How To Translate Veteran Experience To Land A Civilian Job

Guest Contributor
How To Translate Veteran Experience To Land A Civilian Job
Sponsored by, VOWS

We spoke with Tara Carlidge, Recruiting Manager at Citi and former Personnel Officer in the U.S. Army, to ask her about what advice she has for veterans trying to translate their experience serving into the corporate/civilian world when they go to write their resume or interview. Here’s what we learned:

First, there are numerous resources out there for you to use when it comes to writing a resume or preparing for an interview. Some of these resources include a application, the American Council on Registry Transcript Systems, and Joint Services Transcripts. Some veterans even opt to use a professional resume writer to aid them in creating their resume in a way that civilians can best understand.

Second, speak with people who have already transitioned from the military to the corporate world. Ask them to share their resumes with you. Pay close attention to what they put on their resume, how they phrased it, and how they highlighted military accomplishments in civilian terms. Take from multiple people’s experiences and compare them to your own; then use this information to craft your own resume.

Third, use your network to provide advice on your resume. Ask military members, past military members, mentors and civilian friends to take a look at your resume and tell you what they think. Ask them about the strengths and weaknesses of your resume. Ask them what they do and do not understand. Perhaps your greatest asset is civilian readers, as they can tell you best where you use military terms that they don’t quite understand. Maybe you thought you were highlighting a great military accomplishment, but it’s actually phrased in a way that a civilian won’t understand.

Fourth, be your own advocate. It’s normal for veterans to want to be humble when it comes to their accomplishments, but if you don’t advocate for yourself and highlight your strengths and accomplishments – who will? Don’t downplay your successes in the military; rather, use them to provide examples as to why you are the best person for the job to which you are applying.

Finally, be concise in your resume writing. One of the best tools for writing a concise resume that highlights your achievements while providing context is P.A.R. This stands for Problem-Action-Result. First, use a strong verb, such as “spearheaded,” explain the problem at hand, your action to solve that problem, and the end result. You can speak more to this experience in your interview, but now you have a concise explanation of an achievement on your resume.

This article is one of nine in a 9-part series WayUp has completed in partnership with the Bob Woodruff Foundation and VOWS in an effort to help Veterans entering the civilian workforce. To sign up for WayUp and be discovered by employers, we encourage you to go here.