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I am concern and nervous, I've never interviewed for a job, and not ssure how to navigate the process.How do I navigate this process?


Mariam James Goose Creek, SC

I've been in the military over 25 years never had to interview for a job, nor write a resume. I've also held numerous positions not sure if I'm capturing the roles and responsibility of each position, and how relevant are they in the civilian work-force? How do I capture these positions on my resume?

20 May 2019 16 replies Interviews



Denise Kalm Walnut Creek, CA

You want to move forward with a proven roadmap. Get your resume and LI done, using the ample resources on the Internet - there are tons of gold star resume and LI profile examples on the net. For interviewing, start looking up the kinds of questions that people ask and do a LOT of practicing. You want to know your answers while not memorizing them. Use the SOAR method to tell your stories - Situation, Obstacles, Actions and Results. But don't forget to network in between. Online application systems are designed to kick you out - networking gives you another path to the hiring manager.


Bob Molluro Wilmington, DE

Sounds like you are pretty normal to me. I have trained over 20 people to become "Killer Interviewers". Those 20 people all succeeded to get the position or gain acceptance into graduate schools. If you would like a one hour free consultation where I will train you on how to succeed just send me an email I can guarantee you that you not find this in text books.
Bob Molluro


Lex Levin Ellicott City, MD


Happy to help you. I'm a full-time professional resume writer and a former Fed specializing for the last ten years in working with Active Duty and Reserve Service Members, Veterans, and Military Spouses transitioning to Federal jobs. I write Federal resumes and offer federal interview prep services. You can best get in touch with me through my website contact page:

Best regards,



Kimberly Smith Chicago, IL

Thank you for your service. One thing that is VERY important to do is research the company you are interviewing with and take notes about anything recent in the media or their mission/visions and come up with some questions in advance that you have for them. It never fails they will ask you often to open "what do you know about us?" It will impress them if you have a robust answer. And at the end of the interview, they tend to always ask "do you have any questions for us" -- DO have 1-2 questions. Write those down in advance. Some more may come up during the conversation but be prepared. Shows preparation and interest. Its totally acceptable and expected to walk in with a notebook or portfolio to take some notes and have your notes ready to go. Better to write than take notes on your phone which is a visual disconnect between you and the interviewer. Some common questions you get asked are easily prepared for and noted to yourself on your notepad. "What are your strengths and weaknesses" -- never say nothing to the weakness because no one buys that - its easy to say that the area of yourself you are currently developing is.... could be continuing your education (we are never done learning!), improving your public speaking like taking a toastmasters class or improv, broadening your horizons through volunteerism etc. It does not have to come across as a weakness like you are impatient or always late -- something that will make you look bad, but instead something that shows you are always looking for ways to improve, learn, and grow as a person. Be specific about your strengths. Dont say something general like "I am a good leader" - be ready to back that up with experience, awards, accomplishments, promotions etc. So you are saying "over the years I have taken my general desire to lead to a whole new level when taking advantage of the opportunity to.....and succeeding in...." They also often ask you for examples in your past when you, for example, may have hit a brick wall, had to deal with a difficult person, didnt get the promotion you thought you deserved, were disrespected at work, led a team to success, pulled off one of your proudest accomplishments etc... be prepared with a few stories from your past that you are proud to share, good bad and ugly - the best leaders and team members are those that have already learned lots of lessons!! Jot those down on your notepad so you can quickly remind yourself what you wanted to share. Then if you have concerns about your mind going blank, you have back up. And the sheer exercise of writing it down will actually help you remember it anyway! GOOD LUCK.


Mariam James Goose Creek, SC

To everyone who responded to my question, I appreciate the advice and recommendations, I have some work to do on my resume. I really appreciate it, and for those who recommend I reach out to them I certainly will.

Mariam James


Andy Bergin Greenwich, CT

Mariam, Just saw your LinkedIn profile - very impressive! It seems you have two obvious career paths as a company logistician or as a tech learning facilitator/teacher - either way there are tons of companies who can use both. You got a lot of good advice already. You can contact me at anytime. You could hang out a sign now as a logistics consultant with 25 years of the best experience in the world! Try that first. Andy


Bob Molluro Wilmington, DE

Mariam I host a one hour one on one call gratis to develop you into a "Killer Interviewer". I am 19-0. I have helped students to get into college(Annapolis, Temple, U of Delaware), grad schools(Thomas Jefferson University, Penn) and compete for new employment and promotions. One gentleman was competing for a promotion in his company versus 15 other people who had been selected. One of the vets I worked with landed a consulting position that started at $130K plus a signing bonus of $10,000. if interested in speaking, please send me an email at and we will schedule a mutually convenient time. I do not focus on resume prep so please listen to the other answers you have received. I am very direct and will give you feedback both positive and negative. No fluff. By the way everyone is nervous and that will be the first area we address and I will give you a full proof tool that I have used for over thirty years.
Warmly, Bob Molluro


Denise Kalm Walnut Creek, CA

I recommend finding a career coach who can help you learn how to craft answers and do practice interviews until you feel more comfortable in the situation. It can be intimidating, but you should also know that the interviewer doesn't usually feel much better than you do. They don't know what ask, feel unsure if they know how to hire and this comes out in a less than friendly situation. Coaches can show you how to turn this around and make the encounter a conversation, not an interrogation. It's not that hard to learn this and when you do, you'll shine above other candidates who are just answer-bots. It's worth the investment to make sure you know what you're doing. And some of us coaches work with vets for free or just a small amount of money.


