Getting a job can be one of the returning veteran’s hardest challenges. Translating military skills and experience into civilian terminology is hard, but it can be done.
Ideally, you would be able to prepare for civilian life while you’re still in the service. Make sure to enroll in the Transition Assistance Program (TAP), which gives armed forces members access to employment information and training within 180 days of separation. Ask about VA benefits, request letters of recommendation, and try to get all your paperwork taken care of ahead of time. Work on your resume and LinkedIn profile and keep in mind that military slang won’t track in civilian life. Update your resume to match the job requirements.
Do you have the skills for the kind of civilian career that you want? Does your competition have more education? Consider taking classes, getting a certificate, or getting a degree. Now is the time to figure out what would work best for you in the long term. Make sure that any college or certification you choose comes from a well-respected school that’s accredited. Consider taking CLEP or DANTES exams for skills you already have, but might not be able to prove on paper.
While the armed forces discourage socializing to complete a task, you need to recognize that civilian life often requires socializing. Extend your network through LinkedIn to attract new professional contacts, and make sure to add a professional profile picture to your page. Don’t focus only on people at the top, because other people can also influence your career. Engage with all types of people at all types of levels in the career path of your choice.
You could feel a sense of culture shock when you return, but it will get better with enough patience and effort. Don’t expect everything to come together at once. Think of this as the long term strategic plan to accomplish your mission, with many pieces in play.
Forewarned is forearmed, so before you step into that interview, be sure you know how you’ll answer the most likely questions:
This is a behavioral interview question and your interviewer is trying to assess your problem solving skills. Give an example that demonstrates your ability to recover when things go wrong, not just when things fell apart.
Your hiring manager wants to know the honest answer, but make sure that the part you most dislike isn’t something that is within the core responsibility of the job. Highlight the main part of the position that appeals to you as your most enjoyable aspect.
Your interviewer wants to know if you’re really serious about getting this position and passionate about contributing to the next generation of innovation. To prepare, be sure to thoroughly research the company, including past achievements. Your answer should have a combination of details about the company’s work and your interests, tying them together to show how your own experience works in their best interest.
Describe why it was challenging and why it was necessary. This is to see what you consider challenging and why. Assuming that they ask further questions, your response will show why it stretched your skills, how you navigated through the challenge, and what the outcome was.
This is a question about your values. They are trying to get a feel for your character. Choose three or four and explain why they’re important.
Milspouses should consider using a resume format that isn’t chronological. While free templates seem like a good idea, they can be very basic and hard to individualize. Try using a functional resume or a combination resume instead of a chronological format, since you’re promoting your skills first. If you’ve had lapses in employment, a functional resume is your best best because it focuses on your skills and experience first, de-emphasizing the dates in which you have worked. Be sure to include any volunteer work you may have done, as that also counts as experience.
Spell all the words all the way out at least once, since you might be interviewed by a civilian. Be prepared to translate anything you don’t spell out.
If your struggle is in the frequent moves and job changes, it’s best to be up front with your employer if they ask. You can avoid looking like a short-timer by not listing the months on your work history and this can keep you from being tempted not to stretch the truth.
If you can’t find anything that might be helpful around your area, consider going back to school online or taking some in-person training for an extra certificate. Today’s tech environment means that you can start, continue, and finish a college degree without having to set foot in a classroom. Many state and private colleges offer entirely online degrees.
Contract work can be long-term temporary or go permanent, depending on what you and the company are looking for, and it’s a great way to try a new position out without having to commit to anything long-term. We have a wide variety of positions open across country, are military friendly, and open to having a discussion. Preview our openings at https://jobs.uspro.net/#/jobs
As technology has advanced, so has it’s involvement in the hiring process. Hiring managers no longer have to pick through hundreds of resumes by hand. The applicant tracking system (ATS) has taken care of that.
Many job seekers are unaware exactly how many companies use an ATS to screen resumes before they’re ever read by a human. As the technology becomes cheaper to use, the number of companies will increase every year.
Applicant Tracking Systems are designed to screen resumes for what are considered the requirements for the position, including education, experience, and other factors, such as security clearance. These systems routinely reject 75 percent of the resumes submitted on average. Most of those resume are rejected because they’re not optimized for an ATS scan.
Use a standard resume format so that the ATS can read your resume. Stick to the traditional chronological, functional, or hybrid resume format. Be sure to avoid using headers or footers, as those tend to be cut off.
This is an extremely common mistake because people tend to think only of impressing the hiring manager, the person, at the end of the resume search. Using fancy colors, designs, and fonts are a problem for resumes to get past the ATS, so be sure to impress the hiring manager with your resume content instead of it’s design.
While some systems are getting more sophisticated, the majority of ATS still require either a Microsoft Word Document or a .pdf format. Avoid sending anything else unless you’re certain that the company’s ATS is able to read it. Be sure to check the job description to see if there’s any instructions as to format.
