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Is Rocket Resume Safe – Creating a civilian resume can be a daunting task, but here are some tools you can use to make it as easy as possible.
When it’s time to leave the service, the key challenge is to translate all that you’ve learned and done into some kind of package that a civilian employer finds attractive. Even federal government jobs, if outside the military, will require civilian wording on the resume and application. Historically, this has been a difficult challenge.
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First, military job titles do not translate well to the civilian sector. When you say you’re a “fire detection specialist,” the recruiter will think you know how to monitor fires and belong in the Forest Service, or that you know how to detect arson, and maybe you should become an arson investigator.
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Almost no civilian recruiter will understand what you do just from your military job title, so you need to dig deeper to explain.
Fortunately, at the level of individual skills, you can explain yourself to civilian employers and get hired. So focus your resume on your skills. Here’s how to create a skills-focused resume:
Translate your military MOS/AFSC/Rating into civilian skills using an automatic skills translator like those at military.com or the veteran job matcher at careeronestop.org.
Example: For MOS Code 13P, Multiple Missile System Operations Specialist/Fire Control Specialist (MLRS Op/FD Sp) (Army – Subordinate), you will get the following skills on military.com:
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Copy and paste each individual skill word/phrase into the search bar, one by one. In each group of search results, you’ll find courses that are at least somewhat related to the skills you just entered.
You’ll notice that the top search result for “Driving/maneuvering skills” is a bit odd. It is a course that teaches professionals to work together and has little to do with driving.
So, hmm…, Driving/maneuvering skills translated to social maneuvering in the case of a match on one course. In this case, it is useful to choose another course from the list that is more about driving heavy equipment, the Class A commercial driver’s license course.
If you click on a course that is associated with a skill and go to its details page, you will see a section called “Experience: Work activities you can put on your CV”. Click the little plus sign on the left. When the section is expanded, it reveals sentences that are pure gold.
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Not all of them will apply to the current military occupation, but enough of them will work for you to list the things you’ve done in perfectly correct civilian English. Just remove them from the course description.
For example, from the table above, clicking on the Part 65 Airframe and Propulsion Certification Preparation course will give you the following sentences:
Of these sentences, only the underlined ones are suitable for 13P and will be included in the CV. This step needs to be repeated for each course in the list from step 2. It is helpful to follow steps 1 to 3 in the table below. Column 1 is the skill, column 2 is the corresponding course, and column 3 is the sentences taken from that course.
If you take all the found sentences from all the courses, the result will be a really long list of bullet points like the one below. From there, just remove sentences that describe tasks you never want to do in your new civilian life or that are far from the job you want. Seriously, if you don’t want to do something anymore, don’t advertise that you already know how to do it. You start with a long list like this:
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But you’ll end up with a much shorter list of points that make sense for the kind of work you really want. For a fire detection specialist, a full list of sentences could land you a job in a warehouse, driving a truck, or working in an office. Let’s say you want an office job because you never want to drive a heavy vehicle again. Then the list is shortened to:
Shortening this list to 5 or 6 bullet points will make sense if you have other military roles to add to your resume. You will photograph a maximum of two pages in total.
Repeat steps 1-4 for each military job you’ve had. This will quickly fill most of the resume with solid, meaty phrases. Then you need to add the required sections above and below.
A few words about federal resumes. You will usually apply for a federal job through usajobs.gov. This site is an online clearinghouse for federal civilian jobs. It has a resume builder where you just enter the required information, but be aware that a resume for a federal position is much longer than a civilian resume.
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Now that you have a strong resume of civilian skills, you have a starting point for your job search. Use the help of these organizations to get the word out.
Take your civilian resume design to Hire Heroes USA. They will review your resume and also practice interviewing techniques for civilian jobs.
Veterans Ascend will automatically segment your resume into skills and provide it to employers who are prone to hire vets from their site. A key benefit of Veterans Ascend is that if you apply for a job and don’t get it, it tells you exactly which skill you lack that prevented you from getting the job.
If you’ve been told you need to fill in the gaps, take advantage of military education and take the appropriate course at a community college. Sites like this will let you filter courses based on whether they offer GI bill benefits, for example.
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Once you’re happy with your resume—or, really, before—you sign up for a LinkedIn.com account, ask every civilian professional acquaintance you have to “friend” you on that account, post your resume, set your profile to “open to find a new job” and keep posting daily about projects and activities related to your skills and job search. You have the skills. Now that you know how to describe them, employers will find you.
It’s a good idea to include this in your resume’s summary statement. This should be included in your work experience section. Include it in your list of accomplishments or honors. Include it in your Talents and Certifications section. Get a second opinion on your decision.
A civilian CV is a summary of qualifications and experience and is likely to be the first piece of information an employer sees about you. If you already have remarkable skills and expertise as a result of your military experience. These tips can help you create a resume that stands out.
Some of the most rewarding military careers that can transfer to civilian life are: operating room specialist, dental specialist, military technical engineer, motor vehicle operator, etc.
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