Connecting with recruiters in the civilian sector may seem straightforward, but many variables make the difference between what makes a veteran hirable. Looking to contact civilian recruiters can be a manageable task when you evaluate the do’s and don’ts that set up the framework for a civilian career. If you’re navigating the transition to civilian life, here’s my advice for finding the right opportunities and showing that you’re the right person for the job.
Find out our Passion and WHY
The career the military offered you trained for one purpose – complete the job at hand. Rarely do we see a job in the workforce were “I’m a hard working and loyal Team Sergeant” is enough. While it is certainly an important highlight to show prior successful leadership skills, it isn’t going to cut it.
Developing a story is the first step in your delivery to a recruiter created around the job you want. Rather than stating “I am good at receiving orders.” Did you enjoy being a signal specialist on your last assignment? If you did, tell the story of how preparing your unit in training will help your future employer understand the importance of your experience in IT. Odds are, every skill will not be used in the civilian world. Don’t lay out every aspect of the job civilians will not understand.
Translating your Service
It is important to understand that the acronym alphabet of military jargon will not show employers what you have done with your time in the service. Showing transferable skills by using correct language on your resume will help the recruiter understand what you can accomplish. Working in plans and operations (S-3) for the battalion can be translated as “established a unified plan of action, ensured coordination between host nation forces and US forces, and provided feedback to improve our processes.” This is a good start in showing your strong capabilities and achievements the right way.
Breaking the Stereotypes
Movies and TV shows have given the civilian population a look into the military as a stiff and rigid organization. This mold is seen as inflexible by nature, and breaking the stereotype can show that military service members are able to apply knowledge in ways others wouldn’t. Rather than stating “I am highly motivated, and learn at an expedited curve,” this is an ample opportunity to distinguish oneself from the crowd. What do you have to offer that others do not?
Civilians will have a variety of experiences with prior services workers. Falling into a bad stereotype should be avoided. It is important to show initiative, flexibility, and a willingness to take the next step for a civilian employer to show a passion for the job. The last stereotype to break is by displaying this ability to learn a new job outside of your experience level. This self-education will prove to a recruiter that you are indeed worth the time for consideration in a new position.
Examples to Use
Now that a framework is developed we can look at a few examples to outline positive ways to reach out to a recruiter. Remember, you have the ability to control the story of your service and of the experience that came with it!
Example 1 – Engineer Officer
Innovative and solutions-focused former Commissioned Engineer Officer offering over seven years of widespread industry experience in planning, coordination, execution, and training in a diverse, fast-paced, and results-driven organizations. Proven ability to direct high-performance project teams, develop constructive relationships with a diverse group of cross-functional business partners, and influence key internal and external stakeholders. “Hands-on” leader, articulate communicator, tenacious negotiator able to successfully prioritize workflow, manage multiple concurrent projects and responsibilities and exceed challenging goals and objectives.
Example 2 – Enlisted Navy
The mix of my learned leadership and safety skills from the Navy combined with my technical skills and business training in college would be a perfect fit for your company. I have shown a progressive interaction in my communities through my work with Habitat for Humanity resulting in a Gold level 2014 Presidential Volunteer Service Award Branch
Example 3 – Enlisted Marine
Accomplished, motivated, dedicated, and hardworking Marine veteran, looking to transition into a new career. A proven leader in law enforcement and in the military whose experience brings innovative solutions that increase efficiency, productivity, and profitability. A demonstrated ability to develop a strategy for large and diverse organizations, while working with a variety of partners and stakeholders. Always seeks new challenges.
Example 4 – Retired Military
Results Focused and action-orientated dynamic leader offering 21 year’s experience in military operations. Driven by new challenges and learning new skills, capable of handling multiple tasks simultaneously. Instrumental in streamlining and improving the process, enhancing organizational productivity, and implementing solutions. skilled in collaborating with all members of the organization to achieve business and financial objectives. Technical proficiency in MS Office and multiple database management systems.