How to Translate Your Extra Duties to the Civilian World

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April 2, 2015

How to Translate Your Extra Duties to the Civilian World


If you’re like many veterans, you spent much of your military career running from the detail assignment monster. Whether you called it a “collateral duty” or “detail,” you hid as best you could. But it found you and slapped you with extra work anyway. If you were lucky, the work came with brownie points; if you were unlucky, it came with urinal cakes and a scrub brush. Here’s how to translate your extra duties to the civilian world:

So you’re used to documenting your duties on evaluations, but NOW what do you do with them? It may have seemed like a whole lot of headache for nothing. But you know what? You can use them on your resume.

The trouble is … how do you portray that experience in lingo that civilian employers will understand? Veterans often have a lot more experience than they realize. Extra duty assignments can prove to be a treasure trove of undervalued but worthy skills.

Let’s explore how to articulate it on a resume and to an employer, minus the urinal cakes.

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Make a List

First, write down a list of the extra duties you performed while in service. If you were in for a short time, you may only have a few. If you had a longer service history, you may have quite a long list. You may not even remember them all. In any case, list what sticks out most.

Here are some examples:

-Physical Fitness Leader

-Snow Removal Team

-Morale Welfare and Recreation Representative

-Charge of Quarters Duty

-Training Coordinator

-Education Representative

These are just some random examples to get you thinking. There are so many extra duties, which vary between services and duty stations.

Brainstorm

Now that you have your list, think about what you did when performing these extra duties. Even the details that took the least amount of your time and effort gave you some experience. Did you have to maintain logs? Organize and keep track of something? Did it require you to write, lead or brief information? Don’t be afraid to write these skills down during your brainstorming session.

Identify Skills

 A resume (read: Your Resume: What a Potential Employer Sees) should be written to target a specific job or employer. Take a look at what types of experience your extra duties provided. Are any of them applicable to the resume you are constructing? Will they show a potential employer a skill that is necessary or will give you an advantage?

Translate

Now take each of these skills and translate them into a resume bullet point.

Here are a couple of examples:

-“Cold-called organizations in order to research morale-boosting events for unit involvement.” This shows that you are an initiator and capable of communicating needs in a professional manner.

-“Briefed unit on recreational opportunities offered through the Morale Welfare and Recreation Program.” This shows you are capable of public speaking and relaying information in a clear manner.

Congratulations, you are a professional! All duties, no matter how small they may have seemed at the time, gave you experience. Don’t be afraid to explore and document them.

At the Interview

Even if you don’t feel that a duty qualifies for a resume mention, simply knowing how to translate the experience to the civilian world will bring strength and marketability into the interview room.

Now, go forth with confidence, Latrine Queens and Kings of the world.

 

 

 

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2016-07-13T15:41:24+00:00

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2 Comments

  1. Eugene Matthews April 3, 2015 at 10:57 am - Reply

    This is excellent information. Do you have a downloadable ‘cheat sheet’ to provide interested vets? I’d like to link your post to my site, with your permission. (www.soldiercop.com) Let me know if that meets with your approval.
    Dr. Matthews

    • K.P. Kulski April 15, 2015 at 2:22 pm - Reply

      So glad you found the article informative. There is no cheat sheet unfortunately. Please contact the GIJobs team (via the Contact Us tab) for your question on linking. Best wishes!

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