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How do I stand out in job searches, when I have no college, or certification outside of military training?


Montey Blain Copperas Cove, TX

My job as a 19 Delta, seems to have no civilian equal. A lot of jobs require prior experience, training, or college. I've applied for more jobs then I can count. I even had one interview, that I thought went well. I didn't get the job. Financially I need to work, so going back to school is not an option at this point.

23 July 2016 50 replies Interviews



Steve Hall Beaverton, OR

A few things to consider:

First, at 5% unemployment, the economy is essentially at full employment -- there is always a percentage of people who are transitioning between jobs so zero is simply not achievable. This should tell you that there is a mismatch in something: your approach, employer expectations, your expectations, ...

Second, employers would ideally like a fully available highly qualified pool of workers that they can draw from when needed, and lay off when not needed. Essentially a zero cost to onboard and zero cost to layoff pool of workers. Naturally this is not realistic, it simply does not exist. However, its useful to think about this perspective.

In larger companies all resume's are key word searched by computer algorithms before a recruiter sees them. To get through this filter match as many words, as your background and experience allow, with the description of the job. Deb Miller has provided some excellent advice on how to do this. Be as exact as possible.

Reach out to your local 'Unemployment' office. You are likely to find that that are actually working as your local employment office. It is highly likely that they can help with matching your skills with jobs that need those skills. In my experience they were a very helpful resource to many of my coworkers who were laid off when Danaher moved hundreds of jobs over seas to cheaper labor markets. These folks in manufacturing needed to go through a similar skills identification and mapping exercise, in order to find work in today's economy.

Avoid jargon. 19 Delta means nothing.

Are you approaching this from the perspective of what you want, or what you can do for the employer? If you are approaching this from what you want, you need to change that focus. Yet, don't sound desperate. Avoid the mistake of not knowing what you want in the longer term and not knowing what your needs are. These should be part of a discussion during the hiring process, so that the employer has a reasonable bet that you will be sticking around a while.

Ideally this is about match, mutual fit, mutual benefit. Is it possible your resume is being rejected because you are applying below or above your skill set?

Consider taking a focused approach. Identify an industry that has a number of opportunities, something you can be passionate about, then learn as much as you can. Tailor your resume and application based on that knowledge. Demonstrate enthusiasm, reliability, team work, and the other personal qualities that all employers look for. If you have found a good fit for you, the enthusiasm should be easy and natural. Do not under estimate the value of reliable, smart, determined people who can solve problems. If you can be one of them you should be able to find work.

Network with others who share your service background. Reach out to them for help, guidance, leads, experience, and insight. Your network is likely to be more useful in your search than hitting the recruiting boards.

30 July 2016 Helpful answer


Kimberly Smith Chicago, IL

Thank you for your service.

Even though the skills may not translate directly from a job function, focus on the definition behind the skills you can leverage. Maybe things like leadership if you were in charge of a team or sub team - expand on that, teamwork and how you played a critical role, rewards and recognition you may have received for going above and beyond, precise communication skills maybe specific to learning new code or languages that translates into your ability to adapt, etc. Look for companies that provide on the job training, there are many especially needing technical skills.

AT&T is a huge opportunity and highly supportive of vets. Because the job skills are so specific for many of the technical roles, they are trained (I believe paid training) ahead of time for many weeks depending on the role. The goal would be to highlight and demonstrate your ability to quickly learn new things, interest in technology, technical expertise, making things work, building things -- stuff like that.

Also, keep your resume to one page, and start at the top listing the things that best describe you as a person, not as an employee. Bullet points. 9 bullets in 3 columns works great as an intro. Some examples would be "resilient under pressure" or "highly task oriented" or "precision focused on goals" or "lauded as team leader", things like that which quickly will give someone a sense of who you are and your main traits.

I hope that helps! Good luck

3 August 2016 Helpful answer


Estella Rummelein Englewood, CO

Hi Monty,
Please remember that you are more than just what your military resume may reflect on paper.
If you would like help, please send me your resume and area of interest along with your dream job and I will look at them and provide feedback.
You are an experienced military trained and disciplined individual.
Good luck and know I am happy to help.
THANK you for your service.


Corey Riddle Redwood, MS

I have hired many employees over the years. The majority were fresh college graduates with excellent educational experience, but not a shred of practical experience. And certainly, not an ounce of leadership experience.

I have hired a dozen Front Line Leaders (production supervisors, shift supervisors, for manufacturing, warehousing, transportation jobs) and there are 3 things I look for:

1) Leadership Experience. 2) Industry Experience. 3) Education. In this order. Each of these attributes are important. Education can be obtained later. Industry Experience will come with time. But Leadership is a key skill that I need you to have coming in the door. Leadership is NOT taught in undergraduate classes. Leadership is taught through good and bad experiences, lessons learned, and being mentored by different types of leaders.

I say all of the above for this: when all things are equal on paper, I will take the 19D's, the 11B's, the 12's, the 13's, etc, over someone who has the same number of years of experience in an industry relevant job.

