Understanding the Transition: Resume Writing
What is one of the hardest aspects of coming back into the civilian world after serving on active duty?
Truth is, that is a pretty loaded question and the answer will more than likely be different for every person.
However, one of the most challenging parts of the transition stage is finding a job or even more importantly, finding a career.
Why is this so challenging?
Well there are a lot of reasons why it is challenging but let’s start with some of the basic explanations.
Communication between veteran applicant and hiring manager
That seems like a simple fix. Well, sure if you know how to translate your military experience into something that a civilian hiring manager with no military experience or background will understand.
Look at this example below:
Military position: First Sergeant
Duty Description: 20 year Army Veteran responsible for the care and welfare of 50 Soldiers. Held timely formations for accountability and daily reports to higher command. Increased Soldier physical fitness requirements by 90%. Receipt holder for over $50,000.00 worth of electrical equipment. Conducted weekly meetings with squad leaders for training and mission planning.
Civilian translation: Operations Manager
Duty Description: Operations Manager with over 10 years of experience. Managed the care and welfare of 50 military and civilian personnel. Fostered a positive career advancement atmosphere by increasing physical fitness standards by 90%. Responsible for the management, maintenance and accountability of over $50,000.00 of electrical equipment with zero loss. Held weekly meetings with subordinate leaders to develop and implement training, time lines and company objectives for employees.
Let’s break it down
Here are a few questions that a civilian hiring manager is going to want to know if all they get is the military example.
- You have been a manager for 20 years?
- What is a formation?
- Who is higher command?
- What is physical fitness? (is that a standard)
- What is a receipt holder?
- Who are squad leaders?
- What is a mission?
Can you really say 20 year veteran when you are applying for a management level position? From day one in the military were you a manager? Possibly, but not likely. It depends on your position, rank and experience. It is important to clearly and accurately speak on your military experience.
Most people know what a Soldier is, right? Well I hope so. But, we have to still speak in terms that civilians will understand. Saying military personnel is more understandable and still the truth. In the above example we added civilian personnel as well, because based on past military experience most 1SG also manage/direct a Family Readiness Leader, who are civilian. So we are able to add both.
Having a high dollar amount of equipment on a piece of paper with your name on it means that well if you get out of the military and anything is missing they are taking your pay. But, what does that really mean? It means you are accountable for that equipment by actually taking care of it and covering anything that is lost. In the civilian world that is a BIG deal. If you have been responsible for any equipment as any rank in the military and not lost anything, you better have that on your resume.
As leaders in the military you are responsible to lead junior leaders. It is imperative that we stress leading supervisors on your resume as professional meetings held for strategic and detailed planning.
This example of one of the challenges of veteran resume writing is not to scare you or at all discourage you. However, for veterans it is to help you understand why some companies are not calling you back for an interview. For hiring managers it is for you to better acknowledge the reason you cannot understand all veteran written resumes.
ONE in TWENTY veteran written resumes is understandable by civilian hiring managers.
Together we can make a difference, we can have more veterans in the work place and less homeless veterans.