Translating Military Experience to a Resume

Translating Military Experience to a Resume

Transitioning from a military career to a civilian career is not without challenges. Finding civilian employment can be difficult for any veteran-especially those who entered the military right out of high school. While the military has given you training and skills that employers, knowing where to start on your resume can hold you back, especially when translating your military duties to fit a civilian career. 

Here are a few tips to help in translating your experience to help launch your civilian career.

Learn how to translate your experience

This is perhaps the most important part of starting your career search. Your experience is valuable, but the civilian reading your resume might not know this based on how you word your resume.

If this is something you struggle with, visit this military code to civilian occupation translator.

Here are a few common translations:

Job Titles

  • Commander = Director or Senior Manager
  • Executive Officer = Deputy Director
  • Field Grade Officer = Executive or Manager
  • Company Grade Officer = Operations Manager or Section Manager
  • Warrant Officer =Technical Specialist or Department Manager
  • Senior NCOs = First-Line Supervisor
  • Infantry = Security Force
  • First Sergeant = Personnel Manager
  • Squad Leader = Team Leader or Team Chief
  • Supply Sergeant = Supply Manager or Logistics Manager
  • Operations NCO= Operations Supervisor

General Terms

  • AI= additionally skilled in
  • combat = hazardous conditions
  • company = company, department or section
  • medal = award
  • military personnel office = human resources
  • mission = task/function/objective
    military occupation specialty/classification = career specialty
    squad/platoon = team or section
    reconnaissance = data collection and analysis
    regulations= policy or guidelines
    security clearance= security clearance
    service members = employees
    subordinates = employees
    TAD/TDY = business trip

Describe your experience

Provide a complete rundown of your job/jobs in the military. Here are a few skills to include:


Technical skills are valuable to employers and can reduce the time they spend training you. A strong grasp on technology allows for many civilian opportunities.


Executing missions in the military requires communication and working with others to accomplish an assigned task- a skill that translates into any field or career.


Leadership experience in the military is highly regarded by employers and can led to a future management role.

Staying in the same field

For those transitioning and wanting to stay in the same field, creating a civilian resume will be much easier. For example, if you are a medic and want to stay in the medical field, your resume will be similar and the duties are understood to be the same.

For additional resources visit the Veteran and Military Transition Center.

VA Now Accepting Blue Water Navy Claims

January 14, 2020

8 Common Veteran Resume Mistakes

January 14, 2020