Making Your Resume and Cover Letter Relevant to Civilian Employers

You will need to translate your military experiences and skills to civilian terms on your resume. This will help you to be competitive for jobs. Your military experience has enabled you to develop skills that are marketable in the civilian workplace. Your career coach can also help you adjust your resume.

A few steps to get started:

  • Check out the VA’s Employment Toolkit for information about translating your experience, upcoming veteran career fairs and more.
  • MyNextMove, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, is a tool to help you translate your military assignments into civilian occupations.
  • Obtain your Verification of Military Experience and Training Document from the Department of Defense Transition Assistance Program. This document lists your military job experience and training history, recommended college credit information and civilian equivalent job titles

“Civilianize” your resume

  • Review the types of jobs that interest you and become familiar with the language employers use to describe the responsibilities and skills for those jobs. You will find more information about this in the Career Design Lab Course on your Courseworks/Canvas platform, on the Resume and Cover Letter pages.
  • Identify your transferable skills, compare them to what employers are looking for and develop your bullet points on your resume. You can match your military skills and experience to civilian occupations using the Military-to-Civilian Occupation Translator from CareerOneStop.
  • Remove “military lingo” from descriptions of experiences and replace with civilian terms.

Tailor your resume and cover letters to specific opportunities

  • There are some tips to guide you in this process on the Resume and Cover Letter pages of your Courseworks/Canvas platform. These guides will help you to make your materials relevant to each job you apply to.