Military to Civilian Cover Letter Examples

Updated June 25, 2021

According to the Bureau for Labor Statistics, the most popular occupations for male veterans are management jobs. At the same time, more female veterans work in office and administrative support occupations than in any other industry. Whatever civilian career path you choose, a well-written cover letter is essential to help you stand out from the crowd and get the best roles.

The downloadable examples below can help you if you’re struggling with ideas about how to write a polished military to civilian cover letter. The examples cover all experience levels, and you can also find useful advice below to help you write a compelling application.

Downloadable Cover Letter Examples

No Experience

Example #1 No Experience

2-3 years

Example #2 2-3 Years

5-10 Years

Example #3 5-10 Years

10+ Years

Example #4 10+ Years

Military to Civilian Cover Letter Examples (Text Format)

Years of Experience
  • No Experience 0
  • 2-3 years 2-3
  • 5-10 Years 5-10
  • 10+ Years 10+

James Jones
Prospective Maintenance Manager | [email protected] | (123) 456-7890 | 123 Address Ave., Seneca, NY 11111

January 1, 2021

Richard Richardson
Hiring Manager
Seneca Construction
(999) 000-1111
[email protected]

Dear Mr. Richardson,

During my time serving in, and eventually leading, the United States Army’s 55th Maintenance Battalion, I learned a variety of skills, all of which I was proud to put to use for my country. As I transition into civilian life, I would love the opportunity to use those abilities on behalf of Seneca Construction.

I believe my maintenance knowledge and leadership strengths make me an ideal fit to oversee the team charged with keeping your company’s construction fleet in good working order. Specifically, here are some reasons I think I would excel in the role:

  • I scored in the 95th percentile of the Army’s Mechanical Maintenance and General Technical vocational aptitude tests
  • I worked with heavy machinery, including tanks and construction- and engineering-focused equipment, such as bulldozers and cranes
  • Under my lead, my battalion won an Army Award for Maintenance Excellence

I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss what I can bring to Seneca Construction in more detail, and I am available whenever is convenient for your schedule.

Best regards,
Lt. Col. James Jones, U.S. Army (Ret.)

P.S.—I would be honored for the chance to tell you about how I spotted and fixed a tank’s tread issue in the nick of time!

John Johnson
Police Officer | j.johnsonemail.com | (123) 456-7890 | 444 Fourth Street, Joplin, MO 22222

January 1, 2021

Seth Smith
Human Resources Specialist
Columbia Police Department
(111) 222-2222
[email protected]

Dear Mr. Smith,

As a former United States Army sergeant and current officer with the Joplin Police Department, I have extensive experience calming people in difficult situations and taking appropriate action. If your department is looking for a mix of measured analysis and decisive action, I believe I fit the bill.

Moreover, I would jump at the chance to join an organization with a storied history like the Columbia Police Department. I believe my record of success shows that I am ready to help continue your department’s record of excellence:

  • My two years of service with the Joplin Police Department include zero disciplinary infractions and several commendations.
  • I have responded to and helped resolve over 30 domestic violence calls.
  • Among my military awards are an Army Achievement Medal and a Silver Star, and I also received a Distinguished Service Award for my work as a police officer.

I eagerly anticipate the chance to tell you more about my background and what I can do for your department going forward. I am glad to talk at a convenient time for you.

Kind regards,
Sgt. John Johnson, U.S. Army (Ret.)

P.S.—Another topic I’d love to discuss is the community outreach program I set up for Joplin’s police department!

Robert Ronaldson
Cybersecurity Specialist | [email protected] | (123) 111-2222 | 111 Binary Rd., Wichita, KS 22222

January 1, 2021

Amy Amherst
Hiring Specialist
SKS Solutions
(100) 100-10000
[email protected]

Dear Ms. Amherst,

Though my time in the U.S. Air Force is five years behind me, the traits I picked up there—including diligence and respect—have served me well in the private sector, as has my array of computer skills. My hope is that I receive the opportunity to bring my attention to detail and technical abilities to bear at SKS Solutions as your new Cybersecurity Specialist.

I believe your organization’s stated mission—to go above and beyond for every client—is a noble and accomplishable one, especially with employees with backgrounds like mine in the fold. These military and private-sector highlights show the type of employee SKS Solutions would be getting:

  • At my current organization, I have helped maintain 99.9% server uptime.
  • Before leaving the armed services, I received an Air Force Commendation Medal for my work in cybersecurity.
  • Since leaving, I have continued to expand my skills, including through my Information Security Manager and NIST Cybersecurity Framework certifications.

I look forward to having the chance to discuss my potential fit at SKS Solutions in more detail, and I am available as your schedule allows.

Kind regards,
Senior Airman Robert Ronaldson, U.S. Air Force (Ret.)

P.S. Given the opportunity, I’d jump at the chance to tell you about the time I stopped a huge security breach!