I see a lot of posts above recommending jobs in service or sales, installers, transportation, equipment operators. I say why? Why sell yourself short?

There are hundreds of employers in this country that NEED people with leadership experience. They NEED people who can run a crew, manage a difficult shift, or make the performance goals for the month. You have to make that bridge between the discipline, skills, ethics, and drive that have been ingrained in you through your time in the Army, and translate that into what employers need.

Are employers looking for folks that can score a 100 on their APFT? Probably not. But they are looking for individuals who have drive and passion and conviction and ambition and discipline to reach the goals of their organization.

So your job is to translate your experience and your lessons learned into something marketable to that hiring manager who doesn't necessarily understand the traits of a 19D. Make them understand. Make yourself desirable.

i.e. "Scout Crew Leader on 2 deployments" could be described on your resume as: "Experienced Crew Leader who maintained high standards and morale in challenging environments, working sometimes 24 hours per day. Saw to the needs of my crew daily in remote areas of operations." This becomes marketable. "Maintained Crew Served Weapons. Engaged Enemy through Dismounted Patrols" becomes "Equipment Maintenance in harsh environments where reliability was critical. Routinely performed under high pressure/high demand situations." This is marketable.

We are all here to help you. We are your Google Translate.


Mark Russell Altamonte Springs, FL

Thank you for your service. Your post has generated a great deal of valuable feedback, tips, and advice for planning. I encourage you to take these suggestions on board, certainly in the area of removing military specific jargon. The job market is in good shape today. In my organization, we go out of our way to search for individuals transitioning from active duty to civilian roles. In my industry, technology services, your past experience can often quickly translate to company job requirements. In addition, being able to secure an active clearance is of tremendous value. If you need any help with your resume development, please feel free to contact me.


Teresa Greenwood Hartford, CT

Thank you for your service. Translate your skills from the military into relatable skills and avoid using military jargon that those that are hiring you cannot understand. Examples of action words you might use: Lead teams to accomplish goals, Improved performance time or outcomes, Motivate people to perform at higher level, Focus on details to fully evaluate situation, Develop strategy to achieve objectives, Develop a plan, etc.
All the best.


james cahill Placerville, CA

See my LinkedIn publications under James Cahill about efforts to change transferability of military education for college credit.


michael convey Longboat Key, FL

First of all thank you for serving our country.

It is most important to identify a field, career and/or industry that you feel parallels your interest, experience and/or education. Once you have done that , you need to develop for yourself a resume and career objective. Your resume needs to be concise, and if possible results oriented that illustrate some success in what you have done while in the military. Most employers will be interested in demonstrated success in leadership and teamwork, and any citations, promotions or awards you have earned should be included on the resume. The resume should be tailored to the position you are applying to fill, but should include education, experience along with the aforementioned citations, rewards and promotions. Once you have developed the resume, the search for the job should commence .

Identify corporations that you believe would have fields you are interested in pursuing. Obviously, banks or brokerage houses , if you are interested in finance should be pursued. Most corporate websites have open positions, and if not, you can located a name to direct a resume or make a phone call. Employment agencies and executive search firms are good sources. Websites that are similar to Monster are another source to pursue.

Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving.

Mike Convey


DF Jackson Washington, DC

A Hot certification in a marketable field might do the trick. Maybe a Veteran supported program might finance it. These days, you gotta have something fresh and marketable. Best of Luck.


Luis Torres Henderson, NV

Check out, If interested, fill out the form under Vendor and I will be in touch.

Thank you.


Michael Apt Bend, OR

Thanks for trusting ACP AdvisorNet a chance to support you.

A quick lookup of 19 Delta shows a many faceted list of duties. Eyes and ears, employment of weapons systems, maintaining these and others.

I see many have written you, dozens, so your reading time is likely taxed. Here is the short version.

1) Intelligence agencies are the eyes and ears of policymakers, more like advisors, a constellation of jobs therein, cities of professionals of every type, consider this.

2) My secret sauce (if you will) is mine every problem for opportunities, what are your personal issues that only you know, perhaps overly or under concerned with appearance, clothing, what makes other peoples eyebrows rise when you mention a belief or experience you know of? Practice seeking every possible advantage in every problem, make it part of your mentality. The most unimaginable problem, most useless, seems to be cancer (in my estimate), yet, you will never find persons more awakened than those dying.

Again, lots of tips sent you already, so please do update and reply in the most direct terms possible.

I care.


Melinda Long West Des Moines, IA

Great advice from everyone above!!!

Please definitely take advantage of those offering to help with your resume each person will have a different perspective of what to say and how to place it on the resume. It will be good to hear a variety of opinions then form your own unique "stand out" resume that feels like your own but can translate the military jargon to civilian jargon. :)

I am also happy to help, once you have had the opportunity to talk to the gentleman that offered their assistance feel free to reach out to me. I am a SR Recruiter for Wells Fargo and we have positions seeking military professionals as well. Key word for you to search on in job descriptions: SCRA (Service members Civil Relief Act).

For Wells Fargo I would want you to check out our Operational Risk Consultant 2 openings it's a starting point to get your foot in the door but still pays well and has a bonus attached.

