2nd October 2020

A Military Guide to Civilian CVs

Curriculum Vitae. CV. Resume. Whatever you call it, these documents have become the first point of contact with prospective employers in civvy street. As alien as this is for anyone who has served or still serves in the military, a CV is your chance to gob off, to tell your story and to make sure you stand out from the crowd.

Additionally a CV is your chance to give a great (or bad!) first impression and highlight what you could bring to their business. But, how do you make sure your CV is read – properly? How do you ensure your CV stands out? How do you ensure your skills and experience shine through? Read on to understand the key facts you need to know when building your civvy CV.

Keep it short – 2 pages is the recommended maximum – too long and it won’t get read!

Put your skills up top. After your name and contact details, skills should be up at the top of your CV, higher than past experience. It makes it much easier for employers to match you to the job specification. Tailor the skills so they reflect the job description and try to use the same language.

Get rid of the military lingo. Civilian employers may not understand TLAs. Additionally they will not have the time to decipher these and can be put off by the fact they don’t understand how best to ‘translate’ skills and experience.

If in doubt, ask a friend or better yet ask the LifeWorks team – we are happy to advise LW beneficiaries on induvial applications.

Don’t make it look fancy. Unless you’re a graphic designer it’s just time wasted and moves focus away from what you can offer.

Tailor your CV content for every new job you apply for. They are all slightly different – it will be worth it, honest! 7 Keep your experience relevant and edit as you see fit. A CV, as your military background has taught you, must be adaptable.

Fill in the gaps. A period out of work doesn’t have to be a negative. Think about what you did – a course, volunteering, a project at home? And showcase skills from that.

A brilliant civilian CV is just around the corner. If you’ve found this useful and want more advice, our team are here to help at all times. You can drop a quick email to lifeworks@rbli.co.uk outlining your issue and we will either email or call you back to discuss. Or you can call us direct on 0800 319 6844 from 8-4 every weekday. Most of our team have been through this same challenge.

We know veterans and military families are some of the most hard-working and adaptable employees a business could have – you just need to make sure THEY know too!

Good luck!