Say 'Goodbye' to Uncle Sam: Translating your military experience for a civilian career

  • Skillroads
  • Blog
  • Say 'Goodbye' to Uncle Sam: Translating your military experience for a civilian career

Once you’ve decided to quit military service and settle down at a civilian job, you may find yourself slightly confused by the fact that your experience, awards and achievements are not quite suitable for a civilian resume. 

However, it doesn’t mean that vets are out of the competition, actually you can benefit from your former military experience. 

In this article, we will equip you with some useful knowledge on how to adjust your resume to a civilian job market and help with translating military experience to civilian terms, so that you will be able to ensure your would-be employers that you’re a decent candidate for the position in a civilian sector. 

military_veterans

Turn your military job titles into a civil ones 

Before starting your career search, you should define your job objective. That means you need to understand clearly what positions you are going to apply for and what skills are in-demand among the civilian employers. Thus, first thing you need to do is to convert your military skills into a civil equivalent. To do that, you can use different online tools, such as military skills translator; below you will find some military titles that match civil jobs:

  • Nominative Sergeant Major - Training and Development Specialist
  • Generalist Officer – Director, Coordinator
  • Warrant Officer - Technical Specialist, Department Manager
  • Information Operations Officer – IT Project Manager, Scrum Master
  • Correctional Specialist – Police Officer

As you can see, some of the translations are quite simple and obvious, but what makes this step really important is that you start realizing what skills and qualifications you should highlight while writing a resume

Get rid of the military jargon

The next step you should take is to make sure that each and every line in your resume is free of military terms. Replace such words as subordinates, regulations, medal, etc. Instead, replace them with the alternatives, such as: employees, policies (rules, guidelines), awards. 

If you’re truly determined to get a job and not being judged stereotypically be ready to exclude military language words not only from your resume but from your everyday lexicon. It can be challenging for a while, however it’s a necessary measure. Remember, your final goal not only to get hired but to adjust to your new professional life as smoothly as possible. 

veteran_resume_writing

Work on your “Soft skills” section

There are two types of skills: hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills are professional and technical skills and knowledge required to successfully perform your duties at work, while soft skills are extremely useful in everyday life. By the way, recent survey by Deloitte revealed that soft skills jobs will make up 63% of all jobs by 2030. Soft skills include:

  • Interpersonal skills. Help you develop relationships with people, maintain conversation, and be able to behave effectively in critical situations. These skills are must have for everyone.
  • Self-management skills. Help you control your time, set priorities and switch between tasks.
  • Management and leadership skills. Those skills are required for people at the stage when they become managers and take responsibility for the companies’ projects. They must be able to lead a team of subordinates and strive for mutual results showing self-discipline, patience and decision-making skills. 

Customize your resume according to a job description

This step is essential if you want to get invited for an interview and leave behind other candidates. The thing is that at the first stage of recruiting process a resume gets scanned by machines called applicant tracking systems (ATS) that check whether it meets the requirements listed in the job description. That’s why to create a resume that will be able to pass the auto-screening stage, you need to make sure you’ve included all the necessary keywords; otherwise you won’t get to the next selection stage. 

To find out what kind of keywords in resume are needed, read the job description carefully and highlight phrases that define the position. For example, if a company looks for an IT specialist the key phrases may include “Proven problem solving skills and analytical thinking”, “Experience in administration of Windows/Unix OS”, “Knowledge of OOP patterns”, etc.

Don’t use those phrases verbatim, instead try different word combinations to ensure HR-managers you haven’t just copy-pasted the text from the job board.

Provide a cover letter

Cover letter is a subject of constant controversy in the recruiting circles. Some of them say it helps you score extra points, and some of them disagree with that by saying that it won’t help you get hired if you are not qualified enough for the position. 

Usually cover letter are required for an internship and entry-level positions, however one cannot deny that a powerful cover letter where you give reasons why you decided to apply for this particular job is an additional proof of your interest. Thus, if  you’re truly determined to catch the recruiter’s eye and receive a feedback, spare no time and effort to write a convincing  cover letter that shows your motivation, highlights your strengths and makes the hiring manager want to find out more about you.

military

Don’t forget to spell check 

You’ll be surprised to find out how many resumes are thrown into a trash due to the spelling mistakes. Missing letters or a misspelled word can make your resume look vague and reckless, so is your personality. Mistakes happen for various reasons; you might be in a hurry or slept very little the day before, however it still makes you responsible for each and every line in your CV. 

Formatting is also a matter of great importance. Try to experiment with resume fonts, but don’t go too far, 2 font types would be enough – one for the main content, other to highlight the headings. Also, check thoroughly whether all margins are of same size and there’s no empty space that can distract and confuse the reader. 

After you’ve done the revision, your resume will turn into a pleasant-looking document that represents your serious intentions to be considered as a decent applicant. 

