Gainful employment is an important part of anyone’s life. Transitioning from a military career to a civilian career can be daunting and challenging for many. Veterans have a plethora of skill sets and experiences to mention on their resumes and in their interviews. Here are three things every Veteran should include on their resume and boast about in their interviews.

178th Wing leadership hosted a forum to communicate their goals with first-term Airmen and answer questions. (Photo by Elisabeth A Gelhar)

The 178th Operations Group leadership hosted a forum to communicate their goals with first-term Airmen and answer questions. (Photo by Elisabeth A Gelhar)

Leadership: This is the trait we emphasize often with Veterans. Most Veterans leave the military having some form of leadership experience. Some Veterans led entire commands, while others were responsible for a single human being. Either way, that experience is valuable for the work place. Combine leadership experience with initiative and decision making and you have a character any employer would be proud to hire. Listing leadership on a resume is pretty straight forward.

Follower: The other side of that coin is how good of a follower we are. We spend our entire military service following and obeying orders. Not every employer is looking to hire a manager, supervisor or person specifically meant to lead. Plus, every other Veteran that is interviewing for that job will be bragging about their leadership traits. You can be the person that stands out by explaining how you followed orders and took initiative based on the commander’s intent. Even if you’re applying for a leadership position, you’ll presumably answer to someone above you and assuring them you can follow instructions will only help.

Expeditionary Medical Facility training conducted for Naval Hospital Bremerton (Photo by Douglas Stutz)

Expeditionary medical facility training conducted for Naval Hospital Bremerton in Bremerton, Washington (Photo by Douglas Stutz)

Teamwork: A successful unit requires teamwork. That includes good leadership, obedient and effective followers and strong collaboration among peers. Teamwork and company culture are important for many organizations. List an example of where you were a part of a strong team and describe that experience in the interview.

The sum of these parts make the character and reliable worker that employers are looking for. No matter the position or industry you are looking to get into, these three points can help strengthen your candidacy. For more employment resources provided by VA and the Department of Labor, visit and for details on careers with VA, visit

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Published on Jan. 31, 2018

Estimated reading time is 2.1 min.

Views to date: 506


  1. Matt Rabe February 13, 2018 at 9:14 am

    Good recommendations: Leadership. Followership. Team work. It is also critical to demonstrate results. Explain how what you did made a difference. Finally, turn military terms into corporate terms. “Squad Leader” to “Team Lead.” “Officer in Charge” to “Manager.” Don’t expect the hiring official to know military jargon.

  2. richard keirs February 9, 2018 at 9:21 pm

    All good info, however, if the aka boss is intimidated with your experience and is also doing the interview all this military experience may be your down fall, I know 1st hand, had an interview a few years back and the boss was not really too fond interviewing someone that had almost as much experience as the boss was alive.

  3. Frank Parra February 9, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    Lots of information. Thank you for all you do. However, it is difficult to obtain employment when everything has been outsourced & privatized. Would much appreciate direct hire information in order to obtain gainful employment.

  4. Hellene Brinson February 7, 2018 at 3:41 pm

    Thanks for the information, it was most interesting and knowledgeable.

  5. MSG John Knight (Ret) February 7, 2018 at 11:00 am

    Sir, good info to know. Any recommended online examples of resumes that show these traits?

  6. t kirschbaum February 2, 2018 at 5:36 pm

    But don’t mention how old you are. You’re sure to get over looked when it comes to getting an Interview offer!

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