This role has a ton of upward mobility as well, as a 2 it also has level 3,4,5,6 as you get more years of experience you will start qualifying for those opportunities and then management if you have that career goal actually once you reach a level 4 you can go into a manager role pretty easily if you wanted.

We have many other opportunities that you could check into several of our military folks have gone into collections it just depends on what you are targeting or need for income. We can talk through that to focus on appropriate level openings.

I am happy to help with resume career coaching etc. we also have a specific team of recruiters focused on our military hiring willing to talk to people and they attend or hold multiple military focused career fairs.

If I can be of any assistance to you, please reach out to

We also have several managers on this website so feel free to connect and talk to any of them as they can speak to any openings that may be a good fit for you then keep you in the loop as well.

Wells Fargo 2015 Corporate Social Responsibility Report (public statement)
◾Hired more than 1,500 veterans, for a total of 8,200 self-identified veteran team members
◾Provided $68.5 million in financial education, jobs assistance, and home donations for military members and veterans since November 2012

Expanding opportunities for women and diverse talent, including a goal to increase military veteran team members from 8,200 to 20,000 by year 2020.

With approximately 265,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States.

Our career services include attracting, hiring, and supporting veteran team members. As a result of this commitment, we earned our first MilitaryFriendlyEmployer®and MilitarySpouse Friendly Employer® titles in 2014 from G.I.Jobs, was ranked on the MilitaryTimes list for “Best for Vets: Employers 2014”, and named #7 on the DiversityInc. 2015 list of “Top 10 Companies for Veterans”.

**Wells Fargo is committed to hiring and retaining active military personnel and veterans. Our goal is to employ 20,000 veterans by 2020. **

I look forward to hearing from you please reach out anytime, I am more than happy to assist you in your civilian career search as well wherever that may lead.

Thank you so much for your service and Happy Holidays! :)


Melinda (Mindy) Long

Senior Recruiter – CLG Risk & Compliance
Talent Acquisition
Wells Fargo Consumer Lending Group


John Nance Murfreesboro, TN

You may want to check out companies that specifically have military hiring programs. I work for AT&T and we have a program that will match your MOS to open positions within the company. If you are willing to relocate, there is a world of opportunity there.

Also, remember, your first position in the company doesn't have to be where you want to end up, however getting your foot in the door opens a ton of opportunity going forward as you take advantage of training and networking within the company. I know a bunch of engineers that started off in retail sales or in the tech shop. Its not a quick process, but perseverance will pay off.

You need to figure out where you want to be and what you want to pursue, and then work out a plan to get there. Also, I would suggest using someone who creates resumes professionally to review your resume and offer suggestions. Your resume needs to accentuate the aspects of your experience that employers are looking for: leadership, teamwork, initiative, etc. and not necessarily the job activities of the Cav Scout.

Good luck!


Gerald Mannikarote Houston, TX

Hi Montey,
You've received a lot of great advice here. I was laid off a while back and took a while before I got back on my feet.
Steve gave some great advice in regards to finding a job. Many of his points were what I used to get calls from companies to offer me interviews.

If applying online, match your resume to the key words on the resume. Online applications are scanned by computer software before it reaches a human's hands. Figure out what skills you've attained through the military is transferrable to a job. Tailor a NEW resume for EACH job application.

Put your tax dollars at work. Go to the unemployment office and use those resources. They are there for you.

Reach out to your network. Ask friends and family to ask their friends and family about open positions in various companies. At your young age, your network may be limited, so this is a great time to develop a network. You can do this by joining groups at your church or place of worship. Volunteering with a group that has a true cause.

Volunteer. As a volunteer, you can add that to your resume to show that you have transferable skills that can be applied to a new job. Additionally, volunteering will allow you to grow your network.

I hope these tips help you.

Warm regards,


Diana C. Navratil La Quinta, CA

My name is Diana Cuz Navratil I am a Certified Performance Life Coach with over 500 paid coaching hours. I have been a Life coach since 2008. I donate my coaching sessions to the Men and Women who have raised their right hand to defend this great country of ours. I coach people on where they are NOW in their lives and move them to where they desire to be. The past is important it has brought you to where you are today. Coaching is not about advising or telling you what to do. You have all the answers within you. The question is finding what holds you back from getting what you want. I am here to coach you as you transition back into civilian life.
Diana Cruz Navratil CPC


Jim Rohrbach Evanston, IL

Hi Montey!

Did you get a job yet? If not, forward me your resume and we can talk this coming week. I can share some useful networking and interviewing tips with you.

Jim "Da Coach" Rohrbach
847 982-3268


Henry ("Dr. Hank") Stevens Fort Lauderdale, FL

EVERYONE has assets and limitations. Thoroughly explore your talents and exploit them. Take the time to identify and embrace those talents. Study them. Ask yourself, once you know these talents, "What jobs utilize said talents?" Then, pursue them . . . . here is a link to a FREE website that will help you identify said talents.

Contact me off this site if you need help interpreting same . . . .



