Military to Civilian Career Transition Are you in the process of making a transition to civilian life after a career in the military? Are you uncertain how to proceed with this important transition? If so, welcome to Regis University Career Services’ Military to Civilian Transition Workshop. Introduction When transitioning from the military to a civilian career, you will find many options. Searching for a job that is a good ‘career fit’ and utilizes your transferable skills (and conforms to your separation date) can be difficult … but it can also be challenging and exciting. It is important to begin this process as early as possible because the important decisions that you make when departing the service will impact your financial future and your ability to live the lifestyle that you and your family want. The following topics will be covered in this workshop: Tips to help you prepare for your transition Moving from the military into a civilian job Ways of relating your military service to the civilian job market through your resume When to use military jargon in your resume General information on resume writing Two types of resumes Articles on the military to civilian transition Websites with information on the military - civilian transition Other websites to aid you in your job search Books on the military to civilian transition More sample resumes Job search information through Regis University career services Tips Here are some tips to help you prepare for your transition: Start early! Don’t wait until the last minute to begin your job search. Even if you are one or two years from separation, start investigating companies in which you have an interest - as well as recruiters who can help you with your career transition. Starting early builds knowledge of the job market, puts your profile in front of people who can help you, and gives you an understanding of the process necessary to successfully find a job. While you are still in the military, take full advantage of any additional training and experience that will help you with your civilian job search. Be honest with yourself and spend some time thinking about what you are passionate about. It’s vitally important to be aware of your military skills and how they translate into the civilian world… You will need to do research to find out what various military skills and job titles are called in the civilian workplace. Some job seekers will have an easier time adapting their skills to civilian jobs, but for those whose qualifications aren’t directly transferable, you will need to start thinking about how you have used your skills to achieve tangible and measurable results. Acknowledge skills such as the ability to organize, analyze or lead. Emphasize time management and communication skills and conflict-resolution experience and expertise. Accept the fact that some of the career decisions that you make may end up being based partially on what the market demands are as you near retirement. Consider going out and doing some informational interviews – This strategy is great for fact finding as well as networking. Visit your Transition Assistance, Family Service or Career Resource office for information and assistance during your transition. The best place to find information regarding your transition from a military to a civilian career is on the web! Use it effectively and your chances of finding the ideal civilian career are greatly increased. The Internet can be a powerful tool in your job search…You can get tips on job search strategies, effective resume writing, networking techniques, interviewing skills, and informational interviewing. You can also post your resume on the web for interested employers and recruiting specialists - and view millions of job postings in the civilian workplace. Moving From the Military Into a Civilian Job Switching from a military to a civilian career is a big step and it can be extremely difficult. Military occupational specialties are categorized differently than civilian occupations. A military officer, for example, may have experience managing and motivating large groups of employees, handling complicated logistical situations and developing and executing plans and strategies… all typical executive roles. However, the military would most likely describe the officer’s expertise in terms of a military specialty such as nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare which wouldn’t be of interest to most civilian companies. For this reason, most military officers who seek corporate roles don’t submit traditional resumes listing their military positions in chronological order. Instead, they usually create functional resumes describing their accomplishments as managers, supervisors and administrators. (You will find information on Functional Resumes later in the workshop.) There are approximately 8,500 military occupational specialties and 40,000 civilian sector occupational codes and titles. When a military professional leaves the services, the two must connect. It is important when transitioning from the military to civilian life to think differently - start thinking of yourself as a civilian. Many servicemen and women aren’t prepared to make this mental shift at first. Military personnel usually are more comfortable using service jargon, titles and acronyms that they have used throughout their careers. But if you use these terms on your resume or during an interview, you will leave the recruiter and hiring managers bewildered. This is especially true if a recruiter is young or hasn’t had military experience. And finally, capitalize on your military experience. Ex-military are highly qualified, skilled, trained, educated and disciplined – and they are accustomed to working in highly stressful situations. Ways of Relating your Military Service to the Civilian Job Market Through your Resume One of the most important things you can do when transitioning from the military to the civilian world is to