The question “should I use a military skills translator?” is one that I hear often from service members. To answer the question simply: It will not hurt you and it will probably help you overall, but do not rely on a translator alone.
One of the most popular translators out there is by Monster.com. Monster says that you can “translate your military skills, experience and training to find career opportunities that best align with your capabilities. To get started, define your military experience by adding your military job title (for example, your MOS, MOSC, rating, designator). Once this information is selected, you can add your subspecialties and training to further customize the jobs available to you.”
While translators are an effective way to gauge some of the ideal outputs for your next career venture, you need to ensure that you take a careful look at the types of careers that it sends you. For instance, I was a logistics readiness officer, but logistics in a warehouse environment was not a calling that I wanted to pursue after the service. That being said, leadership and working to encourage people was. Human resources was the field that I ultimately ended up in after breaking down the characteristics that I enjoyed most from the service. I am very detail oriented and am a planner by nature, so event planning and logistics is still a strong fit for me. (Read: Top 20 Hot Jobs for Veterans 2015)
The translators are helpful to employers because they combine the basic concepts of where candidates will fit within their corporations, but you as the candidate need to be prepared to back up the reason why these outputs represent you. If you have had multiple positions in your career, there is also a possibility that you will end up with multiple outputs. Taking into consideration that your ideal career may be a happy medium would be the proper thought process.
To be best prepared for your transition:
- Use a military translator if available.
- Repeat the translator more than once if you have career variances.
- Walk through the answer to see if it is truly how you feel, not just what you think you should feel.
- Take a look at the types of companies that align with what was given to you with the translator and see if it aligns with your vision after leaving the service.
- Keep in mind that you need to be able to articulate to a potential employer why the translator is correct in the types of roles presented to you. If you cannot back up why you feel you would succeed in those roles, perhaps you aren’t 100-percent destined for that field.
Moreover, a translator is a tool that can act as an additional way to set you up for success in your next endeavor, but just like any advice you receive, don’t put full stock into one source. Take the translator outputs as suggestions, not your concrete path.