Philip Ayles Steilacoom, WA

There is really good advice listed. The thing first and foremost is that you understand what you really want to do for a living. You are no longer under the safety net of the military. All your effort is directed inward to better understanding of what you really want.

Be yourself and follow the values you perfected over your career in the military. Employers are looking for integrity and a solid work ethic.

Relax and be focused on them. Figure out ways to solve their problems from the position you are interviewing for. Dedicate some time to network with those from the company or industry you want to join.

Adapt, improvise and overcome your challenges to your career. Networking-Networking-NETWORKING is the only way to get an edge over your competitors.

If all else’s fails, be yourself and honest. Good luck with your endeavors.



Leon Carr Woodbridge, VA

Ms Mariam
What position you desire?
What do you to be paid! This is the mist important thing in corporate arena!
Also, a warrant is an SME whatever their job is.
Where you want to live? DMV or Orlando, and Texas.
You never mentioned what your job is?
You’re a leader!
Check out Onward to Opportunity, Syracuse University. There is IT or Management paths.
LinkIn account check others profile for the industry you want to be in, search fir example.....HR Business Partner request to connect.


Jim Rohrbach Evanston, IL

Hi Mariam! I've helped a number of ACP veterans with their job search. Forward me your resume (whatever you have is fine) via email: -- we can set up a time to chat by phone this coming week.


Jim Schreier Milwaukee, WI

There are several good resources on this site to help you, including some article I've posted. There's a lot more that I've written on interviewing at Like many on this site, I'm am happy to review resumes. I have also helped several vets with their interviewing skills. I do have an "interview critique" service that I do need to charge for. Again, lots of some different information on my careers website. A very brief key: prepare "stories" of your accomplishments.


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

Three thoughts:

1 - Get the book, WHAT COLOR IS YOUR PARACHUTE, by Bolles. There is a wealth of solid information there - is re-issued every year.

2 - I do vocational counseling. Too many do not think beyond "getting a good education" or thinking about their experiences. Fewer even think about their TALENTS and just what it is that they may be good at.

You cannot direct someone to gather a group into a functioning workforce if they are an introvert. You may like the sound of my speaking voice and think that with "some training" I could be made to sing. I can't. Too few step back and take the time and trouble to REALLY discover what their talents are.

That's what I do - give people the courage to step back and explore with them, their talents. Here is my adage:


It is as simple as that!

3 - For a FREE internet based talent assessment, go to this site:

Feel free to contact me if you want some help with its interpretation (also free to a fellow Vet!)

Dr. Hank


Aimie Vargas Corte Madera, CA

Hi Mariam,
In addition to the above advice, I would suggest you start by using various online resources to write/update your resume. It can be daunting to write one for the first time in awhile so use suggestions, look at other former military resumes, get ideas for language - wording, descriptions etc. In the private sector, especially tech (where I work) clear, simple wording with results oriented descriptions are very useful.
Make sure you have 1-2 people you trust review your resume before sending it out. Formatting is often as important as the content, it needs to be easy to read with key highlights captured upfront that give the interviewer insight to your experience and your qualifications. Often I scan the highlights and either progress a candidate or pass just on those 5-6 bullets so make sure they stand out.
As far as the interview, you are interviewing them so be prepared with solid questions. Ask not just about the role and expectations, but ask about the company culture. It is expensive to hire and train new employees; employers today are focused on finding the right culture fit during the interview process so ask a lot of questions about their culture so you can both ascertain whether you are a good fit. I would ask things like - Is it collaborative environment? What are the core values of the organization? What is company direction for the next few years? and other softer ones like: Do people work from home? Is there a culture of giving back to the community? How often do you have company all hands meetings? Try to understand upfront what the dynamic is in the company on a day to day basis.
Overall be you, be authentic and be confident. Not every job or company will be the right fit so use this experience as an opportunity to discover what is right for you.
And don't hesitate to reach out for advice!! You can reach me at if you have any further questions or want resume reviews.


Ed Pniewski Okemos, MI


There are a lot of good interview prep resources around the Internet, I suggest that you Google several dozen interview questions from different sources and practice your answers. Typical interview questions will require you to provide examples of situations where you felt stressed, needed to work collaboratively, and how you approached solutions to difficult problems and projects. Bring a portfolio if you have examples of your previous work.

The best advice I ever got to ease my nerves before an interview was a simple reminder:
You are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. Bring questions and engage your interviewer in order to decide whether or not they are worthy of your talents.

As a manager, I have a preference for efficient and concise resumes on a single page. I want a brief reason for why you are the best person for the job. I want to see an error-free resume that shows how much you care about the position that you are applying for. I like bullet points and dates and a relevant sentence for how an experience makes you a good candidate.

I think you'll find most managers are concerned with getting the right person with the right attitude in the door and training them on wish-list skills over time. It is your personality and attitude that they are hiring, so come willing and eager to learn.

Best of luck! Feel free to reach out if you need any assistance.



Steve Adolt Lancaster, PA

Good afternoon, Chief!

I'd be happy to talk with you about all of these issues, help you with your resume and prep with you for interviews.

Please reach out to me at and let's set up a date / time this week to talk.

Looking forward to hearing from you!


Steve Adolt
Former CPT, US Army

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