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« Self-Employed? 5 Key Business Resolutions for the New Year. | Main | Veterans Portrait Project »

Veterans Job Search: How Do You Translate "Hero" to "Hardworking Civilian"?

As a veteran, you have spent time on the front lines, dodging bullets, disabling IED's, and planning strategy. Now, your service time is over and you are transitioning to the private sector. Like many, you enlisted young, and this may be the first time you are seeking a "real" job in the private sector. How do you take all your worldly experience and translate it into the skills employers are looking for?

In a 2010, SHRM (Society for Human Resources Management) poll of its members, it was found that 60 percent of respondents said translating military skills was the biggest hurdle to veterans in writing resumes, interviewing, and other job-hunt communications.Surveys have shown that many returning veterans face a unique challenge in translating their specialized skills, along with their respect for discipline and chain of command, into a civilian vocabulary, and a civilian job.

YOU know you have a lot to offer an employer, but, you are struggling to translate those MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) assignments into market desirable skills and actionable phrases to include in your resume. Additionally, many Veterans feel a stigma or in some cases, discrimination, toward hiring veterans.

In 2010, SHRM published their survey results in a report entitled "Employing Military Personnel and Recruiting Veterans-Attitudes and Practices." On a positive note, the survey indicated that a majority of employers are considering hiring veterans. The report shows that employers feel that veterans have a positive impact in the workplace. The report states "of those organizations that had hired at least one veteran during those 36 months, more than 85 percent said the benefits of hiring employees with military experience include:

*Strong sense of responsibility 
*Ability to work under pressure 
*Ability to see a task through to completion 
*Strong leadership skills 
*High degree of professionalism 
*Strong problem-solving skills 
*Ability to multi-task 
*Ability to adapt to changing situations quickly 
*Positive impact on the image and/or credibility of the organization"

Veterans might consider utilizing a functional style resume, otherwise known as a "skills based resume" to highlight their assets. A functional resume organizes your work experience by job function rather than by chronological order. This type of resume emphasizes your skills, abilities and areas of expertise rather than a chronological career history. Based on the type of job you are applying for, you can group your experience into headings such as Leadership, Accounting, Inventory, Strategic Planning, or whatever skill set your potential employer is looking for. Make sure you utilize action driven descriptors and quantifiable statistics to support your sections.

The employment tide is turning, and employers are realizing the value and beneficial intangibles of hiring a veteran. Before you can get hired, you and your resume need to be able to specify the characteristics you possess and extol your virtues in specific relation to the job/career you are interested in. Simply put, employers want to know if you are the missing puzzle piece and an exact fit for their, show them!

About the Author: Thank you for your service; we know freedom is not free! If you need help speaking "civilian", Regal Resumes is here for you, find us at

Guest Writing for Regal Resumes:  Jolaine Jackson, SPHR, IPMA-CP, Owner of "On The Spot Resources, LLC" Article Source:

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