Be proactive 

Getting out of your comfort zone is tough; military veterans got used to a particular lifestyle in a very powerful and tight-knit community. Plus, job search itself can be quite stressful and intimidating process. 

To make your transition less of a head ache, get yourself prepared in advance. Read tips on how to get ready for an interview, be proactive and use social networks to find out more information about the recent job openings; according to Global Recruiting Trends Report 2017, 40% of recruiters use LinkedIn as one of the main hiring channels, so take advantage of it! 

We can assure you, that your confidence will increase multiple times as soon as you pass a few interviews and in the end your enthusiasm complemented by perseverance and determination will help you get a job.

Recent posts
Wondering how to get a job at Tesla? Follow these simple steps

Tesla, oh, Tesla. The Tesla Company is the talk of the town nowadays. This Silicon Valley gem, this marketing disaster/miracle seems to be on everyone’s mind lately. It has been plaguing and terrorizing all of the media outlets for the past 5-6 years. Every day there’s some new article on Tesla, a critique on Tesla’s company policies, an exposé on Elon Musk, an opinion piece on how Tesla is the future of all companies, and the list goes on.

 

Tesla CEO VS Board of Directors: Roles, Responsibilities, Conflicts

The leader of Tesla, Elon Musk, is again in the center of public attention. After enduring conflicts and discussions, he is stepping down as Tesla Chairman, while keeping the position of the company’s CEO. The Board, however, still is not sure that this decision is going to be beneficial for the company, as Musk was an undisputed leader holding both of the positions for last 14 years. We decided to have a closer look at the situation and shed a light on the Chairman – CEO roles.

 

News flash: It is OK not to know what career you want

Well-p, here you are, so grown-up, so big, so self-important, and yet you absolutely have no idea what to do and for what to strive for. You’ve graduated your school/college/university, but still don’t have any answers to the questions you had. What’s worse, is that you have even more questions than ever. 

Friends without benefits: Fostering friendship at workplace

“Friends are God’s way of taking care of us”, old wisdom says. 

The recent studies show that having friends influences our well-being and even is good for our physiological health. Having a close person beside you during hard times can prevent you from problems with cardiovascular as well as reduce stress levels. Researches held by Gallup show that three hours of social activity reduce the risk of having a bad day up to 10%. 

15 Steps to land a dream job in a new city

According to statistics, around 35.5 million of Americans change their place of living each year. Some of them enjoy refreshing their lives from time to time and feel excited about the opportunity of moving to a new city or country. However, there are plenty of those who are always anxious about such significant, or even the smallest changes and relocation to an unusual environment can be rather stressful for them. Regardless of which group you belong to, finding a job in a new city can become a rather problematic issue. 

The 40 highest paying jobs in America of 2018

The most valuable advice our parents and teachers give us is to embrace our passions and to turn our hobbies into profession. Many of us follow the wisdom “Make your passion into your career so you’ll never work and day in your life” and start chasing the dreams without even a single thought if they will be able to bring home the bacon. Thus, when it comes to the situation when they don’t have money to pay the bill, they often regret on quick fixes they made. 

Here’s what to do if your company doesn’t offer maternity leave

Giving birth to kids is a vital condition for our biological and economic survival. At the country level, economic growth behooves parents to bring out as many future employees and taxpayers as possible. Unfortunately, women still must make a choice between career and family due to the weak maternity leave laws in our country. Forbes states the USA can’t remain a global economic leader without providing paid family leave for citizens. Are there any ways to defend your rights and enjoy the happiness of parenthood? Let’s try to find out. 

 

How to use a job description to land your dream role

Constantly ignored and overlooked job descriptions, what are they for? Nowadays, the purpose of job description can seem quite redundant and pretty much useless. With the unending excess of data on the internet, there’s no wonder why people would think that. Of course, if one can find all the necessary information about a company and a vacancy on their site. However, things look this way only to an untrained eye. 

15 Ways to bounce back from a horrible day at work

Imagine you woke up in the morning, went to the kitchen and spilt your perfectly made cup of coffee over your white trousers. Then put both contact lenses in the same eye. You stuck into a traffic jam and was late for the meeting with your boss. You burst in his cabinet with a brown spot on your pants, blinking with one eye and the whole management team stared at you paralyzed with shock. When you finally arrived at your workplace, you found out that your computer was broken and all the data was lost. 

How to turn down a job offer after you have already accepted it (with examples)

The job search was so long and annoying. You’ve sent an enormous number of applications to all kinds of companies and firms, attended quite a few interviews, but nothing came out of it. And suddenly, there it is a job offer! Being incredibly excited you jump at the opportunity write them a job acceptance letter. Wow, you are definitely going to do splendidly at this place, nothing can stop you now!