Do your military skills translate into real life? They most definitely do. Every job in the military has components that transfer over to the civilian job market. Whether you were in the infantry or you were in an administrative position they both can get you into your next position and here is how.
Changing your Military Resume
You may be thinking, if I knew how to do that then I may not be reading this right now. But don’t be intimidated it is actually quite simple! First you start but listing the skills you have from your time in service.
The next step is just changing the key words so that they can match civilian jobs. You have to ask yourself, “What did I do? Who do I lead? How many people was I in charge of? What did I add value to?”
For example, an infantry man who served 4 years was a platoon sergeant that was in charge of 30 soldiers and had to manage all of them and their gear. So, this would be translated as: Supervised, trained, and evaluated 30 personnel, that supported the local population of 3,500, while maintaining a inventory list of 800 items with assets valued at 3M.
This shows leadership, quantifiable data, and management of assets.
What Employers Want to See
Employers want to see the technical skills that closely relate the job you are trying to obtain. Jobs that are in the medical, engineering, truck driving, and mechanical fields have skills sets that can easily be added. For the jobs that aren’t as easy to translate, it is important to focus on the example above.
Most contracts in the military are for more than two years. This looks great on a civilian resume. When you are able to stick to the commitment of being in your role, it shows that you will have longevity with the company. Companies are always looking to reduce turnover so as to not have to reinvest in a new employee. Most companies would rather get the fit right in the beginning, and reward you for staying.
One of the most common phrases we hear these days when it comes to hiring people is, “Is this person a good ‘culture fit’ for this company?” This may not make sense if you are coming out of the military since every one just has to get along regardless if they want to or not. But companies actually look to see if you have the right interpersonal skills, demeanor, even attire to fit in at their company.
Then of course as mentioned above, it is important to point out your leadership skills. This is important because management will want to see that you were coachable and able to grow at your last place of employment.
Get Your Education
Regardless of what branch of the military you served in, you may have access to amazing educational benefits. So use them! The Post 9/11 GI Bill, Tuition Assistance, Vocational Rehabilitation, and more were all created to help further the education of military members so as to have them get better jobs when they get out.
Some of them will actually help support you while you are receiving your education, like the GI Bill. They will pay the tuition, your BAH (housing based on the zip code your live in), books, supplies, and so much more. By going back to school you can add more value to your resume, so you can grow at the company you are at or get a different job. School can be the gate way to a better position and an easier transition into civilian life.
Transitioning from the military into the civilian workforce can be like going from one world to another, but it is possible. It doesn’t matter what job you did, your skills can be bring value to an organization.
Remember people have done it before you, so you can do it too!