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Why is Writing a Civilian Resume So Hard? How to Translate Military Jobs to Civilian Language

After dedicating nine years of my life to the Army, standing at the crossroads between military life and the civilian workforce, I found myself facing a challenge I hadn't anticipated. The question looming over my head was, "Why is translating my military career to civilian verbiage so hard?" After all, the skills, discipline, and leadership I had honed should be highly valuable in any context. Yet, the task of how to translate military jobs to civilian language proved to be unexpectedly challenging, this coming from a writer!

The Lingual Divide

The military world is rich with specialized terminology, acronyms, and jargon unique to its operations–a language of its own that's almost inscrutable to someone outside. This linguistic barrier creates a divide, making it difficult for potential civilian employers to fully appreciate the wealth and depth of experience veterans bring to the table. Realizing this, I embarked on a mission to bridge this divide, not just for myself but to help my fellow veterans.

Unpacking the Jargon-how to translate military jobs to civilian language

The first step in this translation process involved a deep-dive into civilian job titles that aligned with what I did in the military. It wasn't just about finding a match but understanding how the skills and roles I was familiar with could fit into a broader spectrum of civilian careers. This required patience and an open mind to explore roles beyond my immediate assumptions. If you are embarking on this task yourself, use a google search to translate your job titles and other terminology like squad, after action review, sergeants time, and so on. Don't forget to turn to your evaluation reports for valuable information. You can pull some great accomplishments from the bullet points your leaders wrote for you. You can also pull info from your award write-ups. But remember, translate the jargon!

Translating Military Skills for a Civilian Audience

The core of my transition strategy was to highlight transferable skills. Leadership, decision-making under pressure, strategic planning, and team management aren’t just military skills—they're the backbone of successful civilian careers as well. Yet, the key was in the presentation.

Describing these skills in a way that resonates with civilian employers meant stripping away the military-specific language and focusing on the underlying competencies and results.

For example, leading a team in a high-stakes operation translates into the ability to manage projects under tight deadlines while ensuring team cohesion and motivation. Every military mission or task I undertook had a civilian equivalent—it was just a matter of framing it in the right light.

Facing the Challenge Head-On

What I initially saw as a formidable challenge turned into an empowering process. Learning how to translate military jobs to civilian language wasn't just about swapping out terms; it was about rethinking how I viewed my own experiences and presenting them in a new light. This wasn't just a resume rewrite; it was a rebranding of my professional identity. After mastering how to translate military jobs to civilian language, I take great pride in doing this on a daily basis for others.

Here to Help

For those who are finding themselves in the shoes I once stood, know this—you're not alone. Transitioning to civilian life, especially figuring out how to articulate your worth in a new world, can seem overwhelming. But it’s a challenge worth facing

If the task seems overwhelming, fear not. My 13 years of experience in resume writing, coupled with my firsthand understanding of military life, positions me uniquely to assist. At El Paso Professional Resumes, we specialize in translating military excellence into civilian success. We’re here to guide you through this transition, ensuring your resume reflects the true value of your military service in language that resonates with civilian employers.

Take the first step today. Reach out for a consultation, and together, we'll bridge the gap between military efficiency and civilian expertise. Your remarkable skills and experiences deserve recognition in every sphere. Let’s make sure they shine in civilian language.


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