Congratulations, you’re back home and ready to enter the workforce! However, now that you’re out of the military, you might find that your new set of skills don’t quite sound right on a resume. After all, if you’re aiming for an office job, not fast food. If you’re heading for anywhere but the defense industry, you’ll find that “can drive a tank” might not convince an insurance company to hire you. You may be asking, how do I translate my military skills into a great resume? The facts are that it takes practice, and a lot of trial and error.

Learn What Your Goal Is

It’s easy to say you’re not trying to get into McDonald’s. You’ve got the experience to get something better now, so aim for what you know. However, make sure you’re aiming in the right direction. You’ll want to stay in the generally same career, whether it was medicine, accounting, or machinery. If you’re reaching for something completely new that you learned nothing about in the military, you might have some difficulties.

Learn to Translate

First, fill out your resume how you think it should be filled out. Include experience and skills, and don’t worry about how it sounds. You’ll edit it later. Once you’re done, start looking for anything that really screams “military.” Saying you’ve driven a tank won’t really convince an employer that you know what to do at a construction site.

However, if you say that you’ve operated heavy machinery without undue supervision, such as a tank, then it sounds better. It also sounds like you know what you’re doing, and you’re not counting a time when you hopped in with your buddy because it sounded fun. Try using more civilian terms such as “team” or “group” when referring to your platoon or squad, and focus on what you personally have done.

Keep it General

If you are aiming for a new career, then focus more on general things. Stick to your organizational skills, and leadership abilities, rather than talking too much about your ability to use a specific piece of machinery that you’d never touch in your new career.  Focus on who you are as a worker, rather than what you’ve specifically worked with, unless it does pertain to your chosen career or job.

Don’t Exaggerate

Even though you’re making what you’ve done sound fancier, that doesn’t mean you should exaggerate. Yes, driving a tank does mean that you’ve operated heavy machinery, but it doesn’t mean you know how to put a machine together. If you’ve only spent a day or two learning something, don’t list it in your list of proficient skills, because they might call you on it, leaving you looking foolish. Overall, be honest about what you can do, and don’t mention what you haven’t learned yet.

If you want the best resume, go online and check out resources to help you translate your skills into something that will catch an employer’s eye. Don’t be afraid to ask others for help, and ask for constructive criticism if an employer looks it over and turns you down. Over time, you’ll be able to construct a decent resume that’s sure to help land you the job of your dreams!