Dan Dalton Hayward, CA

You may want to try the Security field as that is the most Military experience you have. Running security at a Mall or for a large may want to try that route.


Kenton Tjarks Grand Rapids, MI

Although 19D may have no equal, the leadership skills you've learned in the army are your biggest asset.

As a SSG with 20 years, you were likely a squad leader, maybe even some Platoon Sergeant time as well. Your ability to effectively manage that many people to accomplish a mission is what employers need in managers. But do be careful, civilians tend to be more sensitive than soldiers.

You may also want to consider using any education benefits you have toward pursuing education part time. Maybe look into Certificate programs through local colleges or online. You are probably still pretty young, educating yourself as much as possible will open doors down the road.


Larry Louwagie

if you want to look at the real estate business call 503 705 5883
I'm with HomeVestors . (We Buy Ugly Houses)
we hare having rapid growth across the country. My only regret was not being in this business many years ago.


Mark Ryall Greensboro, NC

There are so many ways that companies screen candidates - this could be an automated software program looking for key words or a 15 second review of a resume by an internal or external recruiter or HR person. I would suggest one of the best ways to stand out from the rest is to work your network of folks you know and even ask one of your contacts 'who would be interested in benefiting from my experience' - ending each networking conversion with this question. Even though your direct contact may not have a specific opportunity, she or he will usually provide at least one name - and therefore your network expands. Please remember that companies fill their positions with candidate referrals vs. responders to an ad. Good luck and thanks for serving!


Nicole Winston Eden Prairie, MN

Thank you for your service.

First, look for a company that is very active in hiring military vets (there are quite a few) and many of these companies know the value of a military career can mean considerably more than a piece of paper from a school.

Second, you need your resume to showcase the skills you learned in the military that transfer directly into the position(s) you are seeking. You want to show (in your resume) the results you've received in those roles or the accomplishments you've made in those roles. You should focus on your top and most specialized skills in your resume. Point out things you did (projects, things you were in charge of, special recognition) that makes you stand out as a candidate.

Also, something really important to consider is that there are a lot of times where you have to apply to hundreds of jobs and go on dozens of interviews before getting a job.

You may want to seek out freelance resume writers/editors (as they are cheaper then resume companies) and seek out some freelance career counselors (make sure these "career counselors" have a proven track record of working in hiring, training/development, talent acquisition or HR.) I actually do this myself on occasion and I have unfortunately seen too many people come to me after a bad experience with others telling me horror stories due to the lack of expertise in the field. Often when seeking career counselors people can fall into a pit with very expensive "life coaches" who claim to have job hunting/interviewing experience but have offered such terrible advice as "Ask them 3 questions at the end of the interview" (This part is good), but then they said... "One of those questions should be 'What do you do for lunch around here?" I thought this (potential) client was kidding when he told me this. I told this person to fire that "life coach" immediately and work with someone else.

You need someone who has worked in the hiring process, training and development or HR area for at least 10 years for large companies and hired people of varying skillsets for varying levels of professional and entry level type jobs. Often these same people can serve to review your resume.

Good luck!

Good luck!


mike gordon

If you want to hang out in Cleveland for a while I can get you working, and start your training in the trades. Machining and sheet metal fabrication. You can reach me at

Mike Gordon Sr


Bob Molluro Wilmington, DE

Montey your situation boils down to two major areas. 1) Networking enough so that you can get introduced to the right person. This takes perseverance and effort however it will make all the difference in the world. Every important position I have ever had or major contract I closed was because I got to the right person. Writing resumes and sending them to thousands of people is unlikely to get the interview you are looking for.
2) You also have a Marketing problem as you believe that you don't have the credentials they are looking for like college etc. The issue is what are the skills and experiences they are looking for and how can you solve the problems they have.
I just went thru this with my grandson. He was applying for a promotional opportunity in the company he works for. Sixteen people were interviewed. He was told he could dress casually for the interview. He also normally has a beard. I said, "I don't care what they said to you, How are you going to differentiate yourself from the other candidates"? I told him I have interviewed over 200 professionals in my career and everyone had on a suit.
So he showed up dressed like the CEO, dark blue suit and conservative white shirt and tie, clean shaven. One of his skills is he is an accomplished sports reporter. Although this is not something they were looking for it clearly shows a unique set of skills and initiative. The fact that he is regularly published is impressive. His writing skills are exceptional. His research skills are evident in his writings. I could go on. The long story short is he was the one person selected out of 16, and the hiring manager made the comment how happy he was to have a person with his broad range of skills and experiences to be joining their team.

Just a few last comments. We practiced seven interviews until he was totally comfortable and felt fully prepared. We discussed techniques on how to build rapport quickly. We discussed how to answer the question "what are your weaknesses?" He realized that this was an opportunity to show how he dealt with a situation effectively and that it was really a strength in disguise. In my experiences landing a job starts with differentiating yourself form the rest of the pack and showing how your skills will help the hiring manager. Good luck.


