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Résumés for Military Veterans

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Why a veteran’s resource?

Military Service personnel make up less than 1% of the American population (Hurt, Ryan, and Straley, 2010); as a result, Military veterans have unique educational, work, and networking experiences that can vary widely from those of their civilian peers. Because each branch of the military uses its own terminology, acronyms, and abbreviations, the experiences of veterans can also be difficult for civilian employers to interpret on job applications and résumés. This resource provides strategies for veterans to use while transitioning into the civilian work force.

Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

Though as a veteran you will face unique challenges while translating military jargon, experiences, ranks, skills, and job responsibilities for a civilian audience, much of the general resources for résumés and cover letters will apply to veterans. You will want to prepare material to cover the same basic sections of a résumé as a civilian candidate: contact information, objective, work experience, education, summary of skills, references, professional affiliations, volunteer and other experiences.

As for anyone seeking a job, you will need to consider the rhetorical situation — the purpose, audience, and context — for each résumé and cover letter. These documents should be constantly growing, and shifting, as you will need to personalize a résumé and cover letter for every application you write. If you only send a generic résumé, your documents are less likely to catch the attention of hiring managers and employers. Showing that you have not only taken the time to research the company, the requirements of the position, and the skills needed, but that you can also translate your experiences to make an argument for how you meet those needs, is far more impressive.

Follow the links in the left navigation bar for guidance on adapting terminology and experience for a civilian audience as well as answers to common questions.