How to List Military Experience on a Resume

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Transitioning into a civilian career may take some time for former military personnel. It is best to choose a specific career path before you begin updating your resume for your job search. Each military job has different experiences and it is important to identify the military experience that is applicable to jobs you are interested in. In this article, you can learn what military experience is, how to list military experience on your resume and review some examples that show how you can list your military experience on your resume.

What is military experience?

Military experience consists of any relevant job experience obtained while enlisted in a branch of military service. This may include any skills, achievements, duties, discipline or other experiences an individual has gained during active service in the military. 

How to list military experience on your resume

Here are a few steps you may follow to list military experience on your resume:

1. First, create a separate section called ‘Military experience’

It is important to list your military work experience separately from your other work experience. The goal is to create a resume that is easy for employers to read and understand. Under the main section title, you can then choose to organize your work experience with sub-sections under your job title, listed in reverse chronological order. Your most recent position in the military should be listed first and your oldest position should be at the bottom. 

If you do not have other work experience, then you may simply include your military experience under a ‘Relevant experience’ section. 

2. Second, use simple and easy-to-understand language

Your military experience should be listed in a way that is easy for recruiters to comprehend. Military terminology and codes that are used to describe a job title or experience should be avoided in your resume since many civilian recruiters and employers likely won’t understand what they mean. You may use your military job title instead of your military occupational specialty. For example, instead of listing your job position as a commissioned officer, you can list it as a supervisor. There are many websites you can search for that will offer a civilian translation of your military job title if you are unable to figure out the correct translation. 

3. Third, list experience with bullet points

The best way to list your military experience is by using bullet points and by keeping each line short while maintaining an accurate description of the duties you performed. When you list your experience, it is also important to extract keywords from job descriptions. For example, if the job you are applying for wants to hire someone who has experience with bookkeeping or budgeting, then you should add those exact keywords to your relevant experience if they are applicable.

It is also important to avoid using detailed experiences from active combat or deployment in your resume. You will need to consider how to word your experience with combat operations in a way that is relevant to the jobs you are interested in applying for. For example, you may include missions you assisted with if it includes relevant leadership skills or conflict resolution. 

4. Fourth, focus on leadership experience

Leadership experience is valuable in a wide range of jobs and occupations. The best way to convey leadership experience is to include action words in civilian terms. For example, you can state that you ‘provided strategic advice to meet team operational goals resulting in standards being met.’ Listing leadership experience this way will make hiring managers aware that your leadership experience can extend beyond military exercises and battle plans. 

5. Fifth, highlight your accomplishments

It is important to highlight small and large accomplishments in your resume. This may include things such as successfully decreasing the number of unexpected repairs on a submarine, aircraft or another mechanical system in the military; or achievements, honors and awards that you received during active duty. It’s important to spotlight your accomplishments to emphasize your strengths and expertise. Employers will likely notice and be impressed with your dedication. This will give them a more accurate idea of your work ethic and your ability to produce results. 

Examples for listing military experience on your resume

Here are some examples of how you can list military experience on your resume:

Example #1


Distributions Supervisor – U.S. Marine Corps                                                                           

2009 – 2012

  • Developed an effective routing and transportation system with five team members to safely transport $30 million dollars worth of supplies 
  • Monitored all transportation operations, ensuring quality control and all distribution methods met regulatory requirements
  • Managed routing, dispatching, shipping and tracking of equipment to certify safe and effective delivery
  • Trained new personnel on all operations and distributions systems

Example #2


Information Technology Specialist Supervisor – U.S. Army                                                    

2007 – 2009

  • Supervised a team of 15 Information Technology Specialists 
  • Developed complex computer programming 
  • Analyzed computer systems to identify issues and initiated resolutions
  • Performed security checks and routine maintenance on computer systems


  • High honors achievement medal, Information Security Systems, Fort Carson (2008)

Example #3


Operations Officer – U.S. Navy                                                                                  

2015 – 2019    

  • Set short-term and long-term objectives for strategic maneuvers to achieve cross-departmental goals
  • Conducted meetings to communicate operational expectations and goals
  • Evaluated information and advised teams based on careful analysis of operational information 

When including military experience on your resume, it may be helpful to think about the wording you use to describe your experience in a way that makes sense to civilian recruiters. You should demonstrate your experience, accomplishments and skills in a way that translates your hard-work and your ability to adapt to civilian employment.