Christopher Murillo Medina, OH

Every job is unique in that unless you have done the same job at another firm, chances are you will not have the exact skill set for the job (even if you did there is no guarantee that it will make you successful at the job you are applying for). That being said you may have the fundamental qualities that would lead to success in a particular career field- the ability to learn quickly, a good work ethic, honesty, and adaptability. I would highlight any achievements you have from your service that support you having these qualities.


Sarah Steele Fort Lauderdale, FL

Hi Montey,

I'm sorry you're having a rough time finding the right job. It should be easier after helping to keep the rest of us safe, right??

The reality is that, as has already been said, recruiters have a job to do and they want to do it as quickly and easily as possible for the client. That job is to find candidates who have the relevant skillsets to recommend to the hiring manager.

Your resume does not get you a job - your resume only gets you an interview. So, think about the resume differently. Think about it as providing a document that gives the recruiter a good reason to want to meet you. In larger companies it may even be put through a scanner that searches for key word matches before it even meets the eye of a human being.

So, take the key words from the job description and make sure they appear somewhere in the resume (and, yes, that does mean having to tweak and redo your resume for EVERY position you apply for - a total pain I know but it's the best way forward).

As was already said - use key words a civilian recruiter will understand. 19 Delta means absolutely nothing. If that appears on a resume all it tells me is that this is someone still caught up in the military mindset, who will find it hard to translate his language to our corporation.

Nobody likes to feel to be made stupid by admitting they don't understand what words mean - including recruiters.

Finally, with regard to the qualifications - I know it's a pain but unfortunately in the USA everyone is very caught up in paper qualifications. But it's part of the game, Your resume is up against many others going through that scanner (human or robot) for the same job. No degree gives them an easy reason to put you on the 'no' pile.

My advice, as has already been said, is to contact your local community college. You may even find that your work experience gives you more credits than you think. And check out funding. You can then put the name of your college and the degree you are studying for on your resume from the minute you start to study. You don't have to wait until you are finished to include it.

This does two things, for the robots it means you will have the words Bachelors and the name of a college on your resume.

For the humans it tells us that you are willing to be teachable, you are willing to do everything needed, it backs up our thought that you are hard working.

Take evening classes, do it by online study, whatever works. Recruiters don't care. We have a box to check on a checklist. Give us a reason to check it.

Best of luck. You've got this! It can be done. Many have done it before you.



Paul Trejo Austin, TX

Montey, thanks for your years of service. You can find jobs that match your unique experience, if you turn it over a few times. Civilian jobs are obviously different from Military jobs in most ways -- but in some ways they are the same. Focus on the SAME parts.

For example, did you use computers? That's a start. Also, a 19 Delta is a Cavalry Scout who gathers and distributes data on opposition forces. That can translate into Civilian work in several ways -- because Civilian business is a COMPETITION.

Marketing is one avenue -- where competitors gather field data to use in fighting for market share. It's not that big of a stretch.

Another avenue is Security. Not mall security or bank security -- I'm thinking of Beverly Hills Security, where multi-million dollar Agent contracts are traded every month on the basis of corporate spying (which is normal in that field). That's data gathering in hostile territory for your own team, right? It is clearly interesting work with real pay. There are actually Spy Stores in Beverly Hills to supply such activities -- so this is real.

A few words about any job interview; there are two rules: (1) never "confess" about anything you did wrong in your working past; and (2) never "complain" about anything or anybody in your working past. No employer wants to hear that screech.

Present yourself as a problem solver, and always have a cache of short anecdotes (two sentences each) about yourself when you solved a problem similar to the one they are currently asking about.

Your employer will be your new CO. Just tell them that you want to make them wealthy -- and you'll get the job.

Things are looking up. Best wishes to you and your interesting future.


John (Casey) Roach Greenwich, CT

Have you left the service or are you simply thinking about leaving. If the former, where are you living and where would you like to live. Send me your resume and if I have some thoughts I will pass them on. John "Casey" Roach


Dov Kawamoto Woodbridge, VA

If you have some social skills, and want a traditional job, the service sector has a low barrier of entry and room to move up.
If you have some social skills, not belt fed, and don't need to be told what to do, look at sales (just get a second opinion on the particular business/product or service). If you're in that category, and interested in the firearms/sporting goods market contact me
For most combat arms types, if they're not too stupid, I think should start their own business (actually, there are plenty of people in business who aren't too smart and seem to be getting along). Doesn't need to be big, or creative, just something that makes money. Check out SCORE. You can also contact me if you want more talk on this.
Lastly, I would say it is more important to do something, anything, do volunteer work, write your memoir, go on a pilgrimage, rather than say you've got nothing & looking for a job.


Gloria Brown

If you expect to earn a good salary, you will need to accept a low paying job, while you go to school on a part time bases. Training and certification is a must in any field.


