Marketing Military Skills on an Job Application

As you prepare to seek out employment in the civilian world, one of the most important steps for you to take will be the compilation of a professional looking and comprehensive resume, which will emphasize all of your skills and background in terms that a civilian employer will be able to understand and find applicable to the civilian job for which you are applying.  Your service in the Armed Forces has no doubt endowed you with an extensive set of skills due to the training and development programs offered within the military, not to mention on-the-job experience. Whether you are applying as a government contractor, private industry positions, federal jobs, or anything in the private sector, your resume will need to be accessible to the civilian reader and showcase your phenomenal set of skills.

One of the challenges of crafting a civilian-friendly resume from a military experience is the fact that not all of the language and jargon with which YOU are familiar will “crossover” or be easily understood by a civilian reader.  To ensure that your resume hits its target in conveying the great trainings and job skills you have, you want to take some time to “translate” your existing experience into terms that will be applicable to the job for which you’re applying.  The Veteran Jobs website features a fantastic “translation tool,” which allows you to enter the titles of positions you have held in the military, and provides you with a detailed description (suitable for explaining to civilians) about what duties and skills you have handled in that position.  It’s the perfect way to fill out your own resume with the information a prospective employer will want to see, in terms they will be able to grasp.

You don’t just want to highlight your duties, though—you should also be sure to highlight your accomplishments.  Mention awards or recognitions you have won, special projects or operations you completed or led leadership positions for which you have been recognized, and so forth—with a brief descriptor of any item which may not be familiar to a civilian reader.

Another great resource can be found in taking a little time to look at sample applications and resumes written for jobs similar to those for which you are applying.  You should be able to find an abundance of resources on the web.  Take a particular look at the language being used in those samples to describe job experiences and skill sets; the terminology may be different from what you’re accustomed to using in the military context, and you want to use language that’s easily accessible to the potential employer who will be reading your resume.  Ask a civilian acquaintance, preferably one in the particular industry to which you are applying, to review your resume and offer suggestions before you submit it for a job application.  Finally, take pride in your service and your background!  You have done our country a service—and developed your own skills in the process, so go forth confidently in your search.

You can learn more about other jobs in the Armed Forces industry.




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