Military Resume Example & Writing Guide

A military resume helps you highlight valuable skills and experiences obtained during your time in the army to get a job in the civilian sector.
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Transitioning from military to civilian life and employment can be a complex endeavor. There are some unique challenges to overcome, especially if you have no experience with civilian employers. As you embark on that path, a good first step is to craft a strong military resume.

This article will teach you how to craft this valuable document. You’ll learn how to leverage your experience in the army to impress recruiters and make a smooth transition into a different environment. Without further ado, let’s jump right in!

Key Takeaways

  • One of the best formats for your military resume is the chronological resume format, with the functional and combination formats being useful in certain cases.

  • The professional experience section is generally the most important in a resume and should be its main focus.

  • Optional sections can add a lot of value to your resume as long as they are relevant to the job that you’re applying for.

  • A cover letter can be a great extension of a resume, but it should be written to include new information and not repeat what’s already said in a resume.

Military Personnel Jobs

online networking

Military personnel can have a vast array of jobs.

The first thing that everyone thinks of regarding the military is combat roles, which include positions like infantry, special forces, artillery, and more.

However, there’s a great range of careers that extend beyond these duties. The military has healthcare professionals in the form of doctors, nurses, combat medics, veterinary specialists, and more.

Then, there are engineering and technical roles, such as civil engineers, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, IT specialists, etc.

On top of that, there are many other careers in fields like administration, logistics, aviation, cybersecurity, education, public affairs, and more.

What Is the Best Format to Use for a Military Resume

Popular resume formats

The best format to use for a military resume is the chronological resume format. It neatly lists your past assignments and achievements in reverse-chronological order, giving recruiters an excellent insight into your professional history.

Recruiters are used to this setup, as it’s the most common and makes it easy for them to quickly and effortlessly find what they are looking for. A bonus perk is that this format is also compatible with applicant tracking software (ATS).

There are two other popular formats to consider, which are:

Common Resume Formats

  1. Functional resume format, which puts focus on your skills if you don’t have a lot of experience in the field that you’re applying in

  2. Combination (hybrid) resume format, which combines the previous two formats to highlight skills backed up with relevant achievements. That makes it good for experienced veterans or those with employment gaps.

Military Resume Layout

In addition to a strong format, you also need a compelling resume layout to make your document visually engaging. Here are the guidelines to help you achieve that:

Resume Layout Guidelines

  • Your military resume should be one page long. HR professionals spend 7 seconds on average skimming through resumes. That’s why you want to keep it short and to the point.

  • Choose a resume-friendly font that is clean and easy to read. Notable examples include Arial, Calibri, and Times New Roman.

  • Set the font size between 10 and 12 pt, with section headings being 2–4 pt larger.

  • Go with margins of at least 1 inch on all sides and 1.0 or 1.15 line spacing.

Military Resume Sections

There are five must-have sections that you need to include in your military resume, and they are:

Mandatory Resume Sections

  1. Contact information

  2. Resume objective/summary

  3. Work experience

  4. Education

  5. Skills

There are also many optional sections that you can include to improve your odds of getting an interview. The key is only to add them after all the mandatory sections and make sure that they convey information that is relevant to the job that you’re applying for.

Optional sections to consider include:

Optional Resume Sections

  • Certifications

  • Languages

  • Volunteer experience

  • Security clearance

Finally, if all this feels overwhelming and you’re not sure where to start, you’re free to use our resume builder. We created a robust software solution to help anyone craft a submission-ready resume in minutes.

The process is simple: choose a military resume template that suits your needs, adjust its layout with a click of a button, input your details in blank fields, and download a finished product!

Military Resume Template

Here’s one of the many military resume templates that you can find in our gallery:

Military Resume Template

Name and Surname

Phone number: 000-000-0000 | Email: | Location: City, State

[Adjective] [your job title] with [years of experience, if applicable] in [your area of expertise, if applicable] looking for a [position] job at [company name]. Eager to apply [relevant skills] gained through [work/volunteer/other experience] to help [company name] [mention what you can do for the company].

Work Experience

Most Recent/Current Job Title Company City, State

[Start date] — [End date]

  • For recent jobs, use 5-6 bullet points to list your top achievements and responsibilities

  • Use action verbs to make your responsibilities and achievements stand out

  • Add numbers to quantify your achievements

Previous Job Title Company City, State

[Start date] — [End date]

  • For recent jobs, use 5-6 bullet points to list your top achievements and responsibilities

  • Use action verbs to make your responsibilities and achievements stand out

  • Add numbers to quantify your achievements

Oldest Job Title Company City, State

[Start date] — [End date]

  • For older jobs, use 2-3 bullet points to list your top achievements and responsibilities

  • Use action verbs to make your responsibilities and achievements stand out

  • Add numbers to quantify your achievements


[Degree] in [Major]

[University/college name]

[Start date] - [Graduation date]


Soft Skills

  • Skill #1

  • Skill #2

  • Skill #3

  • Skill #4

  • Skill #5

Hard Skills

  • Skill #1

  • Skill #2

  • Skill #3

  • Skill #4

  • Skill #5

Additional Sections

  • Add any relevant additional sections (languages, licenses, publications, hobbies, etc.)

