You have served your country and experienced the world in ways that private sector employers will never fully understand. Since less than 0.5 percent of the U.S. population has served in the military, you may have already encountered the challenge of communicating the valuable skills you learned while in service to hiring employers in the private sector. That doesn’t mean you can’t successfully transition out of your military role into a civilian job that aligns well with your unique skills and experiences. 

There are steps you can take to perfect your resume so you are ready to begin your job search. Ideally, before you transition, you have already been at work building up your resume to reflect the work and duties you have performed while on active duty.  Although in military terms, these skills may not precisely mimic the qualifications listed within a job posting, these skills are certainly valuable, and applicable to most civilian positions in the public and private sectors. 

Here are some simple suggestions that will make this process easier:

  1. Security Clearances — Some government and private contract vacancies require a federal government security clearance, known as cleared careers. This requirement offers aid to those in transition because most military personnel acquire a security clearance while on active duty. Marketing your security clearance within your resume makes you an eligible candidate for these positions. Working in intelligence related fields also means that the skills you have built in the military will more directly translate and make the transition and hiring process easier. 
  1. Verification of Military Experience and Training (VMET) — The VMET is an overview of your military career with official military training and documentation. This document can aid in the resume process as it will list the skills you have gained while on active duty. Find this on the DoDTAP website and log in with your DoD, CAC, or DS login. Use this as a jumping off point when building a resume.
  1. Eliminate Military Jargon — It is essential that your resume is readable by private sector employers; therefore, using military acronyms and base or ship codes can be confusing. Translate military jargon to civilian terms, so that positions and skills are understood. 
27D Paralegal Specialist for the ANG, where I provided administrative support to…
I assisted judges and lawyers by providing legal and administrative support in the areas of criminal, family…
For example, instead of  “27D Paralegal Specialist for the ANG, where I provided administrative support to unit commanders and the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate,” pose it as “I assisted judges and lawyers by providing legal and administrative support in the areas of criminal, family, international, contract, and fiscal law,” which is interpretable and relevant to the field. 

  1. Put Yourself “Out There” — One way to announce you are actively job hunting is to create a profile on a professional networking platform such as LinkedIn. LinkedIn is an employment-oriented service, where you create a user profile that reflects your qualifications. It neatly displays your location, education, employment history, volunteer experience, and skills for your connections to see. Connections are virtual contacts made up of people you know. These individuals can endorse your skills, show your profile to potential employers, and can interact with the content you post. Employers (like SHINE) often post company updates, job search advice, and provide links to job openings on their website. LinkedIn is a great way to find jobs, build relationships, and establish professional credibility.

LifeHack! Catch recruiters’ attention immediately! When putting in your “title”, switch things up and use this space instead to state your qualifications and employment status. Some examples currently being used on LinkedIn are “Transitioning from the Military”, “Transitioning Military Professional” and “Title, Transitioning Military”.

  1. Denote your Service with Pride — Your time serving doesn’t end with your retirement or leave. You will always be a part of the United States military and you should wear and denote that honor with pride, both in the language you use in your resume and during the interview process.
  1. Seek Help– if after all of these tips you are still struggling to compose the perfect resume, head over to the online Veterans Employment Services Office. Here, you can find virtual job seekers training, which is intended for transitioning Service Members, Veterans, and their families. This website aids in the transition process by assisting these individuals with a resume that can be shared and read by employers.
  1. Target Companies Who Are Hiring Transitioning Military[5]  — One of the fastest and most strategic ways to find employment is to target companies that are specifically looking for individuals with military experience to fill contract government positions. Here at SHINE Systems, we offer opportunities in multiple areas of government support (i.e. defense, public safety, intelligence and technology)  and we are always on the lookout for quality talent. Whether supporting intelligence gathering in a foreign theatre or improving processes at a government agency, we put the customer first with our “One Mission. One Team.” mantra. Click here to view available openings, and apply to a position that fits your qualifications!

Have questions or maybe another tactical approach to job hunting after the military? Send us your thoughts!