Mike Jahrig Richardson, TX

Unfortunately most companies now days will not train entry level employees. They require you to bring some skills with you so you can hit the ground running. That was not always the case but it is today. Fortunately there is a solution, the Community College system. With your military work ethic, you are one step above the average student. Community Colleges provide an affordable way to acquire salable skills in areas that employers can use, specifically in the engineering and technology fields. Also in some cases, for example, if you entered the service from Texas, Texas will pay your tuition. Community Colleges are designed for working adults. They have many night time and weekend classes and also more and more online courses are available. There are also MOOCs (Massive Online Oriented Courses) such as EDx and Udemy where you can earn certifications and even university degrees at home through internet connections. I have taken some of these personally and can highly recommend them.


Cynthia Tomei Geneva, IL

Montey, thank you for your service. My suggestion is to meet with a career counselor or resume writer who can translate your skills to the civilian job market and then have your skill set be the most prominent section of your resume. Also, I work with hundreds of manufacturers who are looking for people with your work ethic. Wherever you are or will be residing, google 'manufacturing associations'. The need for skilled talent is severe. An association like this may be able to connect you with companies that are hiring.

Good luck,


Kelly Thrasher Denver, PA

Montey please send me your resume. Let's start there. Also where are you willing to locate for work? Are you set to draw retirement? Have you gone through the VA nut roll yet? Yeah I know lots of questions BUT we're here to help. The real trick is aligning what skills you do have with what is needed and translating them. I can only guess what a Cav Scout has so list every course you've taken and got some kind of certificate from and we'll start from there.

My e-mail is


_ _ Urbandale, IA

Hey brother,
I was an 11B in your situation, and the road ahead is not an easy one. I assure you. Even worse, I was looking in 2009 when the economy was truly garbage. There was no jobs to be had. The nasty truth is that no one cares about your experience unless it is directly relevant to the job the posted for (I.e. You came from a competitor doing the same job). However, employers see someone with general work experience and a degree as trainable and willing to learn the complexities of business.
My recommendation is to work harder than you ever had in the Army. The good news is you are prepared for it. As a 19D, you know how to endure hardships. Go to school at night or online - it doesn't matter. The institution that you went to gain that degree matters less, having the degree is important. And I mean Bachelors.
I worked full time and went to school for 6 years knocking out both my bachelors and masters. During that time, I got married and had 2 kids. I gave up my social life and all other extras for those 6 years. I probably slept on average 6 hours a night, some days I might have gotten an hour. But it was my only way out and up to better things.
If you know this is your path, DM me and I'll walk you through the mechanics.


Eric Moeller Spring, TX

I agree with Emanuel above, in that you may have to set your sights a little lower as far as job title.
I was a Team Leader for Explosive Ordnance Disposal (Bomb Squad). At the time before terrorism was so prevalent, there were not many opportunities for this skill. The ones that WERE out there required you to be a police officer first. To be a police officer you had to have prior experience blah blah blah.
You and I both know that you have skills that are very valuable for whatever job you do. As Staff Sergeants, we supervised (manager), trained (trainer) and led our teams to accomplish the mission. The problem you are facing is exactly how you can convey that message to potential employers.
To go far, you're going to need to get at least an Associates Degree. That's just a fact. As a hiring manager I had no interest in anyone, prior service or not, with a HS education.
I myself only had a little college when I left the Army after eight years. SO, here is the path that I followed, and it has worked out really well for me. Take from it what you will.
- Went to a contract agency. They are going to want to talk to you of course to get an idea of what would be a good match. This will afford you the opportunity to show 'em what you've got.
- Got placed inside a major corporation as a temp (Kodak).
- Once there, I was able to SHOW what I could do for them. When the temp assignment ended, I got picked up as a regular employee. It was different from the temp assignment: they hired me because I had Command Skills, a great work ethic, great communication skill, strategic thinking, etc.
- Once I got into this job, I went to school. I worked full time and went to school full time. It wasn't easy for me and my family, but you're used to hardship and this is nothing in comparison to what you've faced.
- I graduated with my AAS in the two years required, with Honors, Dean's List and as a member of Phi Theta Kappa.
- ONCE I HAD MY DEGREE, it immediately opened up more doors inside Kodak that were not there before. I had the education AND the experience within that company and immediately got picked up as manager of a call center.
- Then, once I had THAT experience everything else fell into place.
- I picked up some technical (IT) training along the way, and this added to my arsenal of experience and skills. I got hired (and moved to Texas) by Dell as a developer. Within two years I was managing the team. The team got larger, and my breadth of management skills went along with it.
- Today, I'm a Vice President at JP Morgan. I love my job, I'm good at it, and I'm making plans for what's next. The paycheck isn't bad either :)

I've left out a few (irrelevant) details as I didn't want to write my whole resume here, but the theme is You Can Do This! I'll be glad to give you any advice that you like, and probably some that you won't like! No matter what the economy or employment rate, the jobs are out there. All you need to do is go for it!

Please feel free to reach me at Best of luck!

PS - I just re-read your profile. Complete the FAFSA (sp?), which is the application for Federal Financial Aid. As the sole supporter of my family combined with my income level, I easily qualified for assistance. My entire AAS, including books, was provided to me.

PPS - I see that you're in Copperas Cove. I work in Houston, but travel home to Round Rock some weekends, so we'll have to eventually get together for coffee, beer, whatever works!


