Hiring managers need to be able to easily extract your civilian qualifications and experience from your resume, so you need to make it targeted and concise, with clearly spelled out qualifications and experiences. Here are some tips for translating your skills and experiences on your resume.
List all positions with specific and quantifiable detail. Quantify how many people worked for you and the dollar amount of the equipment, budgets and programs for which you were responsible for. "Mission Commander" on a resume may not convey much to a civilian hiring manager, but quantifying with "As Mission Commander, I was overall in charge of the processing and deployment of 270 personnel and five million dollars worth of combat aircraft." will demonstrate the depth of your responsibility. Numbers are critical.
Translate your achievements. Treat your achievements and assignments as programs, and include details relevant to the position for which you are applying. Illustrate how you were able to map out a plan and achieve it. Use practical examples to show transferable skills, such as leadership, decision-making, and technical skills and certifications. By doing this, you can prove that your skill set is a match for that required.
Use the civilian counterpart job title on your resume with your military position and rank in parenthesis. Hiring managers may not always know what a Major in the Air Force does or how many people they oversee. This position may best be described as a Manager or Leader. Keep in mind, though, that rank is often not an important factor on your resume. Many hiring managers know that service members' experience often exceeds their pay grade and that responsibility doesn't always come with rank. Do not use abbreviations or acronyms. Write your resume so any reader will understand what you are trying to convey.
Disqualifying mistakes such as using C-level titles (i.e. CEO or COO) to translate your experience; or a generic, one-size-fits-all resume should also be avoided.
By using these tips to translate your military experience, you will have already overcome many of the biggest obstacles to creating your resume!