Translating Military Experience to Civilian Work


There are 5.3 million American men and women who have served as active-duty soldiers since the Gulf war era. With thousands looking for work, it has become difficult for Hiring Managers to transition military experience to civilian skills.

Many military resumes contain terminology and acronyms that a lot of hiring managers do not understand such rank structures, service branches, etc. That is why it is important for you to be able to present it correctly and make it more relatable to the job you are applying for.

ResumeGenius breaks down some examples of common military terms and how they’re translated into civilian language.

  • Combat = Hazardous Conditions
  • Company = Department, Section
  • Mission = Task, Objective
  • OER / Counseling Statement = Review
  • Reconnaissance = Data Analysis or Data Collection
  • TAD / TDY = Business Trip, Leave
  • Service Member = Employee
  • Infantryman = Security Manager or Security Enforcer
  • Squad Leader = Team Leader
  • Executive Officer = Deputy Director or Assistant Director
  • Senior NCO = Supervisor or Coordinator
  • Supply Sergeant = Logistics Manager
  • Operations NCO = Operations Supervisor, Operations Manager
  • Commander = VP or Director

Here are some great resources to use to when looking to transition into cilivan work:

  • Veterans Employment Center: This tool helps connect service members, Veterans, and their families to career opportunities in the public and private sectors.
  • TheDepartment of Veterans Affairs offers an interest profiler, educational and career counseling and links to other job resource.
  • Amerit’s Veteran staffing program: As a Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (DVBE) and a Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Business (SDVOB), Amerit has made it their mission to help place qualified Veteran candidates in positions that match their military experience.
  •’s skills translator: This tool allows you to help see what types of jobs your skills are transferable to.