Veterans: How to Translate your Experience for your Resume

US veterans receive incredible hands-on training and certification while in the service. Whether it is in the form of logistics management or healthcare administration, they are well prepared to enter the civilian workforce. However, the sticking point for many vets is the heavy use of acronyms on resumes – and during interviews.

The good news for veterans is that many employers respect the leadership skills that military members develop while in service. They are apt to take a positive view of the service member’s training and accomplishments, knowing that the mission-critical attitude will be a benefit to their organization.

Translating Skills

Skills presented in military lingo read like alphabet soup to civilian counterparts. Vets need to make the connection between service life and business needs. The first step is to write out all of the skills, job titles, specialized training and management experience that are affiliated with an ideal civilian job.

Next, write out all acronyms and find their logical business language replacement. For example, sergeant or squad leader translates to manager and lead adviser. has a skill translator that can aid in this process.

Resume Review

Vets should having at least three civilians read their resume. Anything that is confusing or has the potential to be misinterpreted needs to change. A good resource for veterans includes former military members who are working in the corporate environment. Mentors, contacts from networks and vet centers have people ready to help with resume reviews.


When meeting with a potential employer, veterans have the opportunity to explain how their skills work in favor of the open position. They need to watch for non-verbal cues to see if the employer is following their explanations and verbally check in with the interviewer to see if they are communicating military responsibilities effectively.

For veterans, the time to start tweaking a resume and participating in mock interviews is before walking away with their DD214.