Michael Del Vecchio Killingworth, CT


I know what you mean - I was with the 5th ID, we had lots of skills that were irrelevant in the homeland. I would consider several things:
*determine your passion - what do you want to do
*potentially start a business of your own (contact SCORE), as your rank says, you've got the skills set. A resource for you is EBV at a local university - free, mostly online.
*look for a franchise (contact FRANNET) - typically requires cash outlay, but may work
*when i came home, I did have prior work experience and some college, just began knocking on doors until I found something - humiliating, but it works.
*The government including the police and federal service are always looking for veterans -

If you are interested in talking about jobs/franchise, contact me, I can steer you.


Don Barkman Oak Ridge, TN

Think ahead. The problem you have now will stay with you....lack of relevant education. Can you use the GI bill to go to school? You are making a major life change and this may be a unique chance to go back to school before being tied to the workforce for life. The other advice you got here is excellent. Good luck 19 Delta.


Debbie Lang Milwaukee, WI

Montey, there is a lot of good feedback here from folks. I would take this opportunity to really reflect on what you are interested in and focus on that. Even if you get an entry level job, you're still in. Work hard, prove yourself and keep checking the internal career site to apply for jobs to learn more in the company or even apply for promotions once you have a year in.

I would start by going online and find some sites that do Interest Self-Assessments to help you understand what kind of career you want. Then take a look at your resume and make sure you are highlighting your experiences that would fit the job. Good luck!


Roger Henson Dallas, TX

I can tell you that there are some federal jobs that will take you based on your military service, like Immigration for example. Currently, here in Dallas, we are always hiring Immigration Officers. In fact, 80% of our workforce are made up of retired military personnel. Of course the higher the degree, the better GS level you can come in as, but we have people here, like you, that have no college behind them, starting out as GS-5, and then working up from there. The point is that you need to get your foot in the door and then once you're in, you can go to school and have it paid by your employer. I can tell you that untie 5 years I've been here, I'm thankful for the many opportunities offered to me in every aspect. I seriously feel that I wouldn't have had those same opportunities and benefits in some other job. We offer flex-time (4 day work weeks), and the opportunity to work from home. Currently, we are about 150 officers short in our location. If you are serious about this opportunity, I suggest you constantly peruse for our opportunities as they sometimes are only posted for a few days and then removed until the next time. Just get your foot in the door and see all the opportunities available. Immigration is nor a job that will lay you off or go out of business any time soon.


DF Jackson Washington, DC

Beef up on words and skills involving "Management", "Supervisory" and "Projects". These are skills and abilities in demand for assistant mgr and manager positions. And if you can get a popular certification in "Project Management", it might help. Apply a lot on USAJOBS bec they are looking for Vets.

Thank you for your service and hope you get something soon.


Joe Tedino Chicago, IL

Hello Montey -- The website About Careers confirms that there is no civilian equivalent to the position you held in the Army. However, this is a list of jobs that make use of the rich knowledge and skills you developed and sharpened during two decades of military service:

Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics
Bus Drivers, Transit and Intercity
First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Protective Service Workers
First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Transportation and Material-Moving Vehicle Operators
Protective Service Workers
Radio Operators
Security Guards
Training and Development Specialists
Transportation, Storage and Distribution Managers
Truck Drivers, Heavy and Tractor-Trailer

In addition to the excellent advice of others that responded to your post, you also should consider using another job-hunting tactic that works: networking. Seeking informational interviews with people that you know in any of the above professions will go a long way toward helping you find out what you can do and want to do with your skills. And it can unlock jobs that aren't posted anywhere online.

You can find people to talk to at church, at the gym, from your neighborhood association, on the PTA, at the supermarket, the coffee shop -- anywhere, really. Set people you encounter at ease by telling them that you aren't expecting them to know of job that you can apply for....but that you are interested in learning what they know about certain types of jobs, training required, etc. Ask everyone you talk to to give you the names of one or two people they know that could provide more information on the subject/industry/company you discussed. Searching for a job requires patience, persistence and poise. Successful applicants use a combination of high tech (replying to jobs online) and high-touch (finding the jobs that aren't advertised). Good luck and thank you for serving our country.


Michael Millman New Orleans, LA

First of all, thank you for your 20 years of service. As a staff sgt., you supervised men, trained them and were responsible for their well being. You have the training and skill set to be an asset to many organizations.
Reading some of the other responses to your inquiry, I was struck by a theme that encouraged you to look to the government for employment. I agree with this. Go to your local VA facility and ask for their help in finding work. They do have programs for us Vets that are successful and helpful. Also, ask if they have a job for you. It really doesn't matter what it is, you have to start someplace. Once you're in, you'll have an opportunity to prove your abilities and worth to the organization.
Keep your head up and be proud of your service!


Richard Filippi Rye, NY

Thanks again for your service in keeping me & my family safe.
You need to start with a blank page.Fold it half on the left side write down your achievements. On the right side put down your skills needed to accomplish your achievements.
Re-write your resume highlighting your skills that led to your accomplishments. Many fortune 500 company's have an HR person or network to bring in people with your skills. You can find them on LinkedIn. You should be spending 5 hours a day on that site creating a network of people who you can ask for advice. Always ask for advice never a job for that you can check the company website, but ask a connection for advice on the position.


