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The Best Ways to Translate Your Military Experience Into Your Civilian Career
By John Tansill
June 24, 2021

One of the hardest parts of transitioning out of the military is adapting to a corporate environment and finding a civilian position. Military members have tons of experience and can be a great fit for a variety of civilian jobs. However, hiring managers will not always see how military skills can translate to a corporate job. Here are some tips to ensure you are marketing your experience to set yourself up for a successful civilian career.

  1. Identify your goals.

Your resume and the networking you do will look very different depending on the career path you want to take. There are many options available, and it have can be overwhelming to narrow it down to a couple of career paths. Even though this step might be the hardest one, it will make things easier moving forward. Some questions you can ask yourself when narrowing your path down are: Where do I see myself in 10 years? Or which fields have interested me in the past that I have not explored yet? 

  1. Identify your transferable skills.

Your military skills can be incredibly valuable in the civilian job market if you know how to market them. Some of the skills that first come to mind are a positive attitude, excellent communication skills, time management skills, deep and broad technical skills, and the ability to work well in a team. Both the military and the private sector focus on efficiency and results so use this to your advantage.

3. De-Militarize Your Experience

The military has its own language, rank structures, and jargon, which can seem like a foreign language to non-military hiring managers. Even though you might be more comfortable “speaking military,” it is important to make sure everyone can easily understand you and see your potential. Look at some civilian job descriptions to get some ideas of the language you should be using. There are also some Military Skills Translators that can be very useful.

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4. Create a full picture of your military experience.

When talking about your experience, you might be focused on your technical expertise. Although it is very significant, civilian jobs are looking for a combination of skills. Make sure you are highlighting your technical, leadership, and interpersonal skills and how they overlapped throughout your career.

5. Credential your expertise.

Once you have identified your skills and how they translate to your civilian career, you might notice that you have the experience but not the credentials, or that you have gaps that might hinder you when looking for your dream job. This can be resolved easily through courses and certifications. Many times, you can even get your certifications for FREE with your benefits through programs like COOL.

Starting a new career is daunting, and you will have to go through many changes. Focus on your accomplishment and be confident your skills and you will be off to a great start.

No matter in which stage of your transition you are SkillStorm is here to help. Our programs are designed to accelerate your career by giving you the skills you need to complement your valued military experience. If you want to talk to an advisor do not hesitate to reach out at military@skillstorm.com

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