Career Advice

Military Service on a Resume: 5 Tips to Impress an Employer

As you’ve probably already realized, making the transition from military to civilian life can be challenging at times. If you’re trying to land a job in the private sector but are struggling to figure out how to best display your military service on your resume, you’ve come to the right place. Read on for some ways you can increase the odds that a civilian employer will contact you for a job interview.

Tip #1: Convert Your Military Title into a Civilian One

Many HR folks working in the private sector don’t understand the ranks and titles used in the military. To avoid any confusion, translate your military titles into civilian ones. For example, consider using Senior Manager or Director in place of Commander. Likewise, employers will understand what a Personnel Manager does more than they will a First Sergeant. Look online for help in figuring out which equivalent titles to use as there are several websites out there that match military jobs to civilian ones like

Tip #2: Steer Clear of Using Military Jargon

The general rule of thumb for anyone switching industries is to avoid using any jargon or acronyms that might baffle a potential employer. The same applies when it comes to military terminology. The last thing you want to do is make the person looking over your resume feel dumb because they don’t know what certain words mean. The goal is to make everything on your resume easy to read and understand; you can do this by replacing any military jargon with regular words or steer clear of using it altogether.

Tip #3: Highlight the Skills You Acquired in the Military

Without a doubt, you have gained many valuable skills while in the military. Skills like self-discipline, resourcefulness, leadership, integrity, and the ability to work as part of a team, to name just a few. The trick is to show potential employers how these skills will benefit them. Don’t shy away from including bullets on your resume that showcase the many skills you’ve obtained during your military service; these skills may, in fact, give you an edge over other candidates who are applying for the same position.

Tip #4: Don’t Disrupt the Flow of Your Resume

When it comes to the formatting of your resume, consider including your military service in chronological order (from newest to oldest) alongside your other work experience. In other words, don’t disrupt the flow of your resume by putting your military experience in its own section. Instead, incorporate it into your work history section, keeping the same formatting, so it is viewed in the same way as your other experience.

Tip #5: Consolidate Multiple Military Stints

It’s possible that you changed locations and positions a lot while in the military. To avoid overwhelming and confusing your reader (who may view multiple jobs and frequent moves as a negative), whenever possible lump similar experiences into larger blocks of time. Listing each military job separately might scare away a potential employer so definitely consider consolidating them if you can.

You have so much to offer an employer in the private sector! They might not realize this, however, if you don’t take the time to tailor and format your resume properly. Spend a few extra minutes ensuring that your military service is explained in easy-to-understand language, free of military jargon and repetitive stints, incorporated nicely into your resume, and written so that it highlights relevant skills. Before you know it, employers will come knocking!