Military Resumes: How to get noticed

Military training imparts skills and abilities that can rival and surpass the abilities of civilian counterparts.  One of the biggest differences are the “real world” application of skills.  In the military, service members learn to adapt to problems as they occur.  For example, an electrician that is at sea and aboard a battle ready ship doesn’t have the ability to call a local supply house.  That electrician has to plan ahead or adapt around the unforeseen situations that may occur.  This can also mean constructing repairs in an improvised manner.

These military skills are called Military Occupational Specializations, or MOS for short.  The Navy has Rates, and the Air Force has the Air Force Specialization Codes (AFSC).  They are all essentially the same, in that they exist as a way for the military to track service member skills.  Civilian employers are often not able to discern between a Marine 0311 and an Army 11B, other than one was in the Army and the other was in the Marines.  It is both the responsibility of the veteran to translate these skills, and the responsibility of the human resources team to understand them.

Below are several tips to increase the chances of having your resume with military skills viewed:

  1. Demilitarize your resume.  Avoid using military terminology or acronyms.  These can cause confusion for the person reading the resume.
  2. Translate your military skills in to applicable civilian skills.
  3. Do not highlight combat.  While having served in combat develops senses that most people haven’t acquired, it can cause an interviewer to overlook your resume.
  4. Stay away from having a ‘cookie cutter’ resume.  Design a resume for each position that you apply for.
  5. Do have a personality.  Unfortunately, being in the military is not conducive with developing individuality. Companies want to see what you can bring to the team, so do your best to be creative
  6. Make sure to research the company that you are applying to.

If you need help developing your resume, please reach out to our team.  We would be glad to take a look at what you have.  Please fill out the form to request assistance.

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