Some of the veterans I work with are baby boomers whose service dates back several decades. Others are millennials who got out of the service recently and are now working on re-claiming their civilian lives and careers. And yet others are somewhere in between.
Although I myself haven’t had the honor, there are various ways the Certified Professional Résumé Writer in me rejoices at the chance of marketing the assets of job seekers who have served in the military.
Military service always belongs on your résumé.
Hiring managers worth their salt realize military service is not something you do just for the paycheck. Rather, it shows a person’s capacity for dedication and commitment. It doesn’t matter if you were drafted; you answered Uncle Sam’s call, and for the purpose of résumé writing, that comes down to the same as if you had volunteered.
Good hiring managers will also assume you came away from military service with certain transferable capabilities—such as clear, efficient communication, and level-headed performance under pressure.
The amount of military-service detail that should go on your résumé will vary.
Usually, the minimum info of military service on a résumé includes: the branch served in; any commendations received; and, as long as there was an honorable discharge, the mention of that. (I am not trying to sound patronizing; I know the honorable-discharge part can be an issue for the most absurd-sounding reasons.)
If you are concerned about dating yourself because your military service goes back several decades, rest easy; your Certified Professional Résumé Writer will discuss ways around that with you. (For starters, you will notice the dates of your service aren’t necessarily part of the minimum info.)
How much more detail you go into beyond that minimum info depends on factors such as the marketability of your service to your civilian ambitions and aspirations. For example, if you served in an IT-specialist capacity, you might elaborate on that if you are now looking to build intranet solutions for businesses. Or if you were a communications officer and regularly put out press releases, that might certainly be helpful to market you to a public-relations role.
As I mentioned on another page on this site, veterans have always been part of my particular clientele focus, besides mid-level professionals and career changers. In that sense, let every day be Veterans’ Day.