How to Add Contact Information to Your Military Resume

Your contact information goes in the header of your military resume. Here are the details to include:

Mandatory Contact Information

  • Your name.

  • Professional title. This should be precise and match the requirements from the job ad.

  • Phone number.

  • Email address. You need an address with a professional format, something along the lines of “”

  • Location. This is optional, and if you include it, you should only add your city and state for privacy reasons.

Additional optional information includes links to relevant personal websites, portfolios, social platform profiles, etc. Most candidates typically include at least their LinkedIn profile.

Let’s see what that looks like in practice:

Contact Information Section Example

Carlos Thornton Customer Support Specialist + 484 691 1369 Fort Washington, PA

How to Write a Military Resume Objective/Summary

You should write your military resume objective or summary to be short and catchy. We’ve established that recruiters sometimes spend just a few seconds deciding whether to keep reading or check out the next resume.

Think of this introductory paragraph as a brief description of your military resume. You want to highlight your key strengths in 2–4 sentences.

An objective points out skills and motivation and is best used if you lack experience in the role that you’re applying for. On the flip side, a summary should mention a couple of your most prominent achievements.

Military Resume Objective

Let’s start with a strong example of a military resume objective that showcases clear career goals and highlights notable skills:

Good Example

Disciplined military veteran with 10 years of experience in fast-paced environments looking for a customer service position at [Company Name] on the road to developing a civilian career. Proven communication and conflict-resolution skills. Able to adapt quickly to complex newfound situations while managing multiple individuals or teams.

For comparison, here’s a poorly written resume objective:

Bad Example

Multi-skilled military veteran looking to apply their skills in the customer service industry.

Military Resume Summary

Here’s a good example of a military resume summary that properly displays a candidate’s strongest achievements:

Good Example

Dedicated combat medic with more than 7 years of experience serving in high-pressure environments looking for a position as a paramedic at [Hospital Name]. Notable accomplishments include performing more than 250 emergency medical evacuations with a 99% success rate.

However, if you don’t include any substantial information about your past work, you’ll end up with a bad resume summary like this one:

Bad Example

Former combat medic looking for a job in the civilian healthcare sector.

Military Resume Professional Experience

A professional experience section is essential to a military resume. Let’s find out how you can make it outstanding.

General Tips

As a general rule, your work experience section should list the following details for each previous job that you include:

Professional Experience Mandatory Details

  • Your role

  • Organization or army branch

  • Dates of service

  • Achievements and results

If you had multiple different roles within the army that are relevant to the civilian job that you’re applying for, you should list them in reverse-chronological order.

To keep things concise and easy to read, you should use bullet points for the list of accomplishments and results obtained. Having anywhere from 3 to 5 bullet points for each previous role is the optimal number.

Here are a few tips on how to make the bullet point list impeccable:

Accomplishment List Tips

  • Go for quality over quantity, and focus on exceptional achievements over everyday tasks.

  • Use numbers to quantify your results and add measurable value to them.

  • Include action verbs and power words to make the section memorable.

Military Member with No Experience in the Field

Writing a military resume with no experience in the field that you’re applying to can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. The trick is to leverage past activities and accomplishments that showcase relevant skills and knowledge.

Here’s an example where a former military member applying for the role of a customer service representative leverages their past work as a communication specialist:

Military Member with No Experience in the Field Example

Work Experience Communication Specialist United States Military Various Locations

February 2017–July 2023

  • Led a team of 15 in a collaborative environment, maintaining high levels of morale and cohesion.

  • Conceptualized communication protocols and implemented stress management techniques to improve the team’s efficiency by 31% and reduce errors in communication by 63%.

  • Spearheaded a cross-functional internal communication initiative to improve efficiency and reduce response times between different teams by 21%.

Experienced Military Veteran

If your military experience directly translates to civilian roles, you can take full advantage of it by listing relevant achievements in your resume. The trick is to “demilitarize” your accomplishments. That means avoiding the military jargon and highlighting how your actions would work in the civilian world.

Here’s an example of a former Marine Corps security specialist applying for the role of personnel security manager:

Experienced Military Veteran Example

Work Experience Security Specialist U.S. Marine Corps Various Locations

March 2017–August 2023

  • Trained a diverse team of 20 in everything from general combat readiness to security protocols and emergency response tactics.

  • Performed risk assessments and created robust security plans to reduce the instances of security breaches by up to 59%.

  • Received the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for outstanding achievements and dedication to the highest levels of security and protection.

