Veterans Tips for Landing a Civilian Job

You heeded the call to serve your country, and now that you are coming home you may be a little confused as of how to integrate your military achievements into a civilian job position.


You are not alone. Hundreds of thousands of military men and women are discharged each year after their successful stint in the Army, Navy, Airforce and Marines.

The move home and getting used to civilian life is hard enough. We would like to give you some tips so that the job hunt in the civilian world is not one of the things you must now struggle with.

Your Network

We like to suggest that all our heroes begin within their network when looking for a job. You have been almost assured job security outside of the armed forces, but jobs for most veterans are within the federal government upon release from active duty, due to job preference to those that have served. So, begin there.

Talk to your commanding officers before your discharge date to start the paperwork early. Browse the federal government websites and sign up to have your military, and your military to civilian resume uploaded.

Yes, you will need to convert your resume to civilian standards. Your military jargon will be confusing to those not associated with that kind of language. If you are not sure your resume is up to standards you can always find some help here

Unlike the military, where you executed jobs the way you were told to do them, you have choices in the civilian workplace when it comes to your objectives. You are given the opportunity to show what choices you will make when given a task. Your input in decision making is welcomed.

Network with not only your commanding officer but attend job fairs to see what your passion may be now that you have been trained in a specific area.

Your Resume

Although it is suggested that you only list skills that are pertinent to the job you are applying for, your military background can cover a multitude of skills that you may be overlooking.

Be sure to tailor your resume to showcase your leadership skills, loyalty to the jobs you were given and your adjustment to new environments. If you’re not sure you can do it by yourself, delegate this work to professionals –

If you were in leadership positions that were responsible for high-tech machinery and funding, these are skills that are highly favored in civilian businesses. The numbers matter.

It is suggested that you find a professional resume writer who is knowledgeable in transferring your military experience into civilian skill sets. There are many templates that you can use online, but a one-on-one sit down with a professional will produce the best results.

You will need to:

  • Make an outline of all your duties while in the military – do this chronologically.
  • Emphasize your skills/ training/ and education.
  • Be patient, and understand that civilian’s ways of doing things are more laid back than when you were in the service. This may take some getting used to.
  • You need a cover letter developed to accompany your resume. With the internet accepting so many applications, cover letters are not used as much as before, but you need one to introduce yourself and your uniqueness to a prospective employer. Military service men and women are normally given special privilege, use it. Do not make your cover letter a repeat of your resume.
  • Gather as many letters of recommendation that you can before you leave the armed forces. List names and ranks of those that have given you medals for your achievements. Ask their permission before putting them on your resume.
  • Make up your mind whether you will want to relocate and put it on your resume before sending it out. Some employers will want to know this before an interview is given.

The resume process is a daunting one, but if you allow a professional to help you with this transition, it does not have to be. Change your career quickly with an outstanding career change resume that you may get here

Your Online Presence  

Many jobs that you will apply to will be online only submissions. Companies are using what they call ATS (application tracking software). What this does is look for specific keywords in your resume when you send it across the Web. To get the ATS software to accept your resume, get away from cliché’s and use words associated with the job posting. Don’t use the usual words like:

  1. Dependable
  2. Hardworking
  3. Trustworthy
  4. Results oriented

Sure, these are good qualities but what did with those qualities is what will get you noticed. What did you do to develop, change, make happen, save time and money?

Words that will be picked up by the ATS are action verbs like:

  1. Designed
  2. Created
  3. Calculated
  4. Audited

You can find lists of action verbs all over the web.

After scanning your resume for specifics that are in the job posting, your resume will head to the Human Resources department if it is approved.

Today’s Human Resource managers have at their fingertips search engines that will go looking for your name through Google, Facebook, and several other media outlets.

During your time in the military you were trained to keep a clean online appearance, and it is no different in civilian life when trying to land a job. If you have spent some time out of the military and have partied it up and soiled your online presence in any way, before sending out your resume. Go clean it up.

Companies are very concerned with their appearance, especially when their reputation can be destroyed with the click of a button. Today appearance is everything.

Job Search Sites and You

There are many job sites out there, but we will mention a few that are used most often that we think you should join. Upload your resume to these sites, and remember, do not include your full mailing address.

Follow the directions of each site and do not become a full-fledged member until you can afford the extras that these sites offer.

  • – The world’s largest job search site, LinkedIn is sort of like Facebook meets the work world. You can develop your resume here, contact those in your network, and upload your email contacts to have more leverage in contacting those that may have jobs available. There are too many aspects to this service to name but we like it and think you will too.
  • – You will like the straightforward GET FOUND way of doing things on They are blog-centered and have tons of information on developing your resume, cover letter, and experiences from their users are highlighted.
  • – Another great site to sign up for is Go here to browse jobs, explore your new career and get resources on how to transition into the civilian lifestyle.

If you haven’t heard it enough soldier, welcome home. Don’t worry too much about the bleak outlook in the economy. With hard work and determination, you will find the career of your dreams.  Just don’t give up. You didn’t when you were serving your country, don’t do it now. Thank you, and good luck.

Author: Veronica Wright

Hi, I'm Veronica from Resumes Centre. I'm here to share all my struggles and experience about daily routine and give you as much career tips as possible.