How to put military experience on a resume

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
How to put military experience on a resume

Table of Contents

So, you just got out of the military. You paid for your service to your country and made it proud. But now you’re moving to the next part of your life. As you’re returning to civilian life, you’re sure to wonder how you’ll get a job with only your military experience. But believe it or not, it does count if you know how to use it. 

If you’re going through active duty retirement, a strong resume can help translate your military experience to get a job. If you’re wondering how then you’ll find this blog quite useful. We’ll explore how to put military experience on a resume. We’ll explore the key areas where your military experience can count. 

In addition, we’ll also point out the mistakes to avoid while going with military to civilian resumes. So, without further ado, let’s initiate the training drill for crafting the perfect resume. 

5 Key Areas to Discuss Military Experience on Resume

You can use your military experience in the following areas:

1. In Your Resume Summary

A resume summary is among the first sections you include in a resume. It offers a complete overview of your relevant skills, qualifications, and experience. Through it, the employer learns why you’ll prove a good fit. 

Your military experience could prove useful for explaining to your employer why you’re the perfect candidate for the job opening. Your should place your resume summary at the top. Furthermore, keep it brief, not more than 3-5 sentences. Here’s what information you should include in your resume:

Here are veteran resume summary examples to give you a better idea of how to craft one on your own:

Senior Marine Officer with 10+ years in leading and training various squads. Extensive knowledge in managing base security and identifying flaws and concerns in security. I seek a challenging role where my leadership skills and experience can contribute to organizational goal achievement and innovation.

2. In Your Work Experience

Another area where your experience will fit perfectly is the work experience section. This section explores what you experienced in the military and your achievements and responsibilities at the front line of duty. 

As you transition from a military to a civilian resume, you must treat your military experience like any other work experience. You’ll have to list your duties chronologically, with the dates of service and your position or ranking. 

Here’s another pro tip: use numbers to quantify your work experience. Numbers can make a strong impression on the hiring manager and provide them with a better idea of your roles and responsibilities while you are in service. 

Let’s look at an example to give you a better idea of how to put military experience in your resume work experience:

United States Marine Corps, Captain


Directed and led a 13+ member team and had a 98% completion rate in assigned missions

Conducted over 60 training sessions with a strong focus on crisis management and team collaboration to enhance team performance and skills.

Enforced and maintained a safe working environment through strict safety standards to ensure 0 workplace accidents.

3. In Your Educational Background

Employers not only look for skilled employees, but education can also play a crucial role in hiring. If you’ve graduated from a military academy, don’t miss out on mentioning it in the education section. 

Just like work experience, treat your military education the same way as education is taken from public or private educational institutions. Ensure to mention the US institution, the year you graduated, your degree, and the achievements you received during your graduation period. 

Let’s go over an example:

United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

Graduated: May, 2013

3.9 GPA

Awarded the Admiral Excellence Award for Outstanding Academic Excellence.

4. In your Awards and Achievement

In addition to your work experience and education, you can highlight your excellent military performance through the awards you collected over the years. These awards can showcase your skills as a candidate and help support the significant skills you bring to the employer. 

Employers can understand your dedication, teamwork, integrity, and strong work ethic. If you have space left in your one-page resume, then be sure to create a separate section on “Military Awards” and list them. Otherwise, just mention them as bullet points in your work experience. 

5. In the Skills Section

While being on the front line, you’ve experienced and learned quite a lot. You’re wrong if you think it’s irrelevant to your job description. During your time in the military, you learned several soft skills that can translate to transferable skills for your next job.

While using your military experience in your work experience and summary, identify the military hard and soft skills you learned in the resume skill section. Here’s an example of a security force resume:

Avoid These Military to Civilian Resume Mistakes

While there are many ways to translate your military experience into a civilian resume, there are a few things you need to avoid. They can offset your chances of being called in for an interview. Here are some common mistakes you should never make while working on your resume:

1. Using Acronyms and Jargon

As military personnel, you must think and act quickly on the field. And for that, you use your lingo for rapid communication with your squadron. But, when it comes to communicating with civilians. Understand that not everyone, including your employer, is well-versed with military acronyms and jargon. 

