Many companies boast about initiatives to hire veterans or what outside groups their organizations are a part of to increase the number of veterans in their workforce. Yet the transition from a service member to a civilian professional doesn’t come as easy as one might believe, even with these sorts of programs or interest in hiring veterans. One main obstacle is making a connection from your time in the service and what experience you gained to what a company is looking for in a new hire. When you are job searching, the content you have on your resume, answers you provide in the interview, and even expectations after being hired aren’t the easiest to translate.
For example, if your resume often includes acronyms and terms that only military professionals would understand, recruiters can feel as if they are trying to read a foreign language. Companies need to be able to understand what you have accomplished in your past to see how it would fit into their organizations. Try to focus on the skill sets companies are looking for and integrate (in civilian terms) how your experiences showcase those needs.
Remove military lingo and active combat verbiage; replace with skills and traits that are understood within the civilian workforce.
Whether you will be in a management title or not, organizations want to hire individuals who can motivate their coworkers or take the lead on projects. Think back to how many people you led, what is your leadership style, and how were your team members accountable?
Did you manage your squad to reach their operational goals? Lead and prepare your squadron for specific missions through practice drills?
As a service member, teamwork is often expected or known by the outside community. BUT understanding and being able to communicate how you have worked within a team, what size of a team, and your ability moving forward on a team will be important in your transition from the military to civilian workforce.
Think about the operational goals or focus of the squad you worked with. Were you able to communicate with outside entities/departments and team members to successfully complete the task-at-hand?
Missions, training, drills, and additional operations do not go as planned 100% of the time. Very similar in civilian work – projects change, clients want something different, or an outcome isn’t what you had planned. Companies look to hire candidates that are nimble, that can adjust when circumstances change. This trait can be shown in both military and civilian jobs, it is all about being adaptable.
How did you handle a situation where you were given fewer resources or team members than originally planned?
Organizations want to know that they are hiring people who will get the job done, whatever that might be. Understand in your own personal military experiences what successes you had. Think back to your own military roles and what the goals were within that position.
Did you successfully handle the logistics of supplies and resources for your entire squad? Have you earned awards for specific accomplishments or successfully completing a difficult task?
The better you personally understand how your military experience relates to civilian roles, the more likely you will be able to connect the dots for outsiders reading a resume or chatting with you in an interview.