Translating Your Military Skills into a Resume
Crafting a polished resume is a difficult task for most. This, however, is an unavoidable part of the job search process; one that can be more challenging for veterans. Not only can they be unsure of how to translate their military experience into civilian terms, but may be apt to include military jargon that a civilian employer will find confusing. There are several tips veterans should follow as they write a resume.
1. Outline your skills and accomplishments. The first step when writing a resume is to identify and map out all of your skills, certifications, accomplishments, and accolades. Don’t forget to include education, volunteer work, and memberships in associations. Jotting down all your accomplishments will help to build the framework for your resume.
2. Translate military experience into civilian experience. The second step will be the most time-consuming but also the most important. You’ll need to accurately translate your military skills into "civilian code." One handy resource is the Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook. It outlines earnings, training and job descriptions for different types of jobs. Enter your DOT or MOC code and you’ll receive equivalent job titles and descriptions that will match up with the skills of your military position.
3. Outline your career path. After you’ve done some research, you’ll begin to identify the type of job that is a good fit. Target a specific job title, research the occupation, and outline a career path. This will help you craft a clear objective which will form the basis of the rest of your resume.
4. Write a customized resume Don’t prepare a generic or over-generalized resume. Reference the job posting that you are applying to and mirror the skills, if applicable, within your resume’s content. When writing a resume, it’s best to use a functional format as opposed to a chronological one. Functional resumes focus on your skills and experience first. This type of resume de-emphasizes the dates in which you have worked. Employment history is secondary, and is listed under the details of your skills.
5. Get feedback. After you’ve outlined a rough draft, solicit feedback from other veterans who have undergone the job search process. Also ask a family member or friend in the civilian workforce to review it as well. This will help determine if all terms and accomplishments are demilitarized and if your objective is easy to understand. Getting advice and having someone scan your resume for errors will also provide some fresh perspective.
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