. It’s always helpful to have a second set of eyes to look for any errors you may have missed. Remember, a resume is an instrument that proves your qualifications and potential. Take your time revising your resume.

Use this resume as an example of how to incorporate your military experience into your resume:

Erick Jones
(520) 237-0756

Information Technology U.S Army member seeking an information technology manager role. Successfully trained 30 team members and improved computer maintenance turnaround times by 35%.

Military experience

Information Technology Specialist Supervisor  

U.S. Army, 2018-2020                          

  • Directed a team of 30 Information Technology Specialists
  • Used attention to detail to create complex computer programming and digital security software 
  • Strengthened computer maintenance protocols using problem-solving skills to reduce issues and security risks

Information Technology Specialist   

U.S. Army, 2016–2017

  • Installed, configured, and monitored computer security systems and software
  • Developed information technology procedures and reports detailing confirmation of IT resolution
  • Assisted in resolving technical computer operations equipment problems

Training and technical skills

  • Four years of utilizing iOS and Microsoft Windows Server operating system 
  • Four years of technical support
  • U.S. Army Signal Support Systems Specialist Course (AIT)
  • CPR and first-aid certifications
  • Fluent in Spanish

Military honors

  • Achievement Medal, Information Technology Security (2020)
  • Honorable discharge (2019)

This article is created in partnership with the Maricopa County Community Colleges and Pipeline AZ to help military and veteran communities transition back to civilian life, connect and succeed. Funding for this initiative is made possible in part by the Maricopa County Community Colleges Foundation


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