This article posted by the Department of Veterans Affairs may be very difficult to read for some Vets. However it rings true – especially #1 Skills Translation:

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 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 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: Examples – Communication; Listening; Decision Making; Judgment Initiative; Planning; Organizing; Time Management; Leadership; Work Ethic; Interpersonal Skills Common Sense; Social Skills; Creative Ideas

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:

Examples – 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

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