Besides making sure that the basics like spellcheck aren’t replacing words with what you intend (thank you, autocorrect) but also be sure to spell out any acronyms. While a human understands that R.N. stands for “registered nurse”, you can’t guarantee that the ATS does. Make sure your resume is seen by writing out what each acronym stands for at least once on your resume, even if it’s under the Skills section or in a bullet point list.
This tip only applies to those staying in the same field. If possible, included the job title on your resume to match as closely as the position you’re applying for. For example, if you’re experienced in business development and you’re applying for a senior business position, writing “Senior Business Developer” will get you further through the ATS than simply “Business Developer” or “Experienced Business Developer”.
Before saving your resume, be sure to include your entire name in the file name and the word “resume”. For example, instead of saving your resume as: “Resume.Final.2020“, save it with your name instead: Jane.Doe.Resume.Aerospace.Engineer. Hiring managers receive far too many resumes under the title “resume” and yours can get lost in the shuffle. Include your first and last name, what document it is, and what position you’re applying for. Make sure they find your resume!
Before you click ‘send’, you can compare your resume to the job openings you’d like to apply to, and get the feedback you need. This impersonal feedback is coming from a computer, but that’s the system you’re trying to get past. Make sure to compare and contrast and your resume will make it past the 70% removal rate in no time.
You can’t just apply for a security clearance. Applying for a clearance requires that you’re working for a government approved contractor, holding political office, or working with some kind of government approved entity. To even apply requires that organization to sponsor you. There are no individual applications for a security clearance.
All applicants go under a thorough evaluation to determine if they’re loyal to the U.S. government and free from foreign influence, are honest, trustworthy, morally upright, and mentally and psychologically sound, and have no criminal history.
The process starts with the Personnel Security Questionnaire through the e-QIP website. Next is an investigation by the government’s Office of Personnel Management, the Defense Department, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence or another investigation service provider (ISP), depending on the position.
Agent investigating your application will interview your contacts, including current and past employers, neighbors, business associates, former classmates, college club members, and others that you have known. You will be interviewed and re-interviewed as the information is gathered to clarify any potential issues that could affect it. Any discrepancies uncovered in the investigation may be grounds for disqualification. The average length of the entire investigation can vary based on the position and clearance requested, but is approximately 120 days.
Received: The Investigative service provider has acknowledged receipt of the investigation and will be reviewing it
Unacceptable- The ISP decided that the investigation request is deficient. You will receive a message with the reason why your clearance was rejected. If you still need one, a new investigation will have to be submitted.
Scheduled: The ISP has determined that your investigation request to be acceptable and the investigation is ongoing.
Closed: The ISP has completed the investigation and it has been sent for adjudication.
Top Secret is applied to information that if it was disclosed to unauthorized sources, could cause exceptionally grave damage to national security. This level is re-investigated every five years.
Secret clearance is applied to any information that could cause serious damage to national security if disclosed to the unauthorized sources. This level is investigated every 10 years.
Confidential is the least damaging, with just “could cause damage to national security” and is investigated every 15 years.
Clearance re-investigations are more important than the original investigation because those people who have had those clearances longer are more likely to be working with increasingly critical information.
For military security clearance, it’s depends on your job and your assignment. In some cases, the job itself might not require a security clearance, but the location or the unit does.
The DoD (Department of Defense) operates it’s security program separate from other government agencies, with it’s own procedures. This means that security clearances from other government agencies would not necessarily transfer to the DoD.
While your line of work may imply that giving all the details is a good idea, keep in mind that resumes – including yours – will be rejected or accepted into a working pile within 30 seconds. Giving the manager an information overload is a great way to get rid of them. Keep it crisp and to the point.
Failing to spellcheck, proofread, and correct errors will sink any candidate. It’s essential that your resume is professional without any errors whatsoever, as it will be a reflection on your future work – or lack thereof.
If your resume isn’t tailored with the keywords used in the job posting, it can look like you have been mass posting your resume everywhere and will most likely be thrown out. Customize it as much as possible without giving too much information.
Instead of writing entire paragraphs for each of your past positions, it’s best to keep it short and sweet with bullet points. You will be able to tell the key points and quantify the results so employers understand the significance of your work.
Unless the job posting specifically asks for an objective, it’s not necessary. Keep it to a brief summary instead, explaining how your skills and experience meet the requirements of the open position.
Put the important information first, with your most recent job at the top and the essential skills you used at that position. Keep in mind that the reader will only skim your resume.
Selling yourself based on what you were able to accomplish previously will show the amount of growth you’re capable of and the amount of potential you could bring going forward.
One could argue that government funded space exploration hasn’t done anything for you lately. You’d be wrong. We have collected a list of inventions from NASA, used in space that help people right here on everyone’s favorite spinning rock:
Developed to measure the thermal radiation emitted by the eardrum, similar to the way the temperature of stars and planets are measured. This method avoids contact with mucous membranes and allows newborns and incapacitated patients to have their temperatures checked. And on a much bigger scale, planets.
