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Tips for Writing a Resume for Life After the Military

by | May 9, 2013 | Resume Writing | 2 comments


The transition from military to civilian life is often a challenging one, especially where jobs are concerned and in relation to writing a professional resume. In a competitive job market, a military veteran must creatively come up with ways to show how previous military experience has made him or her a strong candidate for a job. In a previous post, I discussed some basics when it comes to crafting a resume as a retired service member. Here are some specific terms and phrases that members of the military, who are looking to shift their career focus, should use in their resume writing. The terminology allows a person to write a resume that reflects their qualifications, but also explains their past experience. These terms help to translate the military lifestyle into corporate accomplishment:

Quality or process improvement

This term highlights situations where the individual examined the processes currently in place and found ways to make adjustments that led to improved quality or efficiency. This is a valuable trait that employers look for, and it’s one that many members of the military have experience with. An example of how to use the term in a resume includes, “Improved the overall quality of the program and helped to increase efficiency by 30 percent.”

Technical leadership

For those who have directly managed personnel, this term is a useful one to employ on a resume. An example of this term in action would be, “Trained, managed, and evaluated a team of technical personnel in a maintenance center.” Whether it’s as part of a unit or onboard a ship, the ability to manage people is a requirement for many jobs.

Project management

Hiring managers look for potential employees who are able to lead a team and successfully accomplish a goal. Whether this experience comes in a traditional office setting or through time in the military, it’s an important trait to demonstrate. To show project management skills, discuss situations where you oversaw a project from start to finish. Explain how you organized materials and met a deadline, on-time, on-budget, or both.

Maintenance management

This term refers to a situation where an individual has spearheaded management of a maintenance team, directed upkeep on a specific area or piece of equipment, and scheduled maintenance work. Use it on a resume to describe times when you managed the care of a facility or piece of equipment, whether it was an aircraft, a boat, or another piece of machinery.

Production control/shift supervisor

Similar to maintenance management, this term covers a person’s experience in handling maintenance supervision. In the Air Force, the position may be referred to as “production control.” The Navy calls this kind of job “work center supervisor” or “leading chief petty officer.” In the Army and Marine Corps, the position is often referred to as a “team leader.” While the titles may differ depending on the organization, the experience is universal. Note that the phrases “production control” and “shift supervisor” often refer to manufacturing work in civilian terminology.

Maintenance technicians

Adding information about your technical military training is an important way of making your resume stand out to a potential employer. Get specific and list the areas in which you’ve been trained, as well as the type of education you received (such as courses or number of hours of instruction). In general, military training courses are typically 40 hours per week, but include additional mandatory study sessions.

While it may seem as though military experience and civilian work experience don’t correlate, in reality, many of the skills a person obtains in the armed forces are highly transferrable to other work situations.

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