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From Military to Civilian: Translating your Experience for Meaningful Civilian Career

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Written by Alice Berg   
Tuesday, 10 October 2017 16:32

Finding a job in the civilian sector can be quite challenging if you have been serving in the military. One of the challenges you will face is a change in culture. The military has a unique kind of culture. Military veterans are used to living in a very tight-knit kind of community. This is something that is hard to find when you get into the civilian world.

The other thing that might make it difficult for you to get a job is your unique military job experience. There is no doubt that vets are very much appreciated and valued for the sacrifice and service to their country. However, it might be challenging for you to translate your skills in a way that civilian employers would easily understand. For example, you might find it hard to describe your experience without using the common military jargon you are used to. Apart from this, it might be difficult for you to convince the recruiter that you are capable of filling a gap in their company since you might not be able to identify the gap easily. We have provided a few useful tips you can use to help you translate your military experience for a great civilian job.

Craft Your Resume in a Way that Appeals to Civilian Recruiters

Before you begin writing a resume that can appeal to civilian employers, the first thing you need to do is determine some of the things you do not need to change in your resume. The experience you gained in the military is something very valuable and in high demand even in the civilian job market. Things like time management, discipline, commitment, ability to work under pressure and other important qualities are valuable in any job. These are some of the things you should not remove from your resume.

To make your resume more appealing to civilian recruiters, there are some things you can do. First and foremost, try not to focus on the specific role you played in the military. Instead, list the core values and expertise you gained in your position.

The other thing you can do is to look at these examples of good resumes to get an idea of how to craft an impressive civilian resume that has the right resume fonts and correct keywords in resume.

Provide a Clear Picture of Your Experience so that you can Stand Out

To provide a clear picture of the experience you have gained in your previous job, you will need to list some of the core values you attained in your position. Some examples include:

  • Interpersonal Skills: Anyone who has worked in the military has experienced working with different types of people. In the military, you get the opportunity to work with high ranking officials, peers, and even subordinates in order to complete a task. In the civilian job market, this is something that is very valuable. Recruiters look for candidates that are capable of working with others very easily. Therefore, be sure to describe your ability to do so in detail using examples of your experience.
  • Leadership Skills: If you were in a leadership position in the military, this is one of the skills for resume you shouldn’t leave out. Describe your leadership position and some of the things you were able to achieve in this position. Doing this will give you a better chance of getting the job.
  • Technical Skills: There are certain military job responsibilities that are very similar to civilian jobs. For instance, telecommunication technicians, health care personnel and financial managers have very similar jobs to civilians in the same careers. Include this in your resume as well.

Make Use of Veteran Resources for your Transition

One of the resources you can use to make your transition smooth is a military skills translator. This tool will make translating military experience to civilian terms very easy for you because it matches your skills to some of the civilian occupations thereby making it easy for you to identify which jobs would be most suitable for you.

Acquire and utilize your Verification of Military Experience and Training Document. This document is very important because it lists your training history, experience, college credit and civilian jobs that match to your expertise.

Strive to Stand Out Despite the Challenges

Most job applicants complain about Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). These automated systems are used by most civilian recruiters to select suitable candidates for jobs. The challenge with these systems is the fact that you might be excluded from the opportunity despite your qualifications for the job. For this reason, it is important for you to learn about the different resume types and which ones stand out in such systems. This will make you stand out and get approved to the next step of applications. Our website can really help you learn about different resumes and how to make them unique.

Do a Remarkable Job as a Civilian Employee

Once you have transformed your military resume into an impressive civilian CV and you have managed to get the job, it is very important for you to make a great impression. You need to learn about your new job environment and how it works and work very hard to achieve the company’s objectives. One of the things you need to remember is that military terms are very different from civilian terms. People communicate differently and they have different efficiency and flexibility. Try getting used to this instead of doing things the way you are used to in the military.

If you have been struggling with identifying your transferable skills and creating a great resume that will make you get a civilian job after military service, worry not, follow these steps and you will land a job!

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