6 Steps to Translating Military Experience to a Civilian Resume

Assume the Employer Doesn’t Understand Anything About Your Military Resume

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.

Provide a Complete Picture

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.

Ask About the Hiring Process

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.

Stay In The Same Field

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.

Be Patient

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?

3 Ways You Can Leverage Your Resume Beyond The Interview

Resumes are a powerful tool. They tell your professional story in a succinct and easily digestible way. But don’t think that they are built for the single purpose of setting you up for an interview.

Here are 3 ways you can leverage your resume beyond the interview.

1) Networking

The importance of professional networking hardly needs to be reiterated but your resume can be a helpful foot in the door when it comes to connecting with other professionals. While networking used to be all about attending meetings and mixers arranged by employers, today’s professional networking is much more flexible and innovative. Your networking strategy should be a balance of digital networking and personal connections.

When reaching out to new connections, send them a copy of your resume. That way they know who you are and why you are interested in building a relationship with them. You could even go so far as to ask for advice on how to write a stronger resume or what experience you should pursue to be in a situation where they would consider hiring you. The information you can receive based off a conversation around your resume can be very valuable. You might not get a job offer out of the conversation, but there is still plenty to learn from your professional network is you have the guts to ask.

2) Social Media

If you don’t already, you should consider LinkedIn as the necessary digital equivalent to your resume. In fact, your LinkedIn profile should be structured very similarly to your resume. It should highlight your most impactful achievements, the results you have gained from your experience and hard work, and the value of your work for employers. It can build off those basics to supplement with links to other content, conversations with industry and interest groups, and also, of course, your connections with other professionals in your industry. If you are not actively building your network online, through social media, your resume is the perfect place to start. From there you can build a social media profile that gets you the industry attention and respect you deserve.

3) Online Portfolio

Your portfolio of previous work is one of the most engaging pieces for employers reviewing your professional marketing material. An online portfolio is a more visual representation of your resume. You can add video and photos, or other graphic elements to make the reading experience more interesting. You can build off the bullets and basic information to really tell the story of who you are on the job. If your resume tells employers what they need to know to interview you, your online portfolio shows them why they should hire you. Buffer a bare-bones portfolio with the interesting personal projects and volunteer work that help add depth to your resume. Make sure that just like you would in your resume, the projects in your portfolio are the best examples of the work you are capable of, and keep your portfolio updated as new opportunities come along.

Looking for a new career?

For more advice on building a career in these and other top industries, connect with a recruiter at USPRO today.

 

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