Vets Checklist: Planning for Civilian Life

Service Record

Using Your Service Record to Prepare for Civilian Life

The best time to make sure your service record is accurate is when you’re still on active duty. Follow these tips to work on your service record while you get ready for your transition to civilian life:

  • If you don’t have a current one, ask for a copy of your complete service record. There are many reasons you may need your record to prove something in the future, such as trainings you completed or awards you got. Having an updated record is like having a copy of your birth certificate — you never know when you might need to provide a copy of it. If you don’t have a copy of your service record, it can take a long time to get one, but if you have one in a file already, you can send a copy to a potential employer the same day they ask.
  • Read your service record carefully to make sure it lists all schools, awards, copies of Permanent Change of Duty Station Orders and Active Duty for Training Orders, and documentation of Earned Retirement Points if you were ever in the Selected Reserve.
  • Use your service record to make a list of all the jobs and positions you’ve held in the past. Start with your current position and work backwards. List each job title with a one-line description of duties and dates (for example, “March 1998 – June 2003”). If you held more than one job within the same command, list them individually. Also list any equipment you worked on and the command or unit you were assigned to. Keep this list in a simple one- or two-line format.

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