Using “Resourcefulness” to Develop a Military Resume and Land a Civilian Job

I proudly present another article from’s wildly popular guest writer, Judy Navarrete, SPHR. Judy is an accomplished HR professional who first contacted me at Military Resumes to express her interest in sharing her vast human resources and operations management experience and insight into the business world with military job seekers. Her observations are food for thought as you reflect on your own military experience (and how it applies to corporate America) when preparing your military resume or for an interview.  

Judy’s passion for educating and cultivating effective employees and leaders, and writing for, has influenced her to develop her own career mentor blog site, where she provides insight into (civilian) career transitions (see To see all of Judy’s acclaimed articles, keyword search for “Judy”.  You may reach her for comments and feedback at


 By: Judy Navarrete, SPHR

Recently, while interviewing a veteran of the U.S. Navy, I realized the extent to which civilians take the ease of obtaining items stateside for granted, and the resourcefulness of deployed servicemen/women. Easily obtainable “comforts of home” are often shared with deployed servicemen via care packages. But to sustain complex military operations in austere environments is a different story. It is increasingly challenging for deployed service members to get their hands on both comforts and necessities while on foreign soil. 

I was recently introduced to a former naval storekeeper transitioning from the service to the civilian work after a deployment in Iraq. This veteran had logistics and financial administration experience and a military resume drafted with the assistance of TAPS (transition) counselors. To be quite honest, his resume was difficult to read and appeared highly inflated, that is, until I dug deeper into the breadth of his experience overseas.

His title was “storekeeper” – “supply chain manager” to us civilians. Despite less than 4 years of military experience, the government entrusted him to manage an inventory valued at well over $10 million, a government credit card, and the distribution of resources only experienced supply chain managers would be allowed to handle in civilian business units. He received financial training and described the level of authority over funds and valuable assets he was afforded. He expedited inventory and consumables to global environments (in his case, other bases in challenging locales such as Africa, Japan, the Middle East, and the United States).

Although he lacked experience with state-of-the-art an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, a computerized system designed to manage inventory, and software programs such as SAP, Oracle, Enterprise, WPS, or AS400, he did manipulate spreadsheets using Excel and Word to track inventory and balance a budget. Systems can be taught and quickly learned; resourcefulness cannot. He explained, “When we [service members] are in a foreign country, we learn to be resourceful. We are in the middle of a desert, in the middle of nowhere, and if we don’t have something, we have to find a way to get it.”

I was so impressed with his selling points that I offered to place his military resume in front of the hiring manager at a leading aerospace company for a senior supply chain management role.  Usually, civilians are required to have a degree in business or accounting plus a few years of experience under their belts to be considered for this position. Yet, I was confident that his military experience and training were equivalent to the qualifications requested by the hiring manager.   

Prior to meeting with the manager for a face-to-face interview, the naval storekeeper will be coached on translating his military speak to civilian terms. For example, “financial administration” simply means accounting for and tracking expenses against budget constraints.  Combat/anti-terrorism training will be softened to describe “conflict resolution, resourcefulness, and interpersonal skills” and “government credit card” is better described as “purchasing authority”. 

When applying for civilian work, a military job seeker must keep in mind that the recruiter may not completely understand how to translate military terms. Furthermore, if the military job seekers cannot articulate their meaning during a phone interview or on a military resume, they may never have the opportunity to share their vast experience and sell themselves at the interview. So put the resourcefulness the military has ingrained you with to work  in presenting your experience in terms the business world can relate to… and demonstrate to potential employers that you actually have it.

At Military Resumes, we understand military experience and how to effectively “translate” it into terms civlians not only understand, but are actively looking for. For more information on professional military resume writing services custom-designed to market your unique attributes, please visit