What You Should Know About Military Federal Resumes

A man gets tutored from a professional about his laptop.
A man gets tutored from a professional about his laptop.

As a former or current member of the armed forces, you have already demonstrated personal dedication, perseverance and strong commitment to your country. Today, the U.S. government is better prepared than ever to offer you new, economically competitive civilian employment opportunities. Whether you're an officer, bookkeeper, aircraft repairman, supply clerk or administrative officer, the federal government may have the right job for you.

Create a Military Federal Resume

You first will need a "military federal resume," described in detail in my new book, "Military to Federal Career Guide." This resume style includes details of military experiences and duties, ranks, military operations and campaigns, specific training and certifications, security clearance levels, awards and honors, projects and accomplishments.

But many military veterans find the resume-writing process difficult. In a recent class, soldiers at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center told me the hardest parts of writing a good resume are:

  • Telling a good story.
  • Bragging about yourself.
  • Unlearning what you already know about resume writing.
  • Describing your work in detail.
  • Explaining the challenges of work experiences.

Related: Does your resume pass the 6-second test? Get a FREE assessment.

Take the Cause-and-Effect Approach

The cause-and-effect format of a military federal resume allows job seekers to address these difficulties and to describe in detail who they are, what they've done and what they've learned along the way. Here's an example:

DAMAGE CONTROL TRAINING TEAM: Developed, presented and critiqued firefighting training and informational sessions. Drafted policy and procedural documents, including classes of fire extinguishing agents and equipment. Trained and qualified 55 personnel in firefighting procedures. Planned, managed and critiqued 95 ship-wide firefighting drills.

Served as Damage Control Training Team member; responded to alarms and major emergencies. Performed full range of firefighting tasks, including combating fires involving structures, equipment and facilities, as well as fuel and chemical fires, controlling and extinguishing fires while performing rescues. Operated fire-extinguishing agents, including 45-pound CO2, PKP and AFFF.
  • Developed first-supply management inspection checklist for all 17 functional areas of supply. Included 570 spot checks, ensuring all areas of supply procedures, policy and methods were audited monthly. Checklist was issued as a handbook, to assure that standard operating procedures (SOPs) were daily practice, and served as model for all six Pacific Fleet aircraft carriers.
  • Planned and coordinated 22 underway replenishments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Determined distribution and positioning of 7,447 pallets. Loaded, unloaded and delivered supplies among 41 using actives.

Expect to Go Longer Than a Page

Describing your military experiences in this kind of detail means your resume will be longer than the private-sector standard of one page. Military federal resumes are typically 2-4 pages (or up to 16,000 characters).

Create your online resume today.

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Related: Search for government jobs.

The Next Step: Get Your Resume Out There

Get your resume seen by companies that are seeking veterans like you. Post your resume with Monster.com.

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