Check out this article posted by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
While this may be very difficult to read for some Vets it does rings true – especially #1 Skills Translation:
1. Skills Translation: Unless you’re applying for a defense contracting job, you have to translate your military skills into civilian terms. Civilians don’t understand your acronyms, MOS, and military terminology, and they aren’t going to take the time to learn. Seek out someone from the desired industry and have them review your resume. Or, use a job skills translator such as the one on Military.com. Many companies use software to screen the applicant pool. If the software finds words that don’t align with the industry, like military jargon, your resume will get kicked out. The bottom line is: if your resume doesn’t contain the right key words, you most likely won’t make it through the screening process!
When an employer posts a position they are looking for specific skill sets:
1. Knowledge-based skills – learned through education and experience. These may be challenging for you to transfer your learned military skills to civilian needs.
2. Transferable skills – these are skills that you can take with to any job – these skills will be very important for you to emphasize during your transition. They are broad-based and usually learned or acquired through experience:
Communication; Listening; Decision Making; Judgment; Initiative; Planning; Organizing; Time Management; Leadership; Work Ethic; Interpersonal Skills; Common Sense; Social Skills; Creative Ideas; Sees Big Picture; Analytical; Accountable; Reliable; High Standards; Resourceful; Action-Oriented; Intuitive; Problem Solving; Good With Numbers; Gets Along Well; Articulate; Handy; Artistic; Envisioning.
3. Personal Traits – are the qualities that will determine a fit in the company, the department or the position. These are attributes that define a person’s personality:
Dependable; Strong; Team Player; Versatile; Patient; Friendly; Energetic; Formal; Loyal; Self-Confident; Dynamic; Practical; Sociable; Persuasive; Responsible; Sense of Humor; Cheerful; Good Attitude; Aggressive; Assertive; Determined; Honest; Humble; Productive; Conscientious; Curious; Enthusiastic; Precise; Detail-Oriented; Compassionate; Efficient; Emotional; Rigid; Open-Minded.
Changing careers or reentering the workforce can feel very intimidating to someone who is facing a tough job market plus a tough sell. Employers are in the driver’s seat with so many applicants to choose from, and this can put you in a position of feeling less qualified than others.
The first thing to do is to stop focusing on what you don’t have and start focusing on what you do have. Reading through a job description and doing a “compare and contrast” exercise between what is needed in the new job and what you did in your former jobs will be one way to convince yourself that you have something to offer. Jobs are often more alike than they are different as far as skills required.
Another confidence builder will be to focus on your strengths by doing an inventory of your transferable skills:
these are the skills that you can bring to any company. And sometimes it will be your personal traits that will make you unique. You will have to feel confident that you have something to offer and that you are not a beginner. You bring experience—that is either rusty or in a different field.