Translating Military Experience into Civilian Jargon on your Resume

by fred 18. May 2010
One of the most important elements of good military transition resume writing is the ability to translate your duties, achievements and experience into something that civilians can understand. It does not matter how decorated you are as a veteran, if you can't relay those experiences and accomplishments to a private sector employer properly, you are never going to be successful. Military to civilian transition resume writing can be difficult, but here are some tips to help you.

In converting your experience to civilian language, here are some examples of what terms you can use in your military to civilian resume.

·    "Soldiers" are now "staff", "employees" and/or "co-workers"
·    "Uniforms" and "Weapons", etc. become "supplies"
·    "Barracks" and other buildings are simply "facilities"

It is also essential to convert your classes taken, medals and successes into civilian language, provided that they are related to the position you seek. For example, you would not use your shooting skills or your battle experience on a private sector resume, so do not worry about this. Also, achievements such as Special Operations Officer can be turned into a simple statement such as Extensive management experience in critical operations.

To explain the courses you have taken and the training you have completed, you can offer general statements that are understandable to civilian sector hiring managers. If you took classes in accounting, there is no translation needed, because everyone understands this term. On the other hand, if you took classes for officer ranking or for artillery, you would need to convert this. For example, you could say Leadership classes and training instead of officer training. However, once again, cavalry training is irrelevant to civilian positions, unless you are looking into a law enforcement career.

All in all, converting the military language into terms that are understandable to civilian employers will be one of the most important aspects of your military transition resume writing. Although you need to make sure that your resume is focused and stands out, you cannot do this without first making sure that it is understandable. It does not matter if your resume is the most unique an employer reads; if they cannot get your military jargon, they will not even give it a second chance.

If you have concerns when you are writing your military transition resume, there are resources available. The military has special classes and offices to help veterans in their conversion. Additionally, many public sector companies and schools specialize in introducing veterans to public society. As long as you are willing to invest the time, making the military to civilian transition can be pretty easy. The most essential thing is to make sure that your resume is  unique and comprehensible to civilian recruiters who have no military knowledge.

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June 13. 2010 20:51


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