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Military to Civilian Transition: How to Translate Your Service Experience

There are several challenges when servicemen and women exchange their military career for civilian life. Chief among them is landing a job. As all of us know, the first step in getting a job is to write a resume that speaks about your past achievements and how they can be put to use in the role that you apply.

The good part is that the military offers plenty of training and skills that can also be for a significant effect on civilian life. The concern, however, is that the overwhelming majority of civilians have minimal knowledge and understanding when it comes to the military, the activities that take place there, as well as the terminology used. 

It is often up to you to put together a resume that can describe your experiences, your knowledge, and skills in such a way that all recruiters and hiring managers can understand. With a little practice and by using the following tips, you can quickly and easily kick start your career. 

MyComputerCareer is an organization that helps veterans get certified in Information Technology (IT). We also offer our students aid in finding employment. If you have any questions or are interested in becoming IT certified, contact us today! 

So, what are some of the best ways to translate your service experience so that your talents and skills can find a use in civilian life?

Stay Away From Military Jargon

If you can help it, stay away from military jargon. It means that your job title, skills, and experience need to present in a way that everyone can understand. If you’ll be using the terms you learned in the service, there’s a strong chance that employers may not know or understand what you are talking about and you could be missing out on some great opportunities. The VA’s Military Skills Translator can help you do this. 

Provide a Comprehensive Picture

Your resume should be able to, not only capture but also highlight your competencies. These can classify into Technical, Interpersonal, and Leadership skills. 

  • Technical Skills – The majority of military roles have at least one or more civilian career counterparts. A financial management technician, health care specialist, mechanic, or telecommunications technician, all have their civilian life counterparts and should be spelled out in the resume. 
  • Interpersonal Skills – Executing missions in the military implies a high degree of coordination between multiple and diverse personalities. You should highlight your ability to navigate these types of situations. 
  •  Leadership Skills – Any leadership experience, be it as a unit commander or noncommissioned officer can translate into a good team leader or project manager. 

It’s also a good idea to create a timeline of your service by mentioning specific and relevant details, as well as collecting all documents that speak to your skills and accomplishments. These papers may include things like performance evaluations, awards, commendations, as well as your Verification of Military Experience and Training (VMET).

Tailor Your Resume For the Job

Veterans are generally entrusted with a great deal of responsibility and usually operate in a variety of roles throughout their military career. It shows that they are capable of doing multiple tasks (HR, logistics, operations, management, etc.) in civilian life as well. And while this is entirely true, this can backfire in the job hunt. 

Once veterans decide in which direction they want to go with their career, they need to trim their resume to fit that career path best. Otherwise, they may end up with a several-page-long CV that nobody will read. It’s important to keep in mind that companies receive hundreds of resumes at a time and every word you write needs to be relevant for the job that you’re applying. 

MyComputerCareer is an organization that helps veterans get certified in Information Technology (IT). We also offer our students aid in finding employment. If you have any questions or are interested in becoming IT certified, contact us today! 

About MyComputerCareer

Based in Holly Springs, North Carolina, MyComputerCareer, Inc. is an innovative adult technical school with courses taught online and at its seven campuses in Indiana, Ohio, North Carolina and Texas. Students who complete MyComputerCareer’s rigorous Information Technology courses may earn up to 13 highly valuable IT Certifications in areas ranging from Operating Systems to Computer Networks and Cyber Security, certificates often required even for those with four-year college degrees. In addition, these courses form the foundation for students interested in obtaining an Associate’s degree from MyComputerCareer.

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at

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