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Military-to-Federal Resume Tips

Military-to-Federal Resume Tips

Kathryn Troutman /

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 US 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

First, you will need a military federal resume. 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.

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, facilities, and fuel and chemical fires, and controlling and extinguishing fires while performing rescues. Operated fire-extinguishing agents, including 45-pound CO2, PKP and AFFF.

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Key Accomplishments

1) 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 SOPs were daily practice and served as model for all 6 Pacific Fleet Aircraft Carriers.

2) 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 two to four pages (or up to 16,000 characters).

More Military-to-Federal Resume Tips

If you want to connect with veterans that may have jobs in these fields, you can network with them on’s Career Network.

And, if you want to search for jobs that require a security clearance or other government jobs, visit

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