translate your resume for the civilian job market. Preparing a resume that effectively translates your military experience for civilian employers is challenging. Civilian employers rarely know how to apply experience in the military to civilian work - so someone making this transition needs to help civilian employers translate his or her work experience, skills, accomplishments and strengths. The first thing you will need to do is change the tone of your military resume. It is common to see military resumes that are long, broadly focused, and filled with military language. This emphasizes the fact that you are coming from a different culture. It is, therefore, important to change your resume and emphasize clear job descriptions. Your military occupational specialty is just one aspect of your career. It is likely that you have been trained in a variety of disciplines. When writing your civilian resume, describe the position in a sentence using civilian language and follow with a bullet list of responsibilities and accomplishments stated so that the average civilian will understand the importance of your achievements and the measurable outcomes. Tailor your document to the needs of the hiring company and the available position. Focus on your specialized knowledge and what you can offer. This can help you narrow the scope of your resume. Information that does not relate to your goal and the position for which you are applying should be eliminated from your resume. Some people believe that this includes lists of unrelated military awards, training, and distinctions. Others feel that these awards and distinctions should be included on a civilian resume. When to Use Military Jargon in Your Resume Randall Scasny makes the following comments in an article published in MilitaryHire.com: A common concern of job-hunting veterans is whether to include or eliminate military slang or jargon from their resumes. Military jargon, like any slang or colloquial language, is filled with acronyms, abbreviations, secret meanings, and obscure nuances that can confuse someone who is unfamiliar with the jargon. But eliminating military jargon from your resume very much depends on your career goal and the company, organization or industry you are seeking to be employed by. And it should be dictated by a simple question you can ask yourself: Will the person understand the jargon? If the answer is yes, by all means use it; if not, the jargon should be simplified for the layperson to ensure that they understand your skills, experience, accomplishments and achievements. When should you use military jargon on your resume? When you apply for positions within the defense or military-contracting industries. They are not outsiders to military jargon - it is the language by which they communicate. They want to see this jargon, acronyms, etc. This jargon acts very much like keywords to assist them in matching you to their open positions. They also like to see much longer, detailed, and information-rich resumes than industries outside of the defense establishment. Where military jargon becomes a problem, in my experience, has been when a veteran seeks career opportunities outside of the defense or military-contracting industries such as consumer goods, financial, materials, manufacturing, automotive, real estate, and, even the Internet dot-com industries. These industries may not understand military jargon because the hiring managers may be unfamiliar with the military - or the industries may have their own unique jargon. In industries outside of the defense or military contracting industries, the best advice I'd give to a veteran who is assembling his or her first resume is: Remove the military jargon. This is especially true of retirees. I've noticed the longer the veteran is in the service, the more military jargon is contained in his or her resume. I've also seen that retirees are more likely to copy and paste into their resume a military job description from a military career manual or the write-up from an annual performance evaluation. If you do use copy-and-paste, you will have a fantastic resume for applying to the armed forces. But for a civilian hiring manager, your resume will be incomprehensible. Military jargon inhibits the resume reader from reading the resume information quickly and easily. It must be removed so anyone can read your resume and make sense of your experience. General Information on Resume Writing Contact Information Your full name, current address, telephone numbers, and e-mail address. Remember to use a “professional” sounding email address like firstname.lastname@example.org. Career Objective State what position you are seeking and describe your skills, abilities, experience, and interests that back up your candidacy. It should be work-centered, not self-centered, and should emphasize what you can bring to the position, not what the position can do for you. All other information on your resume should focus on the objective. Examples: An Assistant Programmer position with Veemax Consulting. A Sales Representative position with Merrick Pharmaceuticals. Profile or Highlights of Qualifications Emphasize keywords, skills, and experience that are relevant to the position. Detail skills in foreign languages, computer hardware and software, management, and laboratory skills. Education Begin with current school (Regis University) and list your degree/s, major/s, and minor/s. State the date you graduated or expect to graduate. For each school you've attended list city, state in which they are located. Include academic honors, awards, scholarships, projects, or publications. Do not include your high school information. Generally, list your GPA if 3.5 or better. You can also list your GPA in your major if it's better than your cumulative. Military training can also be listed here. As a current student or a recent graduate you may include a list of the relevant courses that complement your career objective. Work