Friday Services is grateful to our nation’s veterans. On Veteran’s Day we join our fellow Americans to appreciate and honor all who have served in the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, National Guard, or National Reserve. From everyone at Friday Services, Thank you for your service.
We are honored to help those who have served our country find good jobs here at home in Western North Carolina. To any veteran who is currently looking for a job or plans to transition into a new job in the near future, please take a look at this helpful guide we have put together that contains simple and specific resume advice for you.
How Your Resume Can Help Civilian Employers Understand your Military Job Experience and Skills
As a member of the service, you have gained work experience and skills that are in high demand in today’s job market. Civilian employers want the qualities that you have to offer, but they may not have the ability to understand military jargon and culture, or how the job you did in the service applies to their position. A good resume will help a civilian hiring manager recognize your full value.
A 7 Step Resume Guide for Veterans:
Here are a few steps to follow that will help you create a resume that will help recruiters and employers understand why you are the best candidate for the job.
1. Gather all your documents together.
Get together your DD2-14, any awards or certificates that you earned, and any recent performance reports. If you were in the Air Force, collect your Enlisted Performance Report (EPR) or Officer Performance Report (OPR). If you were in the Navy, gather your the Fitness Report (FITREP). If you were in the Army, find your most recent Enlisted Evaluation Report (EER)…etc.
2. Translate descriptions of your military job skills into civilian language.
Your OPR, EPR, FITREP, or any other type of performance report can be helpful, but you cannot use it as a resume. Civilian employers will not be able to understand your work history or skillset if you cut and paste sections from performance reports into a resume. You must translate your skills and any jargon into words that civilians can understand at a glance. If you were in the Air Force, and spent a year in UST, no civilian employer is going to understand you spent that time in Undergraduate Space Training unless you spell it out for them.
There are many available online tools you can use to translate your skills. At military.com you will find a helpful military skills translator. This website will convert the language you used in the military to describe your skills into terms that a civilian employer will understand. Always double check results for accuracy.
You may also want to look at mynextmove.org which offers a search tool that helps veterans find out the kinds of careers you might already have the training to do. Just enter in the name or code of your military classification and the site will suggest civilian jobs you may want to apply for.
3. Target the resume to the employer.
Before you start writing a resume for a particular job, ask yourself is, “who will read this?” The resume you send in to an employer should fit the job you are applying for. Is this resume for a job in the defense industry? If so you will not need to translate your skills as much. However, if it for a job in manufacturing, then you will need to make sure that the hiring manager understands your work experience and skillset.
4. Show your skills by listing specific certifications and awards that are relevant to the job you are applying for.
Don’t be general. Instead of writing “completed basic military training” on your resume, list specific skills you learned and achievements you earned during your service that are relevant to the job you are applying for. Certifications, awards, citations, and security clearances can make you stand out from other candidates applying for the same job. While some of these may seem trivial to you, they can be impressive to hiring managers.
A word of caution: include only skills and achievements that are relevant to the job you are applying for. If you earned an award for marksmanship—you would definitely want to list that on a resume in your application for a law enforcement position. However, security forces training would most likely not help you if you are applying for a Machine Operator job with a manufacturing company.
5. The objective statement may be the hardest part.
Your objective statement must grab attention. Stay away from a generic statement like: “looking for growth opportunity where I may use my military skills.” Include keywords listed in the job description of the position you are applying for. If your Air Force job code was 13S2 Space and Missile Operations, the civilian skills suggested by the translator are:
- Blueprints/Technical Diagrams
- Electrical Component/Equipment Installation
- Electronic Device/System Installation/Repair
- Electronic Equipment Calibration
- Repair Malfunctioning Electrical Systems
Let’s say you are applying for a job as a Maintenance Technician. Here is an example job posting for a Maintenance Technician Position:
Perform operations and facilities maintenance including HVAC, carpentry, metal fabrication, pipe fitting, welding, rigging, machinery installation/removal and troubleshooting / repairing of relay, CNC, PLC, PC and servo driven equipment.
Essential Duties of the Maintenance Tech Position:
Troubleshoot breakdowns and return equipment to its normal operating condition in a timely manner. Also:
- Read and edit schematic drawings.
- Troubleshoot/repair relay, CNC, PLC, PC and servo driven equipment.
- Install/troubleshoot AC/DC control and medium/low voltage power circuits.
- Install/repair hydraulic and pneumatic circuits.
Note some of the keywords listed in the job posting such as: “troubleshooting” “install” and “repair” Make sure to use the same keywords in your job objective if you have relevant experience.
Example objective statement:
“Looking for growth opportunity where I may apply my skills in troubleshooting, installing, maintaining, and repairing electronic equipment and electrical systems.”
6. Emphasize your leadership abilities and be specific.
Proven leadership ability is very valuable in today’s job market. It will be helpful if you can give specific examples of leadership from your time in the service. For example if you were a Section Chief, note on your resume that you were a team leader. Find the equivalent of your role in the military with a civilian job title. Commander position is the equivalent of a Director or Senior Manager for example.
7. Quantify your accomplishments whenever possible.
Whenever possible and relevant, add exact numbers to your resume. If you were First Sergeant, name the number of people you led in your unit. Add up the dollar value of items of any materials or projects you were responsible for. If you were in charge of maintaining a 1.4 million dollar weapon system put the exact number in the resume. That puts the level of responsibility that you had in perspective for potential employers.
Recap: Fast Resume Tips for Veteran Job Seekers
We’ve boiled down the most important tips, and added a few additional ones that are good advice for any job seeker:
1. Avoid using military jargon or acronyms.
2. Use a military skills translator. Example: Military Personnel Office can be called Human Resources on a civilian resume.
3. Make sure the phone number you put on the resume is the one you use.
4. Include your email address.
5. Do not add irrelevant personal information.
7. Quantify your accomplishments whenever possible.
8. List your skills accurately–do not cut and paste from an military performance review document.
Let us Know How We Can Help
At Friday Services, we have found that veterans are some of the highest skilled and hardest working employees. Our team is always actively recruiting veterans and members of the National Guard and National Reserve. We encourage any veteran who is currently seeking employment to apply for a job with Friday Services.
If you need more help looking for good jobs or putting together a resume, please submit an online job application and we will call you back and set an appointment with you to meet at a time when you are available. You can also contact us at one of our three Western North Carolina offices. We want to help you.