Translating Military Skills into Civilian Ones


Translating Military Skills into Civilian Ones
Courtesy of Hire Veterans

Today, more than ever, there are lots of veterans looking to find jobs in the civilian workplace.  These men and women have been pre-qualified and trained by the U.S. government.  Yet many are having difficulty finding employment.  Why?

Part of the problem may be that veterans are not able to easily translate their military skills into ones that are marketable to the civilian workplace.  Says Sandra Dunn of What veterans need to understand is that they have excellent skills, if they can just learn to sell them properly.

For example, were you a platoon leader or do you have any training in commanding fellow soldiers?  It makes you an ideal candidate for a classroom setting.  Maintaining discipline, getting people to listen to you is one of the key ingredients in being an effective teacher.  Try applying for instructor jobs in your area of expertise…


Were you a military recruiter?  Then you have had some of the best sales training experience going.  Your major skill here is your ability to speak and be convincing.  That’s what sales is all about:  building trust and rapport with clients. 

Were you required to liaise with the local population where you were stationed?  You would have developed skills in understanding the specific needs of your constituents and how best to serve them.  That easily translates into consulting or customer service positions.

If you supervised troops, that’s management.  If you monitored and tracked progress of projects to make sure things were delivered on time, that’s project management.  If you were responsible for logistics, that’s facilitation.

Take a few minutes and look over your resume.  Ask yourself the important question What does my resume say I can do for a potential employer?  If it is hard to figure out what you are offering, employers won’t spend time on your resume.  Make sure it says: I can do ______ for your civilian organization because in the military I had experience doing _______.  Make the employer WANT to hire you.  Make them NEED your skill set.  Good luck!


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