To My Brothers and Sisters in Arms,
Thank you for your service to your country.
Making the transition to civilian life will require a few adjustments – I have been there. To give you a competitive advantage, I recommend that you;
Change how you talk: Drop the “Sir, Hooah” and all the military jargon and pick up the jargon of your new profession.
Change your voice mail: Delete all military references and make it professional. Drop the phrase, “In the military…” Instead use, “In the past…” When answering a phone just say, “Hello”.
Change how you look: Let your hair grow longer. Stay physically fit. Invest in some nice clothing; no shiny shoes or buttons on your lapel.
Change your resume: Drop all the military titles, jargon and buss words – no one will understand them. Stop listing what you were responsible for; no one cares. List what you and your unit actually achieved, maintained or exceeded based upon the military’s Standards of Excellence (SOE). Use transferrable skills like led, managed, directed, supervised, coordinated and facilitated, and list the details: # people involved, degree of difficulty, problems resolved, SOE, and recognition received. Add any Security Clearance. Civilians are called associates, team members or employees, not personnel or troops.
Example: Instead of, “Responsible for deploying an Infantry Platoon to Iraq”,
Use, “Led a 25 member team that moved from Texas to Iraq, with 9 vehicles (plus weapons, radios, …), traveling 500 miles via rail to Galveston, 3700 miles via ship to Kuwait, and 450 miles via convoy to our desert base in Iraq, ready to accomplish our security mission, with no accidents, injuries or loss of equipment, all in 21 days.” When your resume’s done, ask a non-military person (not your spouse) to read it to see if he understands it. Then, get it on Linkedin, Monster, and Career Builder.
Change how you search: Search the web for (hire former military) companies that hire/assist in the placement/recruiting of former military. Stay in touch with all your military peers and superiors via Linkedin. You may need them as a reference later and you have no idea where they’ll be working after they leave the military.
But, always keep: The military values you acquired during the time you served, your sense of duty and commitment to something greater than yourself, and your ability to make things happen under difficult circumstances
Bottom-line: Focus on your future: Use the Post 9/11 GI Bill to fund additional education and training (like certifications, licenses and computer skills like MS Project) that you can add to your resume to make you more marketable. If you don’t have a college degree, go get one. If you have one, go get an MBA.
You earned your benefits-now use them!