AIU Blog

The AIU blog shares ideas, information and tips aimed at helping you get ahead personally and professionally, with topics ranging from online learning success to career development.


Civilianize Your Resume

Civilianize Your Resume

A career in the military teaches you a wealth of skills. As a service member, you learn to overcome physical challenges and mental stress during training and while fulfilling missions. You may be a model soldier who has mastered every task you have faced, but suddenly your skills may seem less valuable because you’re in the civilian world, and different rules are in place. Now your mission is to create a resume that could help you land an interview you want. You can update your resume by placing your skills into a civilian context, considering extra education and asking for help when you need it.

Translate into Civilian Language

A critical task of making your resume civilian-friendly is putting your achievements into civilian language. Potential employers may not be interested in some of your purely military functions, but they do want to know that you learned how to work as a team member in basic combat training. Likewise they may not care that you can read a compass, but they will likely be impressed by the leadership qualities and problem-solving skills you displayed when you led fellow soldiers on missions. Keep thinking about what you have accomplished and how you can make it relevant to a potential employer.

Get More Education

In some ways, a civilian career is similar to a military career. In general, you start out near the bottom of the pecking order and try to advance as you become more experienced and better trained. In the military, you might achieve a higher rank and more choices in your assignments. In a company, you might hope for a promotion and an opportunity for leadership opportunities. As you transition from the armed services to the civilian world, you may not have the years of experience to match your competition. Pursuing further education could help that potential weakness. A college degree can you learn skills, and an additional credential If you have other obligations and committing all of your time to a degree program is not an option, an online education may be the answer. You may already be working a full-time job, so an online program could allow you to stick to your work and family schedule.

Use Your Resources

Remember to use the resources available to you as you work to civilianize your resume. The armed forces have online resources to help you leverage your military expertise for civilian career opportunities. If you enroll in a degree program, you also can receive career services support from the school. The Career Services department at AIU offers one-on-one guidance on career directions, and writing effective cover letters and resumes. AIU also has Admissions Advisors who can help you learn more about our degree programs.

Your intensive military training has guided you throughout your military career. Now, it’s time to apply those skills as a civilian. Don’t feel intimidated or even resentful of people who have spent their whole lives in the civilian world and already have years of experience in the profession you’re seeking to enter. Instead, emphasize converting your transferable skills into civilian language so hiring managers can understand you’re the expertise you bring to the table.

This article is presented by AIU. Contact us today if you’re interested in an opportunity to develop knowledge and relevant skills with an industry-current degree program from AIU.

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