Understanding Military Resume Translation for Employers


One of the top concerns for transitioning veterans and the employers looking to hire them is how their skills will transfer. No one questions the skills associated with leading a team of twelve or what it means to be a network administrator for any section of a command – those are skills that directly relate to the civilian world. But if a veteran worked as an intelligence analyst and does not want to work at the CIA, how does her or his resume morph into one that an employer can not only understand, but get excited about? If you're an employer interested in better understanding the translation of military skills to the civilian workforce, consider how veterans are using the Military.com Military Skills Translator.

Not everything needs to be translated

When a transitioning veteran sits down to put together their resume, they will likely first list out the skills that do not need to be translated. If they obtained a degree, were trained in the Korean language, or won awards while they were in the military, these are all easily added to the resume with minimal amounts of rewording. As an employer, you likely know how to look at these accomplishments. The exception may be awards, depending on how the veteran listed them, but all an employer needs to really know is that the veteran was recognized for work above the call of duty. As stated in the Military.com article From Military to Civilian: Resume Translation (an article that aims to help veterans through this process), "In or out of uniform, patient care, record-keeping and specific medical procedures and protocol are universally understood with the career field." This is the easy part.

Employers can learn to understand military lingo

The veteran will have likely done the translation from military to civilian lingo before bringing their resume to you, but you may want to familiarize yourself with the Military Skills Translator to understand where the veteran is coming from, as there may still be sections of the resume that you do not fully understand. Either way, this tool can be very helpful.

Not every bit of experience requires the use of a tool, however. Many veterans can easily incorporate words like "leadership, mentoring, and work load planning" into their resumes. They may say "team" instead of platoon or squad, and "heavy equipment operator" instead of tank crew member. A veteran can say they worked as a "health care specialist" instead of a medic. These are simple but often necessary translations.

However, a lot of the direct conversion can be accomplished via the Military Skills Translator. To understand how the tool works, let us look at a couple examples. If I were to put that I was a Marine, E-5, 2651 Special Intelligence System Administrator/Communicator, the tool shows me terms such as classified information materials security, record keeping, electronic data security, and more, and lists potential openings at such companies as Lead System Consultant or Data Analytics Specialist at Verizon. If I put in Army, E-8, 11B Infantry, the tool pulls up such keywords as driving/maneuvering skills, firearm handling and maintenance, and such open positions as Director of Technical Operations at Comcast.

As you can see, the translator helps veterans consider their skills in ways they may never have on their own, and is very convenient for helping them find open positions they qualify for. As an employer, you can use this tool to better understand how a veteran’s resume translates, or stick to having read this article and taking away a better understanding of the process that veterans go through to ensure they are a good fit with your company.

Want more?

The following are some common services that veterans use for resume translation:

Military to Civilian Skills Translator
Military to Civilian Occupation Translator
O*Net Military Crosswalk
Resume Writing Service

For quick reference, here are some word-for-word common translation examples:

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

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