Experience Describe any paid and non-paid experiences which have given you workplace skills. Detail your title, employer name, location, dates of employment, and responsibility. Once again, focus on experience and skills that are relevant. Focus on the work you performed, your accomplishments/contributions/achievements, and what skills you used/gained while there. Be specific--use numbers, figures, and descriptions of the environment. You'll need to give the reader a mental picture of experience. Community and Personal Involvement State the name of organization and what role you played. Be sure to describe the organization for readers who may not be familiar with Old Dominion University or the Tidewater area. Don't just list organizations, instead state contributions, offices held, and demonstrated skills. Include dates of membership. Professional Organizations List memberships, offices held, dates, projects, certifications, and licensure. References Do not include names and addresses of references on your resume. List this information on a separate sheet of paper and either submit it with your resume (if requested to be sent with resume) or bring it with you to interviews. Include the name, title, business address, phone number, and e-mail address of each person. Use the same header you created for your resume. Two Types of Resumes Chronological resumes present information in a timeline approach. This is the most common type of resume - although Functional resumes are often more effective for military men and women who are transitioning to the civilian workplace. A chronological resume is best used if you have demonstrated experience within your desired career field. It highlights the positions you have held and the companies for which you have worked. Advantages: Many employers and recruiters expect and prefer this format Employers can easily scan chronological resumes Provides a straightforward history of your work experiences Disadvantages: Can demonstrate a lack of work experience Will show gaps in employment history Employers can guess your age if you include older experiences Functional Resumes group work experience and skills by skill area or job function. Use functional resumes to showcase the work experience that is most important to your career objective. The functional resume can be used to minimize employment gaps, and highlight more relevant skills instead of position titles and companies’ names. This type of resume may work best for military men and women transitioning to the civilian workplace, first time job seekers, those re-entering the workforce after a long break from employment, and those who are changing careers. Advantages: Provides a flexible approach De-emphasizes lack of experience in a field Minimizes possible age discrimination Disadvantages: Employers may expect to see chronological format Resume Tips Font Styles - Use Times New Roman, Arial, or Tahoma. Font Size - Use Font Size 14-16 for Name; use Font Size 12 for the body of the resume. Length - No more then 1 page for cover letter, 2 pages for body of resume, and 1 page for references. Areas recommend for bolding within your resume- Name, Headings (Objective, Education, etc), Degree Title, and Job Title. To keep your resume eye appealing do not overuse underlining, italics, or bolding. Include a heading on the second page of your resume of your name and page 2 in case it becomes detached from the front page. Do not print out your resume back to back. Employers are used to seeing two separate pages and therefore may miss the second page of your resume if it is printed on the back of the first page. When using bullets, you do not need to put periods at the end of your statements. The idea behind using bullets is that you are not making complete sentences. Other Websites to Aid You in Your Job Search Military Transition Regis University Career Services Federal Positions MonsterTrak Dice America’s Career Infonet America’s Job Bank Books on the Military-Civilian Transition From Air Force Blue to Corporate Gray: A Career Transition Guide for Air Force Personnel, by Carl S. Savino and Ronald L. Krannich (Impact). From Army Green to Corporate Gray: A Career Transition Guide for Army Personnel, by Carl S. Savino and Ronald L. Krannich (Impact). From Navy Blue to Corporate Gray: A Career Transition Guide for Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Personnel, by Carl S. Savino and Ronald L. Krannich (Impact). Job Search: Marketing Your Military Experience, by David G. Henderson (Stackpole Books). Resumes And Cover Letters That Have Worked For Military Professionals, by Anne McKinney (PREP Publishing). Out of Uniform: A Career Transition Guide for Ex-Military Personnel, by Harry N. Drier (VGM). Resumes & Job Search Letters for Transitioning Military Personnel, by Carl S. Savino and Ronald L. Krannich (Impact). Military-to-Civilian Career Transition Guide: The Essential Job Search Handbook for Service Members. by Janet I. Farley More Sample Resumes Project Management Medical Management Logistics Management MBA Resume Information Technology Job Search Information through Regis University Career Services Career Services can help you with your job search and career exploration anytime during your studies at Regis - or as an alumni. Go to the Career Services website to find information on conducting an effective job search, resume writing and interviewing skills - or call (303) 458-3508 or (800) 388-2366 x3508 to schedule an appointment with a career counselor at any of the Regis University Colorado campuses. Thank you for participating in our online Military to Civilian Career Transition Workshop. We hope it has provided you with ideas and information which will help you with your transition from the military career to your civilian career. Please take the time to fill out the evaluation form for this online workshop. If you have any questions or comments regarding this online workshop, please contact Career Services.