Remember your first GPS that told you to turn into a lake? In the 1990s, scientists developed the software that corrects that and is accurate within inches. John Deere licensed the software and used it in their self-driving farm equipment. Nearly 70% of North American farmland is cultivated by self-driving tractors, based on the RTG software developed at NASA
Originally used as protection for infrared antennae on heat seeking missile trackers, this fancy transparent ceramics now improve people’s teeth.
Using scratch resistant glasses? Thank NASA for the technology, originally used to protect space equipment from scratching in space, especially helmet visors.
Used in first aid kits and emergencies for people in shock, these are designed to reduce the heat loss in a person’s body. These are now used worldwide, given to endurance athletes, the military, in emergencies, backpackers, refugees, and disaster victims.
Before it was a mattress, this padding was meant to improve protection for airline passengers in an airline crash. It’s now used in mattresses, pillows, both military and civilian air crafts, cars, motorcycles, sports safety equipment, amusement park rides, arenas, horseback saddles, archery targets, furniture, and both human and animal prostheses. Kinda useful.
Originally used to safely remove the fuel and electrical connectors from the space shuttles during launch. They’re now used to protect buildings from earthquakes, these absorbers were originally used
Originally inventing a nutrition enrichment was for long-duration space travel. A variation can now be found in over 90% of the infant formula sold in the United States – and was added to infant formulas in over 65 other countries.
There’s not a lot of electric outlets in space. Solar panels are still used on most Earth orbiting satellites, but were originally used as an alternative power source on the Vanguard satellite, t Now used in solar panels, it’s also possible to use them to power your house.
Now that we’ve gone over the basic list of how aerospace inventions have helped change daily life, just remember that this is only a partial list. There’s much more to space exploration then we know – and who knows what we’ll invent tomorrow?
Write your resume and cover letter with this in mind, no matter what. Avoid military jargon and make things clear for them. While staffing agencies are full of people experienced in this, most future civilian employers probably won’t know their meaning. When you explain skills, experiences, and what your military job entailed, future employers will understand how you’d help out, even if they don’t understand the title.
Explain your technical skills, such as understanding communications gear. Try to use examples where your interpersonal skills would be useful. Explain about being under stressful situations or taking direction from leadership or leading a team through a project. When going into an interview, you’re often up against a college graduate whose idea of teamwork is limited to a group project online or a presentation. This area is where military soft skills give you the strongest advantage. “Teamwork skills” means something different when you have to collaborate with someone else for every assigned task for several years, and “works well under pressure” means something completely different.
Depending on the company, hiring a new employee can be extremely quick or take several weeks or longer, depending on the position. Never assume that you know how that particular company works internally.
While you may be tired of your career, keep in mind that the civilian version will be a more comfortable version of the same work. It will be easier to translate those same skills, abilities, and experiences, and also help you make the transition to civilian life on a daily basis.
There’s no such thing as a perfect resume or perfect cover letter, so don’t take it personally if the phone doesn’t start ringing immediately. While your past assignments had clear-cut results, applying for work is much less defined. Make sure to apply to as many positions as you are even slightly interested in and then either email or call those places directly to make sure they received your application and resume.
Are you a veteran looking for work? Try our Veteran’s Talent Network
Need to leverage your resume further? Try 3 Ways You Can Leverage Your Resume Beyond The Interview
Been awhile since an interview? Brush up with How Do You Know If Your Interview Skills Are Good Or Bad?
While you immediately think of airplanes, aerospace engineers also work on multidisciplinary teams, engineering, design, develop and test spaceships, aircraft and missiles, and using knowledge spanning aerodynamics, avionics, propulsion, and materials science. Generally this requires years of experience, but not necessarily. This does require at least a related bachelor’s degree for entry-level positions. This position can require security clearance. This field can be either in private or public spheres, with both having a wide variety of openings.
Although they work in fields closely related to computers, electrical engineers develop electrical equipment involved in generating power, including controlling and transmitting. They are required to have in-depth scientific understanding about electricity and technology in various products and services. Electrical engineering encompasses power systems, communication, and can include industrial robot control, aviation, microprocessors, and digital broadcasting.
Surprisingly, software engineers have to focus on more than just testing the software. There is evaluating the software, with both a variety of automated and manual tests, showing if the software is doing as it’s expected. After running the tests, software test design engineers write up reports detailing the progress and outcome. This is crucial for any company to decide how to proceed. Software test design engineers also have to collaborate with others, both with developers at the beginning of the project to offer input on the potential pros and cons of structuring a program.
Along all the steps on the way, software test design engineers make suggestions regarding changes, improvements, and alternative to try. As part of their job, experienced software test engineers get called upon to monitor the work of technicians and other testers. This position requires paying great attention to detail and at least a bachelor’s degree in software engineering, computer science, or a similar field.
Being a mechanical engineers means spending your time designing, developing, and manufacturing tools, machines, manufacturing systems, engines, and other mechanical devices.
Mechanical engineers focus on how things work and ways in which to improve old devices and systems so that the machines run at optimal levels of efficiency and productivity. Mechanical engineering is the broadest of the engineering specialties, in that they work in a variety of areas, including production operations, manufacturing, agriculture, maintenance, sales, and possibly even administration and management.
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