It is still a sad reality, but to date, veterans are still struggling to gain employment. After years of exposure to a clear chain of command and a uniform, integrating into the civilian working world then comes as a culture shock to many of them.
The job hunt process remains difficult but not because they lack qualifications and skills. The tricky part is translating military experience into terms recognizable and of value to employers.
Below are ways how you can write about personal qualities in your CV.
1. Avoid Military Jargon
Yes, you were in the military, but that part of your life is now over. You are embarking on a new career path, and you need to acknowledge that. We are not saying you forget your military background, all you need to do is tone down the language. Your resume should include the things you got from the military, but it should be in a language that everyone can understand and comprehend.
2. Subject Matter Expertise
There are skills that you gained from your time in the military that most employees do not possess. Some companies such as government agencies and private contractors seek these skills. Here, you have a higher chance of getting a job since all you have to do is leverage your skills to the job description. You do not have to get physically involved in these jobs, but you can act as a consultant as you already possess the operational skills required to accomplish the task they present. For such jobs, your resume should include all the skills that are relevant to it. If it is a consultancy job, describe how you would be consulted for certain missions since you were among the few who could come up with a strategic plan.
3. Describe Your Skills
In the military, it’s not only war that goes on. Some duties need to be done for the entire campaign to be successful. One day you may be on patrol duty and the next you are behind a desk. State how the skills that you have gained are transferable to a new work environment. The trick in this scenario is to translate your military encounters into nonmilitary ones. Some sites offer comprehensive coverage on this such as EduBirdies. If you were involved in a gunfight and came out unhurt, do not say this, and say you work well under pressure without losing your cool. If you rescued people from a dangerous situation, say you can provide a safe working environment.
4. Security Clearance
For a military veteran, their security clearance is a valuable asset for them while seeking to gain employment. Civilian companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars running checks on employees and seeking information that they cannot access independently. Depending on your security clearance, employers will jump at the chance to employ someone who only needs to make a phone call or log in to their account to get certain information. State this fact in your resume for you to have the upper hand from the rest of job seekers.
From being capable of working under extreme circumstances to adapting to new challenges at a moment’s notice, a military veteran possesses skills that most employers are looking for in potential employees. How well you conform to challenges every time they pop up or how you were able to interact with different people of different cultures during your stationing is a boost. They show that you adapt to different scenarios well and in any job. Changes occur every day and employees should be able to shift with the changes. Including such details in your CV improves your chances of landing that job. Your military background also gives the impression that you are someone who can come up with solutions when times get tough.
6. Organizational Skills
The way you coordinated tasks or successful missions in the military can be portrayed as skills that employers are looking for in a person. They show that you are a person who knows how to organize things efficiently. Do not shy away from bragging a little about your organizational achievements in the military without divulging much detail.
7. Team Player
In the military, there is a saying that two is one and one is none. It implies that you need someone else for you to succeed. You were part of a group where you got to share almost everything, assigning tasks, assisting one another and having each other’s back. In any company, you will have a superior and employees who you will work together. Stating in your resume how you were a team player in your days in the military and how you were pivotal in your groups' success is important. It shows an employer that you work well with others which is a skill that most organizations require for their success.
Besides being in the military, there is leadership all of us possess and had to apply at one point in our lives. For you as a veteran, you probably had to use it more than the average person. Give examples of some of the situations you were a leader and the results. Your unique experiences on how you lead your comrades makes you look like an exceptional employee in the eyes of an employer. An employer looks to the future when hiring someone. Your leadership skills and experience shows them that you have the potential of climbing up the ranks to managerial positions.
9. Work Ethic
The military is not like any other job; there are days you will work for hours on end without rest or sleep and other days you will have little to do. Through all this, you were required to maintain a certain level of work ethic and respond whenever called upon, never mind the time of day. These routines instilled in you a habit where you do not mind working no matter the hour. Employers like this as there are times you will be required to work overtime. Military veterans tend to stay put until they finish a task that gets handed to them. Time management is also another ethic that the military instills in its people and this gives you an added advantage. Mention all these habits that you possess, and you will make an employer feel like you are a catch that they should not let go off.
10. Critical Thinking
In your days in the military, there are times you were forced to come up with solutions to problems on your own. Employers value people who can solve roadblocks on their own. Critical thinking is something that you need to possess as you are faced with numerous challenges every day, and each requires a different approach to fixing. Some of the words to use in your CV to describe your critical thinking ability include accuracy, analytical, creative, efficient, detail oriented, practical and industrious. They spice up your resume making you a top candidate for whichever position you are seeking.
As a military veteran, your background is a plus in your quest for employment. All you need is to know how to phrase the skills you got in the military in a way that an employer can see their value. When you were active in the service, there are numerous skills that you got to acquire, some even without your knowledge. These are skills that can be employed in the day to day running of any company. So now you know where to start!
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