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Having troubles finding a job right after separation due to Airforce job not able to translate in Civilian to anything


Alexander Daniel Honolulu, HI

My job in the Air force is aircraft maintenance and if you don't have FAA certificates or AMP license, you cant do much in the civilian side. I only did one term and Didn't like or had time to get all these certificates. I've tried to make a resume and hit a rock solid wall when I noticed that everything I did for the last 4 years does not get me any other job in the civilian but the same one. I wanted to switch to another career field that required my clearance or like an office job but when I compared my small resume to my friend who did admin work in the navy I stand no chance against them since all i have is physical labor work achieved in these 4 years. please help !! thanks

24 May 2022 9 replies Career Exploration





-You'd be surprised how well military aircraft maintenance translates into corporate fleet maintenance management. I was an Avionics tech the first 3rd of my military career and I'm presently running preventive and demand maintenance for a large corp fleet. Look up Fleet Maintenance Manager or Fleet Supervisors postings. I've been enjoying it for about 13 years and compared to a military flightine this is nothing. Best of luck !


Robert Goodman Ann Arbor, MI

Your skills are a good fit for Manufacturing, but you have to find the right company. Look for one that has ISO 9001 or ISO 13485 Quality System registration. These companies have to run on documented processes so your experience following maintenance instructions and filling out the required documentation is very applicable. In addition, I make the assumption you are good with your hands and willing to learn. Watch out though, some manufacturing companies drive their associates into the ground so make sure to ask questions if you tour the place, and ask about turnover. Hi turnover is a bad sign. Good Luck and thank you for your service.


Thomas Walsh Manassas, VA

Greetings, while a bit late to this thread I can't stress enough what some folks have already mentioned, find what you want to do first. Don't worry about the job title, think more of the field. You mentioned administration so don't compare your resume to what your friend has, look for adverts in companies you might want to work for and see how you can leverage logistical, critical thinking, problem resolution skills from maintenance to the office. Don't just look at one or two, but a lot and you should start to see similarities in what employers are looking for. Then try to fit your experience to their needs. It's difficult when you begin, but with practice you'll start to see there's always common threads among all jobs. Lastly, try to look for positions to leverage your security clearance. I don't know what level you had, but that can be a door opener for you since it costs employers a lot of money to get someone cleared such that in some cases they may be willing to teach you the job simply because you have a clearance. Just a thought. If any of this interests you and you'd like to delve deeper, feel free to volley back. Best of luck in your transition, be safe & take care!!!! TCW


James Vickery Ogden, UT


As a fellow AF veteran, thank you for your service.

First, do not undersell yourself. You have marketable knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) that you can bring to an employer. You just need to put those KSAs into a format that is understandable and translatable so the hiring authorities and human resources personnel can understand your capabilities.

Second, as mentioned by Jason above, Northrop Grumman is always looking for skilled veterans who bring motivation and drive, coupled with the KSAs of their AFSCs. This becomes a turn-key solution for the company and makes the veteran transition easier.

Third, you have KSAs that can be translated into 'civilian-speak' in a resume with a little work and thought. I have helped several veterans do this with a template I have used successfully three times to secure employment post-military service.

If you would like to discuss further, message me and we can talk about how to build a resume for you and talk about your options. There is work to do, for sure. If you believe you can or you can't - that is your truth. Let's work to help you be successful.



Jason Aepli Walnut Creek, CA

Hi Alexander,

It may not fit your idea of a desk job, but have you considered looking at Northrop Grumman Space Systems for spacecraft Assembly, Integration, and Test jobs? I know we have lots of veterans coming from the aircraft maintenance MOSs into those roles because there is a ton of skill overlap. Additionally, building and testing spacecraft happens in a clean room environment so it’s generally pretty comfortable and there’s a pretty wide variety of career paths open to you after getting a couple of years of experience there, for example you could move into a manufacturing project manager role (we call them Operations Program Managers or OPMs) at NG Space Systems, manufacturing planning, work center supervisor, component test, etc.

