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Making The Transition From Military To Civilian Employment

By Tony Jacowski – Analyst for the MBA Journal  

Very often, commercial employers lack an appropriate understanding of military jargon used in military-style resumes, and thus tend to dismiss eligible military candidates. However, ex-military applicants can make an effective transition to civilian employment by simply making a few minor but valuable changes, from the first stage of writing a cover letter to the final interview session with the prospective civilian employer.

Below are some useful tips that will be helpful for any ex-military candidate seeking to secure a civilian job.

Focus On Your Strengths

Commercial employers look for the skills and experience that match the job profile. Thus, you should make it a point to elaborately and clearly draw the attention of your recruiter towards them. Most importantly, you need to fully understand your abilities and talent and relate them to the position you are applying for. Military personnel definitely are viable candidates, if not more so, for just about any job as civilians are, since the traits that have been instilled in them during their training compel them to reach for higher standards of excellence.

Not only do ex-military candidates make excellent leaders, but they are also able to work efficiently under extreme working conditions and pressure. At the same time, they are very good team players and resourceful, efficient decision makers. Due to the intense training sessions that military personnel go through, they are often the right choice for positions in the commercial world that require policy making and strategic planning. The result is a trained officer who is capable of carrying out their responsibilities to the best of their ability, even in a large corporate work structure (not unlike the military).

Individuals from a military background certainly have the potential to achieve success in any field due to the nature, size and structure of the duties they are used to in the military. Generally, the longer their stint in the military, the smoother the transition into the civilian world will be. Due to their extensive training and experience, ex-military candidates are often suitable for higher positions, such as supervisor or senior manager.

As ex-military candidates are well-disciplined, they can adapt easily to new work environments and are able to quickly learn different aspects of the commercial world in areas such as financial analysis, human resource management, administration and so on.

Reinvent Your Resume

Through the resume, the military applicant should seek to market themselves effectively and focus on how their abilities and skills will benefit the company. It is best to stay away from a military-style resume. Prospective commercial employers are least interested in rank or title, but they are interested in knowing how candidates will contribute to the company.  

If you are an ex-military job candidate, stick to a functional resume that not only spells out your military experiences, but also highlights your professional capabilities.

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