Military Resume Education Section

Your education section should be brief and to the point. It’s often enough to list your highest degree along with the institution that issued it and your years of attendance. Here’s what that looks like in practice:

Military Resume Education Section Example


Bachelor’s Degree in Communications Boston University, Boston, MA 2018–2022

Optionally, you can include a bullet list with valuable achievements such as relevant coursework, a high GPA, extracurricular activities, personal projects, and more.

Military Resume Skills

At first glance, a military resume skill section is a simple one. All you need to do is create a list of military skills and add it to your resume.

However, there are a few tricks that will help you transform this section from ordinary to exceptional, and these tricks are:

Military Resume Skills Tips

  • Keep it relevant to the role. Only list those skills that the recruiter wants to see. To find out which those are, research the company and the job ad.

  • Include a variety of hard skills and soft skills. Both of them are important for any job that you apply for. However, due to their differences, you should list hard and soft skills separately.

  • Mention key skills throughout the resume. Link them to relevant achievements in the work experience sections and summary to make your skills stand out and be more than just unsubstantiated claims.

Military Personnel Hard Skills

Hard skills are trained and learned and specific to military personnel. Which ones you should list on your military resume depends on the role that you’re going for.

Notable examples include:

Military Personnel Hard Skills Example

  • Weapons handling

  • Vehicle maintenance

  • Cybersecurity

  • Explosive ordnance disposal (EOD)

  • Marine navigation

  • Physical fitness

  • Combatives

Military Personnel Soft Skills

Soft skills are transferable between professions and essential in most professions. Recruiters always look for candidates with valuable soft skills, such as:

Military Personnel Soft Skills

Military Resume: Other Sections

unique skills for resume

Other sections in a military resume are optional but can further demonstrate your prowess and experience.


The military offers plenty of certifications that can be highly valuable in the private or civilian sector. These certifications demonstrate specialized abilities and knowledge in certain areas, vastly improving your employability. Depending on the job that you’re applying for, they can even be a must-have on a military resume.


Proficiency in languages other than English can be crucial for some roles, especially if your job includes communicating with diverse teams and clientele. Language skills are increasingly sought-after in the global business market. When adding them to your resume, you should start with the languages you’re most proficient in and go down from there.

Volunteer Experience

Volunteer experience demonstrates leadership, management, and organizational skills. It’s also a sign of motivation, dedication, and a commitment to helping the community. Moreover, it’s a great section to leverage if you have little to no professional experience.

Security Clearance

Security clearances, such as Top Secret (TS) and Sensitive Compartmented Information Clearance (SCI), are difficult and costly to obtain, which makes them valuable assets to job-seekers. Employers would rather hire someone who already has the required clearance, which is why you should highlight them on your resume.

Do I Need a Cover Letter as a Military Member?

A cover letter is an optional document, but it can substantially improve your chances of making a strong first impression. Since not everyone goes the extra mile to submit a cover letter with their military resume, that act singles you out among the competition.

matching cover letter and resume template

Furthermore, a cover letter is an entirely new document where you can go in-depth about more of your skills and accomplishments that are relevant to the job that you’re applying for. Just remember not to repeat the details stated in your resume but to write a cover letter as a supplementary document.

3 Professional Strategies for Creating a Military Resume

Here are a few professional strategies that will elevate your military resume above most others:

Military Resume Tips

  1. Simplify the terminology. Military professionals are used to intricate and effective abbreviations and acronyms in their everyday communication. However, civilian recruiters might not be familiar with that language, which is why you want to use common terms and phrases.

  2. Be cautious when adding combat experience. If you’re going for a position in security or law enforcement, then active combat expertise can vastly improve your chances of getting the job. However, recruiters and employers from other fields can connect combat experience with mental disorders, so it’s best you omit them.

  3. Use keywords to grab the attention of recruiters and pass the ATS scan. Typically, your skills and past job titles act as keywords that recruiters look for. Moreover, applicant tracking software is usually set up to look for them when scanning.

After combining everything we've learned so far, this is how your military resume should look.

Closing Thoughts

Military careers range from administration and communication-centric to healthcare, construction, science, and research-based. As a former military member, you’re more than likely equipped with skills and experience to perform in a myriad of civilian roles.

The first step is putting all those abilities and accomplishments into a military resume and landing yourself an interview. So feel free to bookmark this guide and keep coming back to it until your resume is ready. The interview is right around the corner!

Isabelle Dupont
Isabelle Dupont
Content Writer & Editor
Isabelle Dupont is from Portland, but she now lives and works in sunny San Diego. She is a content writer and editor for She loves casual Fridays and carefree days spent on the beach and has been writing for several years now. Whether it’s creating content or fixing it up, she’s always on point and makes sure no stone is left unturned. In her free time, Isa loves to immerse herself in fantasy novels, go on long hikes, and spend time with her friends and family.

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