Send me a direct message if you’d like to hear more.


Jeff Martin Ashburn, VA

I’d suggest that you network at the target company or industry. Use LinkedIn to find people already working there and reach out to them. Ask them the process they used to get hired and ask them to help you navigate the hiring process and if they are willing, ask them to submit you as a referral. These activities require much more time on your part but in my opinion would greatly increase your chances for success. Good luck!


Joe Engle Indianapolis, IN

Hello Alexander.
Looking at the big picture, you are at a 'fork' in the road of life. You have many paths and opportunities you can choose from.

It is important to figure out what you LIKE to do, in choosing a career. Because you will likely be doing it for a long time, and it might take time to study and prepare for your career. Also, it is a lot harder to get up and go to work if you don't like your job. There are aptitude tests available that can help you understand what you are naturally good at. You might consider taking some of those to give you some ideas.

Education is always the best investment you can make. Education almost always returns way more than the cost. Try to get a degree, 2yr, or 4yr, if you can swing it, but even a few relevant courses will be very beneficial. Years ago, when I was in school, my roommate worked on a 2 yr degree in aviation technology. There are likely still programs like that, IF that is your interest.

You really do have translatable experience, though you are correct, your exact military position does not exist in the civilian world. If you want to pursue positions related to your service experience, here are some ideas that exist in the civilian world:

1. Field service - A technician fixes equipment out in the field that breaks or needs servicing. The company trains you in how to service their products. Usually large equipment. Travelling required. This could be anything from manufacturing equipment, to copiers, to medical equipment, to hot tubs, to heating/cooling, to power company transformers!
2. Electronics - This includes a wide range of possibilities. Maybe troubleshooting. Maybe construction of systems. Lots companies make electronic products. Of course look at aviation electronics companies too like Raytheon, but all kinds of civilian electronics companies.
3. Repair - There are all kinds of repair positions. Everything from electrical to mechanical repair. What manufacturers are near you? They need maintenance/repair people if they have assembly lines.

Right now companies are having a hard time filling positions, so you have a good shot at positions you find.

Lastly, I put together a document for veterans, describing how to pursue various positions and develop 'civilianized' resumes. I think it would be right up your alley. I would be glad to send it to you. Just message me requesting it.

Thanks for your service Alexander,


Richard Byrne Hillsborough, NJ

I've added links to information & videos under these sections of my EE webpage that might be useful: - get free LinkedIn premium for 1 year - traverse to find your dream career. - DOD Credentialing Opportunities On-Line - skill bridge program & Fed. Gov. Jobs - resume help - Commercial Job search links. - Vet Admin

Commercial job search airline: (40 jobs)

Fed Gov job search

Security clearance jobs:

Skill bridge video


Andrea Bryant New York, NY

Hi Alexander,

Thanks so much for your question and thank you for your service!

That's a rough transition to go through, and next steps are going to be heavily dependent upon:

Your timeline
Openness to go to school
What you really want to do

The last one is REALLY important and difficult to answer. And it might change as time goes on. But in regards to your certifications, you can use your GI Bill benefits to get those completed. There are community colleges in your area, specifically Honolulu Community College which offers certification in aeronautics maintenance technology, which is eligible for GI Bill funding. You can peruse other institutions at:

If you would rather not go back to school, or pursue aircraft maintenance, then the question of what you would like to do gets REALLY important, because every different job posting requires a different resume. For example, if you're looking at an office management job, the Maintenance and Material Management you conducted in the Air Force required many of the same skills: scheduling, and strict adherence to protocols and timelines.

My general advice is to figure out what you would really like to do, whether it's school or immediate work. If it's school, feel free to shoot me a direct message here, and I can talk GI Bill funding with you. If it's work, peruse job postings to find what you might really spark to, and then work on tailoring your resume to that job posting. I'm perhaps less adept in this department, but you can look on ACP AdvsiorNet and see that there are plenty of Advisors willing to help (

Good luck to you, and again, please feel free to send a direct message!



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