Corporate Outplacement and Career Transition Information

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Thank You for Serving - for Military to Civilian Resume

One of the more challenging Job Search tasks for returning Military service personnel involves the conversion of Military documentation to a civilian resume.

The challenge is to translate lengthy military documents and experience to relevant business terms for the civilian marketplace.

Remember, your finished resume is the first work example you are presenting to the employer. View the document and the effort you put in to it from that perspective.

One Willows-Marsh Career Transition expert relates:

"I love working with former Service personnel. They have tremendous experience, skills, and accomplishments. Plus, when I give them "homework", they actually do it!

There is however, a good deal of self reflection required. The biggest challenge is getting a former Service person to talk about accomplishments in terms of their individual contribution, not the unit's, and to turn it into civilian-speak."

Where do you start?

In our workshops and private consultations, there is a significant amount of Assessment work that precedes the resume writing, but for our purposes here, let's assume you have participated in a Skills Inventory exercise.

First, gather all of your relevant service documentation together in one place. (You may have done this exercise already if you have been through a TAP workshop). This list may include:
• Separation Papers – DD Form 214 (certified copy or copy 4)
• Training Record
• Honors and Awards
• DD FORM 2586 - Verification of Military Experience and Training
• Service Record
• Medical Record
• Benefits
• Work History (job titles, employers, duties, accomplishments)
• Work Samples
• Honors and Citations
• Community Activities
• Salary History
• Licenses
• Certifications
• Birth Certificate (copy)
• Proof of Citizenship
• Social Security Card
• Passport (current)
• Transcripts
• Diplomas/Certificates
• Honors
• Activities List

Once you have that done, put it all aside for the moment, but do get everything organized and ready at-hand.

Next, we'll start with a draft SUMMARY statement. The Summary statement is the short, opening statement of your resume, and paints the picture of who you are to your prospective employer.

We start with this draft and hone and edit until the Summary is about 2-3 sentences, with each sentence at 14-25 words. Your Word program won't like the fragmentary style and long sentence structure, but you get to break some rules with resumes.

So, Who Are You?

The best way to start the Summary statement is to write a very short story. We're going to edit this, so put as much as you need to for now. In this short story, talk about yourself as a character, and describe your traits.

Give one or two honest words of description (your traits), to start out, Title yourself toward your career focus, and add the word "with" to the end:

Articulate, highly-motivated Critical Technology Systems Analyst with


Results-oriented, multi-lingual former Military Captain with...

Then answer the question "With What?" This is the area to add either years of experience, key abilities in a specific area that you bring to the table, or both.

Example: Articulate, highly-motivated Critical Technology Systems Analyst with more than eight years experience in global Data Privacy and Security

Now add the words "complemented by." It's important to describe your complementary skills, abilities, and/or traits because no person is one thing only.

Example: Articulate, highly-motivated Critical Technology Systems Analyst with significant experience in global Data Privacy and Security policies, complemented by more than 2200 hours of highly-rated, Train the Trainer workshop leadership.

Once you have one Statement written, write one or two more, and in the next post, we'll look at editing and fitting them together.

NOTE: This work is more than a Summary statement and your resume. It's about self-reflection, and becoming comfortable with who you know you are, and what you know you do.

More important, once you work through this exercise, the exercise of your Elevator Speech will be that much easier!

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