Jessica Jefferson
Lead Operations Research Analyst | [email protected] | (100) 100-1000 | 1000 Address Street, Tacoma, WA 10000

January 1, 2021

Rachel Reynolds
Hiring Associate
Frederick Consultants
(111) 111-0000
[email protected]

Dear Ms. Reynolds,

I am now closing in on 20 years of total experience, and thanks to my analytical skills, clear communication and leadership ability, I have enjoyed success in both the US Navy and the private sector. Given the opportunity, I’d like to continue those successes and help Frederick Consultants thrive as your new Lead Operations Research Analyst.

I am impressed with both the government and corporate clients your organization has worked with. I believe I am well-positioned to help keep those clients happy and impress new ones as they come into the fold. To wit, here are some of my past achievements:

  • In the Navy, I rose from the rank of Seaman Recruit to Intelligence Specialist Senior Chief.
  • At my current organization, I have achieved approximately $350,000 in annual cost savings by identifying and ameliorating vendor and supply-chain inefficiencies.
  • I have continually expanded my skills, most recently obtaining an Advanced Certificate in Operations Research from the Management Professionals of America.

I look forward to discussing what Trinity Consultants needs from me in more detail. My schedule can accommodate yours, so please let me know a convenient time.

Best wishes,
ISCS Jessica Jefferson, US Navy (Ret.)

P.S. — I am eager to share how my pattern recognition skills predicted a major business shift in 2018!

Military to Civilian Cover Letter Checklist

You should include the following sections in your military to civilian cover letter:

1. Heading. Use a letter heading template to create a professional and attractive cover letter. It should include the following elements:

  • Your full name, professional title, and contact details
  • The date you wrote the application
  • The hiring manager’s name, job title, and contact information

2. Salutation. It’s best to address the hiring manager by their name if you know it- Dear Mr. or Ms. [Last Name]. “Dear Hiring Manager” is fine if you don’t have this information.

3. Introduction. Begin by introducing yourself and stating your intention to apply for the role, including a compelling professional or educational accomplishment to build interest.

4. Body paragraphs. Next, write a couple of paragraphs describing your relevant accomplishments, education, and work experience. Bullet points make it easier for hiring managers to absorb crucial information if they’re reading in a hurry and look visually appealing.

5. Closing section. Request that the hiring manager contacts you to arrange an interview. Including a P.S. after your signature with a bonus achievement gives the hiring manager one more reason to schedule a meeting and draws attention to your selling points.

Introduction

It’s important to make your introduction section engaging to secure the hiring manager’s interest from the get-go. An effective technique is to select an impressive achievement from your previous career or education and describe it in the opening sentence. Try to choose an accomplishment that demonstrates one of the skills mentioned in the job description, such as teamwork or attention to detail. It’s best to pick one that you can quantify with statistics instead of describing your responsibilities.

Good


In 2020, I received praise 4x from my superiors for successfully de-escalating high-conflict situations without the use of force. They noted my outstanding communication skills and ability to build rapid trust and rapport with a diverse range of people. I am excited to demonstrate these attributes as a security guard at Walmart.

Bad


As an experienced veteran with good communication and de-escalation skills, I think I would make an excellent security guard at Walmart.

Body Paragraphs

Begin the main section of your cover letter by outlining what you admire about your prospective employer and why you wish to work for them. Doing this helps them get a clearer idea of how your work ethic aligns with the company values.

You should then provide details of your relevant educational and professional accomplishments and experience that show you are a suitable candidate. While you may not have worked in the industry you’re applying to before, try to pick achievements that show you have transferable skills. If you can, back up each point with data to show how effective you were.

Good


As a seasoned veteran with over 5 years of leadership experience, I believe that I have the communication and organizational skills to become an inspirational and efficient leader at Cushman & Wakefield. I would relish the opportunity to be part of a customer-oriented and collaborative working environment.

My recent accomplishments include:

  • Sensitively and efficiently handling disciplinary problems and disputes within a team of 25, successfully resolving 87% of issues without the need for escalation
  • Collaborated with other team leaders to make detailed logistical plans, meeting 97% of operational goals in 2020
  • Planned and delivered ongoing professional training and support to personnel, achieving an 89% retention rate over three years

Bad


I see from the job description that you are looking for someone with good organizational and leadership skills. Having held a military leadership position for five years, I believe I have what it takes to succeed.

My areas of responsibility include:

  • Dealing with disciplinary problems and disputes
  • Planning operations as a team
  • Training and supporting personnel

Closing

The most effective military to civilian cover letters finish with a CTA, directly requesting an interview. This is more compelling than thanking the reader for their time and consideration.

To leave a lasting impression, write a brief P.S. outlining an extra accomplishment. This technique can help your application stand out against other candidates and gives the hiring manager a starting point for discussion at a future interview.

Good


I am excited to explore how my extensive leadership experience and detail-oriented strategic skills can make me an asset to Capital One. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch to set up an interview.

Sincerely,

Krystal Vasquez

P.S. I would love to explain why I was awarded a Commendation Medal in June 2019.

Bad


Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to read my letter. I hope to discuss my application further with you soon.

Sincerely,

Krystal Vasquez