Using it in your resume could make it difficult to understand. So, use clear-cut and simple language to communicate your idea to your employer rather than going for complicated acronyms and sophisticated jargon. 

2. Providing Graphic Details About Experience

Being on the field, you’ve likely seen a lot during combat. While you can include your combat experience, especially if you’re applying for a security force opening, you must avoid graphic details. Keeping those details in your resume could make you intimidating to the hiring manager. So rather than discussing every detail, keep it clean. 

A good general rule of what to discuss is to focus on your job description. And using it to discuss only the transferable skills from the experience while omitting the rest. Here’s how you can talk about combat experience in the security force resume:

3. Not Including Keywords in Your Resume

Chances are your resume will go through an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). The ATS filters out the right resumes to show the employer the hundreds they receive daily. The ATS works by scanning your complete resume and picking the resume based on the right keyword usage.

So, to ensure yours passes the ATS without any hassle, you need to use the right keywords in your resume. The best way to know what keywords to use is through the job description and researching the company. After finding the appropriate keywords, include them in different areas of your resume, for instance, your resume summary, work experience, and skills. 

4. Not Proofreading Your Resume

After completing your resume, don’t just submit it immediately. Chances are your resume has some minor errors that still need fixing. So, rather than sharing it immediately, go through it again to ensure it’s error-free. Or better, have it made and proofread by professional resume writing services. 

If you can’t find any errors, consider asking a friend to review it for you, or you can also use resources like Grammarly or Word to fix any grammatical and spelling errors.

Some Military Skills to Include in your Resume

While in the military, you learn several hard and soft skills that are beneficial for the job. You should study your company and job description first to know which skills would improve your chances. However, there are a few skills that most employers value from a potential employee. Let’s go over a few:

1. Flexibility

An employer needs an employee that’s adaptable to any situation. Sometimes, they might need them to work with limited resources, while others may want their employee to work according to new chances. But you know this far too well while being in the military. 

You can work in any environment as you’ve dealt with fast changes and have worked with limited resources. This skill is what employers value the most. An employee who quickly adapts and works under any condition without worry. 

2. Teamwork

The military is a team effort. With your brothers in arms, you’ve done our country a great service. But while doing it, you’ve learned the value of teamwork and how it boosts performance. 

Employers consider a team player as a highly sought-after skill. They want their employees to collaborate and work together to improve the business performance. So, it’s a great skill you can include in your resume skill section. 

3. Problem-Solving

Having to deal with problems is pretty common in any place of work. Including the military, but how quickly you take care of it is a key skill employers want from their employees. Rather than relying on others to fix any issue, they want their employees to think of quick solutions to turn the problem into a strength. 

As you’ve got a background of working under stressful situations and thinking of different ways to solve problems, this skill will prove beneficial during employment.

Final Thoughts!

In conclusion, your year in the military can bring a lot of experience while searching for a job. You can use your military experience in different areas, including your resume summary, work experience, educational background, awards, and skills. Using the abovementioned point, you can learn how to put military experience on your resume. You can also look at our military-to-civilian resume examples if you want to learn. 

Quick Questions

In the military, your employer is the branch you serve. For example, if you were part of the US Army, the US Army department would be your former employer. Each army department falls under a specific department, so do your research.

It includes all the skills, training, and expertise you gained in the military. This also includes your technical skills, awards, or commemoration. Use your military skills and experience in the military to a civilian resume.

Yes, military service is highly valued by employers. Employers know that former military personnel bring many key skills to the table. They are loyal, dedicated team workers and have a strong work ethic, making them a great addition to the team. 

Yes, your military experience can count for specific job roles. However, you need to shape it into your resume. Research the position you’re applying for and the company offering it. Use the information and reflect on whether your military experience matches the job role in any way. Use it in different areas, including your work experience, resume summary, skills, and education. However, be sure to avoid the mistake of using sophisticated military jargon and graphic details in your resume. 

Yes, you should disclose your military service in your resume. It’s an essential part of your work background that employers should know. Disclosing your military service can help employers understand the skills and experience you bring to the company. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get A Resume that Access All HR Standards.