Veterans and Military Members, Creating Resume Bullets and Highlighting your Transferable Skills

It is important to tailor your resume to the position you are applying for. You can do this by comparing key points from the job description to what you offer from your experience in order to show you as the strongest candidate. When creating your bullet points for each experience, use the ARTS formula to enhance the descriptions of your accomplishments 

  • Action Verb: What was the demonstrable skill being used? (Highlight transferable skills) There is a list in the career guide for your use!
  • Result: What was the measurable impact on the situation or task? (Show your value)
  • Task: What was the goal or objective of what was being done? (Define the scope of your accomplishment)
  • Situation: What was the context or scenario in which you were operating? (Translate the impact or stakes)

Veterans are known for their wealth of transferable skills including leadership, teamwork, integrity, strong work ethic, dedication, loyalty, and so much more! When it comes to tailoring your experience, it is just as important to highlight your transferable skills and rephrase them into civilian friendly language. Make sure to include these aspects to enhance your bullet points. Examples of highlighting these transferable skills gained from military positions to a civilian level of language are as follows:

  • Leadership Skills:
    • Team Leader of four to five men and women, responsible for their training, performance, and physical and mental wellbeing.
    • Directed the day-to-day operations of over 100 personnel and electronically monitored base perimeters ensuring the incident-free processing of over 52,000 local nationals and 8,000 vehicles
    • Directly responsible for the actions of between 3 and 12 team members and millions of dollars in Air Force equipment during state-side training and deployments
    • Orchestrated patient movement at different locations throughout Kabul, Afghanistan to ensure all Afghan local nationals would receive medical care
    • Led four-person team in preparation for and reception of over 4,500 arriving wounded and ill from Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom
    • Supervise three-person team in set-up, maintenance, and breakdown of two-bed mobile Emergency Rooms; triage incoming patients, initiate patient records, preoperative patient preparation; implement physician orders and treat non-emergent patients
  • Management Skills:
    • Managed squad personnel, including two team leaders, and equipment worth over $1,000,000 through delegating tasks and ensuring order
    • Managed a carefully selected team of Health Care Providers and Health Care Specialists
    • Coordinated sector response during 45 emergency defense operations
    • Developed detailed mission plans for over 45 combat patrols and 30 tactical checkpoints
  • Training/Teaching Skills:
    • Facilitate training, food, housing, and professional development for 14 enlisted soldiers
    • Taught new flight members in basic infantry tactics as well as unit-specific procedures ensuring that individual Airman was ready physically and mentally for combat operations
    • Instruct soldiers on the basic point of contact care for wartime scenarios including: administering IV resuscitation, providing wound care treatment, stabilization of broken bones, understanding and providing airway interventions, use of tourniquets, providing basic airway breathing and circulation interventions, etc.
    • Responsible for cross-training team members in all positions needed to run the squad efficiently and effectively.
    • Instructed and supervised team members in procedures and skills to ensure compliance with safety guidelines
  • Organization Skills:
    • Streamlined patient intake procedures to assure complete capture of patient demographics
    • Assisted the Platoon Leader in all technical and tactical planning leading to 100% success
    • Saved 120 man-hours per month on Aircraft Maintenance procedures by streamlining key steps (a 35% increase in efficiency).
    • Managed the distribution of office supplies including office desks, filing cabinets, and office chairs valued at over $200K.
  • Interpersonal/Communication Skills:
    • Served as a resource for new team members; provided information and aided them in obtaining specific support services such as transportation, child care, personal finances, healthcare, housing, etc.
    • Established relationships with team members and their families to ensure understanding of expectations.
  • Teamwork:
    • Part of a 20-person team that maintained physical control of vehicle and personnel entry/exit procedures ensuring the security of Air Force and Army air/ground assets
    • Provided exceptional law enforcement as a member of the 82nd Airborne Division’s Military Police company.
    • Infiltrated drug operations to curtail illegal drug imports as a member of the Clandestine Counter-Drug Operations team.
  • Attention to Detail:
    • Inspected all weapons and other equipment were in proper working order and were cleaned and stored correctly after use.

Additional Tips to Consider

There are certain aspects of your roles that are not necessary to include on your resume. Some tips to keep in mind when choosing to include or exclude information from your resume and bullet points are as follows:

  • Demonstrate flexibility and a strong understanding of how your skillset fits into a non-military environment. Turn your advantages into selling points, rather than points of doubt.
  • There are many veterans that have held military jobs that are very different from what they are planning to get into now that they are a civilian.
  • Just because your military experience is not related to your current career or job choice, does not mean it is invaluable! There are plenty of ways to rephrase your experience to tailor your past roles to the position you are applying for.
  • Highlight these skills when writing your job description for your military work so an employer can easily make the connection between how you used these skills to be successful in the military and how you will use them to be successful at their company. 
  • Whenever possible, list job duties and accomplishments with quantifiable data, such as numbers of employees managed, types of equipment/supplies handled, how much the equipment was worth, etc.
By Michele V. McAuliffe
Michele V. McAuliffe Graduate Assistant