Leaving the military service for a job in the civilian marketplace can be challenging for veterans. One of the obstacles is preparing a resume that clearly translates military experience to the trade industry and corporate world.
The good news for veterans is that many skills that they acquired during their time in service generally align with skill qualifications valued in the civilian marketplace. Skills like critical thinking, team building, and leadership are just a few. These are the transferable skills buried deep within the military jargon and acronyms. Finding a good source to identify these skills is challenging. There are many job placement specialists out there who claim to have the best translation technology. The truth is that they all rely on the same source, Occupation Information Network, ONET. It’s a great database, but as previously mentioned here, it is vast. It can take a transition coach hours or maybe days to help a veteran translate their skills.
Crafting a new resume is the critical first step during the transition process. It’s a topic addressed as veterans go through the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) or Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program (YRRP), which are training programs servicemembers and national guard members are now required to take as they separate from service or reintegrate back into the marketplace. Let's discuss the basics.
Gather your Information
It’s important to think of the skills attained, not the positions held during your time in the military. The job titles and specific duties are lost on civilian recruiters. You will have to list your position, however, think of the skills you performed as you describe your duties.
The Department of Defense does a great job of keeping all your skills, positions, training, and certifications in one place. Go here to obtain your Verification Military Experience and Training document. This document is your entire military job history in one very large file. Use this when describing your skills acquired.
Skip the Lingo While Describing Military Jobs & Skills
The military loves acronyms but avoid using them. It’s best to spell out the term or position for the risk of confusing a civilian recruiter.
The key is to put yourself in the recruiter's shoes. Take all the guesswork out of what a specific job or title required you to do. Keep it simple for them to understand and recognize compatible skills that can be used in a civilian job.
For example, instead of listing all the sonar software, you used, state that you have experience running a logistic tracking system. If you were an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) tech, you might translate the skills you learned, to include acute attention to detail and most success while working under extreme pressure.
Your military experience is your value-proposition; presented successfully, it can be seen as an asset to potential employers.
Write More than One Version of Your Resume
Remember, the title of the article? What no one tells you when looking for a job is that one resume is not enough. You should tailor your resume to the job you’re applying for. Always, present yourself truthfully, but not every industry requires the same skills. Modify your resume to highlight the targeted skills recruiters are seeking. Additionally, if you’re considering applying for a federal job, then you need to tailor your resume.
SkillMil is a great tool for this. You can present yourself in different ways by simply updating your profile and targeting key skills. The process is simple and free for veterans. Try SkillMil out for yourself.