by David Wold

Your military experience is a great asset!  You gained many  valuable transferable skills and you want to let potential employers know about them — things like being able to quickly learn new skills and concepts, experience with advanced technology, teamwork, leadership, and the ability to work well under pressure. And let’s not forget any specific transferable occupational skills you gained in the military, whether as an 88M (Motor Transport Operator – or should we say Commercial Driver) or as a Navy Hospital Corpsman (Medical Specialist). 


To let these shine through, you have to effectively communicate them to prospective employers. It’s important to put military phrases that are well-known in the service into more general terms that civilian employers can understand.


Harry Ostendorf, a Veterans Representative at the Burnsville WorkForce, worked with a First Sergeant to put together a resume that highlighted his skills in a way that a hiring manager would understand.  An example of an objective for the sergeant’s resume might read:  “A highly organized, take-charge professional with more than twenty years of law enforcement and security experience.  Strong problem-solving and decision-making skills, with the ability to develop and implement effective action plans.”


And instead of the term “First Sergeant” another title – such as “Senior Supervisor” – accurately conveys the position and responsibilities held.


Here is an example of what it might look like on a resume:

Example of a Resume

This is the kind of description a civilian hiring manager would be able to read and immediately see the benefit of hiring you – a candidate with a wealth of transferable skills!


So whether you were an 88M or a Corpsman or a First Sergeant, be sure your resume effectively communicates to a civilian employer what it is you did in the military and what value that provides for their company.  It is a good idea to have a couple of non-military friends or relatives look over your resume to see if they understand it.


If you have any questions about writing a successful military-to-civilian resume, please contact your nearest Veterans Employment Representative, located at WorkForce Centers around Minnesota.


David Wold is a Veterans Employment Representative at the Brooklyn Park WorkForce Center.