Military To Civilian: 3 Tips For Career Success

A chief concern of many transitioning military to civilian job seekers is putting military experience into civilian terms in order to adequately market their talents. Civilians don't necessarily understand what a Non-Commissioned Officer is or the importance of managing a squadron munitions account. The following are my top three tips for “selling” military experience to Corporate America. Tip #1: Visit the O*Net Resource Center’s homepage at www.onetcenter.org. “Translating” your military experience can be daunting, so don’t go it alone. The Occupational Information Network (O*Net) program is the nation’s primary database of standardized and occupation-specific descriptors. The O*Net website allows you to search occupations by keyword, high growth industries, and more. Pinpoint the civilian job title that most closely matches your military experience and target your job search. The site not only breaks down your experience into terms civilians can understand (always avoid using military jargon and acronyms with civilian hiring authorities), it also provides insight into the skills they are actually looking for. Tip #2: The civilian workforce is profits-driven while the military is primarily driven by budgets. Many companies in Corporate America value the military job seeker’s training, teamwork, leadership, and dedication. However, for military job seekers who are new to the civilian workforce, some companies need to reiterate with prior-service members how important the bottom-line is. With this in mind, review your military experience and try to quantify any of these types of experiences on your resume:


  • Savings in money, time, materials, and manpower
  • Increased production and efficiency
  • Quality assurance
  • Safety record
All of these impact the bottom-line in Corporate America. When interviewing, reiterate these accomplishments, convey an understanding of the company’s need to increase profits and tell them how you are poised to make that happen. Tip #3: Use as many free job search resources as possible to assist with finding a new career. In addition to the services offered on base TAP/ACAP centers, there are many job boards, placement agencies and job fairs that cater to the military service member, again, providing job search services free of charge. Take advantage of as many of these as possible, such as the www.MilitarytoCivilian.com blog. By following these three tips, you will help increase your chances of landing a great civilian job after your military service. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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