Richard Filippi Rye, NY

Thanks again for your service in keeping me & my family safe.
You need to start with a blank page.Fold it half on the left side write down your achievements. On the right side put down your skills needed to accomplish your achievements.
Re-write your resume highlighting your skills that led to your accomplishments. Many fortune 500 company's have an HR person or network to bring in people with your skills. You can find them on LinkedIn. You should be spending 5 hours a day on that site creating a network of people who you can ask for advice. Always ask for advice never a job for that you can check the company website, but ask a connection for advice on the position.


Emanuel Carpenter Alpharetta, GA


At this point, it all depends on what you want to do with the rest of your life. Your profile says 20 years served, so I hope you're earning retirement pay. If so, it could leave you some wiggle room financially and allow you to take an entry-level position at a company you really want to work for. (I worked in a mail room at a bank when I first separated from the military.) Many of these companies offer tuition reimbursement and first dibs at new jobs that become available before they are advertised. (My buddy was promoted from the mail room to a desk job and then referred me for his old mail room job.)

When applying for jobs, try using customized, skills resumes that highlight what skills you've obtained instead of what jobs you worked. Use Google images to see examples of skills resumes.

Resources on sites like can help you translate your military skill to the civilian equivalent. (They also post jobs specifically from companies looking to hire veterans.)

Send your resume to the people who know you best. Ask them to give it to their bosses. Companies love referrals for employment. This gets you in the door BEFORE jobs are posted publicly, thus increasing your chances for getting hired.

Get on LinkedIn if you haven't already. Send connection requests to the recruiters and HR employees who post the jobs you're interested in. Send connection requests to the executives as well, especially the ones who are most likely the hiring managers. After connecting, you can send personalized messages to them so that they can get to know you.

If you see a job you really like, look at the skills that are required that match yours. Customize your resume for that specific job, even if it means cutting and pasting from the job post to your resume. There is no rule that says you have to have one static resume. Just keep note of which resume you sent to which potential employer in case they ask for copies later in the process.

Given your military career, have you considered law enforcement? Many police departments are hiring and they love to hire veterans. I'm always seeing ads for the CIA as they are actively recruiting as well. Private security could be an option too. The Houston Police Department is hiring:

Just throwing out a few suggestions. I hope this helps.


Rob Bedell Santa Monica, CA

Hi Montey,

First, thank you for your service. Second, I'm going to be a bit snarky. What are you talking about? You have tons of experience that is transferable. As mentioned above, quality control is one of the first things I would say and in any industry. Security is another area that you are qualified for. Data Mining is another area that you can look into. I have friends and family that had to make the transition from military life to civilian and the first couple of steps can be shaky, but once you take those first few steps, you'll see how much experience you have. Plus, you have the right mindset. If you tell an employer that you are looking to go to school to add to your skill set, they will like that and may even contribute to it.

Best of luck. If you need anything else, let me know.


Jim Rohrbach Evanston, IL

Hi Montey! I've helped a few ACP/AdvisorNet vets get clear on their career direction, am willing to help you.

If you have a resume, forward it to me: Then we can set up a phone conversation. Sound fair?

Jim "Da Coach"


Erika Schlarmann El Segundo, CA

I just posted an article for this site entitled "Write the Resume That Gets You Noticed, a Recruiter's Perspective". I think that may help you write the resume to highlight the skills that transfer and show your leadership. I also posted it on Linked In if it's easier to find there:


Deb Miller Bardstown, KY

What responsibilities did you have? List them for yourself. List your awards. List your training. All this on a blank sheet or new word document. Did you lead? Were you accountable for property or equipment? Did you do any computer work? What other special skills do you have? So many soldiers view themselves as their military duties - but I broke mine down by all the things I did over the years - do this on a blank sheet - it helps a lot - list all you have done over the years - on and off duty. Volunteer work counts, too. You will be shocked at the level of expertise you will bring to a company - and how very qualified you are - beyond your own belief. Now....what do you like to do? What "TASKS" not job - do you see yourself doing for years? Now search for those tasks compared to jobs out there. People kept telling me Logistics people align with marketing - I hated that - then checked out the tasks for marketing - right up my alley. You can do the same - find jobs that match the tasks you enjoy doing - then if you actually need some training - find a job within that line of work and start working while gaining that training - which can often be found within the company you started working. Feel free to connect with us - maybe list a few of your achievements along with a few of your favorite tasks - many of us can assist with verbiage for your resume. :-)


Neil Serafin Sequim, WA

I looked up 19D...Infantry Scout...your good at observation and reporting if I had to guess...Job wise: Try Quality Control for Cable TV will be reporting on how well they do in an install in people's houses and apartments...if you work for a contractor...most have to QC 10 percent of their will take you about 3 months to know everything you need to do the job...on the job training will be what they will education beyond high school is needed. Contact me for info.

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