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How do military candidates successfully bridge the gap in technical experience throughout the entire hiring process?


Brian Motherway Skillman, NJ

I am a transitioning army officer pursuing consulting opportunities in finance or business analytics. I have a bachelors degree finance, however most consulting roles call for at least 1+ years of industry experience. What are some strategies to prove your technical competence/interest both on a resume and in an interview?

26 June 2020 3 replies Military to Civilian Transition



Blake Santos Arlington, VA

Without knowing anything about your background, any experience that you can contextualize in a more general context during your time as an Army Officer will be of immense value. Obviously all experiences are different, but I would highlight any management roles/experiences you've gained and distill it down to its core elements: your general role, how many individuals you managed, what your responsibilities are/were, and (if applicable) what kind of budget you oversaw, etc. In that role, I'd imagine you had to brief up to your superiors/decision-makers in order to get things done - at some level, everything we do centers around doing great work and effectively communicating the needs and equities of your team/client. I would highlight those instances as well.

This may be tough to pull off on paper in a resume format, but those are all things that you can bring up during an interview - when asked things like "where do you see yourself in five/ten years?," or "what are your goals?," call upon those experiences of managing and operating in those high-stress environments to justify and contextualize where you want to be and how you can be an effective leader.

Happy to chat separately about this, as well! Thank you for your service!

26 June 2020 Helpful answer


Matt Johnson Chicago, IL


I've seen a lot of people break into new roles through internships or experiences with Hire Our Heroes, which sets up transitioning vets at a blue chip company. You can look into the Accenture JMO program as well. However, most firms will not be hiring you for your technical skills - they understand you likely didn't build a DCF as an Army Officer and you likely didn't do much by way of data analytics - so understand you won't be competing along those lines.

What they'll get from you is a can-do attitude and verifiable leadership experience. Most of your peers still haven't had the opportunity to lead a team in silent prayer while you've been out there managing all sorts of different assets. It's these soft skills, along with an eagerness to learn, which should convince the potential employer to take a chance on you.

Understand though, that if you're looking into consulting, the vast majority of consulting roles are for MBA graduates. If you have 100% GI Bill eligibility, looking into a Top 25 MBA program is something to consider. Prestigious firms aren't necessarily hiring elsewhere.


Deb Yeagle Tampa, FL

Hi Brian-
Thanks for your service!
Specific to Blake's answer, highlighting the budget ($ value) you managed is one specific aspect of your military experience that translates into industry experience:
Managed programs and organizations collectively valued at $XB (or $XM), leading teams ranging in size from Y to Z personnel

I would also add that if you were responsible for contract/contractor management, that's an ideal example of experience that directly relates to industry. Call out the products / services that were outsourced, $ value, number of contractors, period of performance, etc. in your resume.

Another example that translates well is any experience related to logistics. I see from your Linked In profile that you have some of that, so highlighting the $ value of equipment/inventory you were responsible for is one specific aspect of your military experience that demonstrates industry experience.
Responsible for successful movement of X personnel, $YB in equipment, Z assets, and # vehicles in N shipments

Finally, ziprecruiter provides this resource to translate military to civilian position titles found in industry:

Hope this helps, but if not, please feel free to PM me with your resume and I can look at your specific experience to find more possible links to industry. I worked in DoD for 25+ years and as a DoD Contractor now for 12+ years and I've seen many transitioning military resumes so I can spot what experience translates well.

Thanks again!

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