Resume and Cover Letter Tips
Transform your resume from military experience to civilian success
Create a professional and effective resume that displays your accomplishments and experience in the military.
- Show off your military background – if you were in combat, focus on your transferrable skills and highlight your key responsibilities (For example, if you were Infantry discuss your communications, team building, and project management skills)
- Highlight your track record of accomplishments – promotions and advanced responsibilities, collateral duties, and ribbons, awards, or medals.
- Assume hiring managers are not familiar with military jargon. Avoid using acronyms.
- Do not use your military email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) on your resume, ensure that you include your personal email address.
- If your security clearance is still active, it is recommended to include this in your resume, as it may be an attribute to government, state, or private employers that require this. Please note that after one-year of exiting the service or not utilizing your clearance it becomes inactive.
- Identify all relevant training and certificates received in the service that would support your new career
- For veterans with more than 10 years of experience or who have performed numerous positions, highlight the positions that are most relevant to the career you are interested in pursing. In addition, position titles should reflect your MOS/job title not military rank *(utilize ONET Online for civilian translations)
Key Transferrable Skills
Below are a few examples of key transferrable skills to highlight in your resume. This is only a small representation of the skills gained in the military. To identify transferrable skills, visit a resource like ONET Online.
- Project Management
- Strategic Planning
- Public Communications
- Emergency Response
- Global Affairs
- Operations/Risk Management
- Logistics/Supply Chain
- Team Building
- Quality Assurance/Control
- Inventory Management
Important Tips when Writing a Cover Letter
Keep cover letters brief and interesting—limit to one page.
- Whenever possible, address your cover letter to a named individual
- Identify the position you are applying to and mention how you discovered the vacancy (i.e. as advertised on the company’s website)
- Focus on tailoring your qualifications to the job requirements
- Never include any negative information
- Request follow-up feedback; keep it positive
- Avoid all types of grammatical mistakes by having a few trusted business professionals read it over
Paragraph 1: Address the position you are applying
for, how you discovered the vacancy
Paragraph 2: Reference your attached resume, years of experience, and type of background you offer
Paragraph 3: Address the key skills you can bring to the position – focus on fitting these to the job requirements
Paragraph 4: Provide your contact information and express interest in a meeting