Military Employment Guide: Applying For Jobs

Resume Help for Veterans

Step-by-Step Guide to Employment for Military and Veterans: Applying For Jobs

Once you have found the right jobs to apply to, you need to actually do so. Before you start sending applications and resumes, you will need to make sure they are as ready as they can be. You will need to tailor your resume and your cover letter for each job and position.

Tailoring Your Resume

When it comes to tailoring your resume, you first need to think about how you will talk about your military experiences. You don’t want to speak in military terms but you want to make sure your time in the military is represented. You may need to rephrase some terms and make them more “civilian” in the resume.

Use a military translator like you can find at This will allow you to translate those skills into what a civilian would be looking for in a job listing. You can also work with a recruiter or staffing agency that helps veterans work on their resumes and cover letters. You can find our Recruiting & Staffing Profiles page on Career Recon.  Many organizations that seek to place military and veterans will provide these services free to you.

You will need to customize each resume to each position. Using a general resume is probably not going to cut it. You want to show a future employer you are serious about the position and have the skills and experience for the job. Not every job you have had in the past, or every skill you have would be good for every resume.

How do you go about tailoring your resume to a job listing? Go over the job description, and customize your work history and skills around it. Let them see how perfect of a fit you would be for the job. Tailoring your resume shows the potential employer that you are paying attention and are serious about finding the job.

Here are a few places to find examples of a military veteran’s resume:

Tailoring Your Cover Letter

Your cover letter is just as important as your resume. Again you will want to cross reference the job description. Check for any specific instructions in the cover letter. Remember, the cover letter is there to clarify your resume, not to be a copy of it. Be personable, using “Dear Hiring Manager” vs “Dear Sir or Madam.”

Don’t make the cover letter too long. Explain the benefits of hiring you and your passion for the potential job. Since you have served in the military, you will want your cover letter to also demonstrate how your time in the military prepared you for this job. You can also talk about why you are making the transition from the military to the civilian world.

Here are a few places to find examples of a military veteran’s cover letter:

You can read more about resumes and cover letters here:

Submit Your Resume and Cover Letter

Once your resume and cover letter are proofread and good to go, it will be time to start actually applying for jobs. Make sure to follow the instructions they have for their job application. Submit your resume and cover letter in the method they request.

If you are signing up for a recruiting or staffing company, follow their directions as well. Some want a resume upfront, and others you would submit on the actual job listing. Make sure you know how the company works so you won’t miss out on a good job opportunity.

Keep track of where you have applied for follow-up. You will want to wait a couple of weeks before you do so. This gives them time. You can do this in the form of an email to the hiring manager.