Follow the guidelines on this page (2 of 3) to ensure the military to civilian resumes you prepare are considered by top employers.
EDUCATION: Your college degree(s) should be advertised directly under the heading and should contain the following items:
- Institution you attended and location
- Years you attended
- Degree earned
Note: If you are a graduate of a Service Academy but your degree isn’t in a hard engineering discipline (e.g., Electrical Engineering), list “General Engineering Core Curriculum” in addition to your major, for example, “B.S. Computer Science (General Engineering Core Curriculum)”. Other points to consider:
You may add up to three bulleted accomplishments or extracurricular activities to each entry.
Add your GPA if it was 3.0 or higher.
The education section should not include high school information.
Exceptions: In some instances, you may opt to place the education section either after the experience section or at the bottom of your resume. Examples of when you may want to consider this tactic:
- If your degree is completely unrelated to your military experience, i.e., if you have B.A. in art history or music, but have served as a Maintenance Officer, your education section should be below your experience section.
- If you possess corporate experience in your targeted industry, your education section may also follow your experience portion as this may be more relevant for a potential employer.
When in doubt, contact your Candidate Recruiter for advice.
Masters in Business Administration, University of Maine, Orono, ME, 2018
- 3.7 GPA; Vice President of the Graduate Student Association
Bachelor of Science in Political Science (General Engineering Core Curriculum), United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD, 2010
- NCAA Division I Baseball player; Member of the Midshipmen Honor Board
- 3.2 GPA; Superintendent’s list; Graduated in top 25% of class
Surface Warfare Officer School, Newport, RI, 2011
- Thirteen weeks of study in leadership principles, performance counseling, time management and preventive maintenance; graduated with distinction.
EXPERIENCE: List your military experience in reverse chronological order, start with the job you have or had most recently. Functional resumes do not allow you to properly chronicle your accomplishments and often make it difficult to understand your current duties and responsibilities.
Job Description: The first line of each job/duty station should contain the timeframe you were in that position, the job title, the unit and the location of the unit.
Directly under the job title, describe the nature and scope of the responsibilities associated with the position using approximately 2-4 lines of text (paragraph format).
Note: Use active language and vary your verbs. Avoid the phrase “responsible for”. It is passive language and takes up valuable real estate. “Responsible for training 20 soldiers” is better stated “Trained 20 soldiers.”
Keep in mind that many clients actively recruit military-experienced leaders for your extensive project and resource management experience, ability to plan long term strategic goals and execute short term complex strategies, manage mid-sized to large groups, and deal with high-stress situations.
Put your responsibilities in terms that civilian hiring authorities are likely to understand. “Commanded an Infantry company” is not as effective as, “Led 240 soldiers in the maintenance and safe operation of $20 million worth of weapons and transportation equipment.”
Note: Try to avoid using little known military-specific acronyms and jargon and use plain language to describe military-specific equipment, systems, and programs.
Finally, write to your level of experience. A CEO doesn’t need to mention his or her ability to file paperwork while a recent college grad probably hasn’t orchestrated multi-million dollar projects.
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Remember, an employer is looking for indicators that a candidate has a track record of success. Read your resume from the employer’s point of view:
- Is there evidence of above-average performance indicated by quantifiable accomplishments and results?
- Are you explaining what you did and how it made an impact on the organization’s productivity, efficiency and/or service objectives?
Remember that the private sector is to a large extent bottom-line and profits/savings-driven. Companies want to know that you can make an impact by saving time, increasing efficiency (by training people, performing quality assurance, reengineering processes, etc.) and succeed in doing more with less.
Because the military is mission-oriented, relaying the fact that you have previously impacted profits can be tricky. But the military is a customer service-oriented organization in that each unit usually works to support/compliment another. You have probably improved operational efficiency, expanded an organization’s production capabilities and enhanced customer service – all accomplishments that typically drive profits in the corporate world.
Understand that this is an important tone for your resume to possess. Under your responsibilities, put up to three bulletized accomplishments and if listing rankings, consider only listing those where you were ranked number one or number two in a large field of competitive peers.
When formulating accomplishments, aim to state the impact of your actions first when applicable e.g., “Saved $250K in maintenance costs…” followed by specific action “…by creating a parts refurbishment and reclamation program.”