Transitioning to the civilian workforce after military service can present some challenges. Luckily, Veterans have unique skill sets and experiences that many employers consider ideal candidate qualities. The VA Employment Resources Web site offers a wealth of tools to help smooth that transition. Making a few tweaks to your resume can help you stand out from the competition and land a job in the civilian workforce. Here are Four Resume Tips for Veterans to help the transition. 

  1. Reword military jargon.

Creating a resume that appeals to a lay person means speaking their language. That doesn’t mean you have to leave out your valuable experience – you just need to rephrase it so that any civilian could pick it up and know what you’re talking about. For example, if you’re a 68W, combat medic or healthcare specialist, you’ll want to use terms common to emergency medical technician (EMT) and paramedic skills? has a Military Skills Translator that can help. 

  1. Tailor your cover letter and resume to fit the position.

Your resume is your first impression. A generic resume may signal to a potential employer that you aren’t willing to take the extra effort to land the job. Start off on the right foot – tailor your resume to speak to the specific position and company. If you’re applying for a physician position, take the time to list out all your residency experience. Review your list to identify specific projects you worked on and achievements you made. 

  1. Show; don’t tell why you’re the best candidate for the job.

It’s not enough to list out your accomplishments and honors. Employers want to see the process of how you got there so they can understand how you think. You can start with the end result, but to make your resume stand out, concisely outline the steps you took to get there. 

  1. Proofread. Proofread. Proofread.

If your resume is riddled with typos – or even just one glaring typo – all your hard work will be wasted. Review your resume and then have someone you trust take a second look. Mistakes happen, but do all you can to safeguard against errors. 

These tips will help you take a critical look at your resume and make the necessary changes before applying to a job in the civilian workforce. VHA is dedicated to providing gainful employment to military Veterans and personnel. Good thing about applying to a job with VHA is that we understand the language, and the need. Join our team by viewing our available positions. And if you need it, the VA Careers website offers resources designed to help all applicants navigate the job search and hiring process on our Application Process page.

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Published on May. 7, 2016

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