In issue #2 I discussed networking and how important it is to grow your own throughout the transition process. Connections can, and are, made in many forms. One such connection I made was shortly after retiring. Sarah Plaut, Managing Owner and Lead Writer for the Write Approach, LLC., is a prime example of a key resource for any business or individual requiring professional writing services. This month I’ve asked Sarah to contribute to the blog by discussing a few thoughts, experiences, and insights for transitioning service members. Below are Sarah’s insights.
As a Professional Resume Writer, about 80% of my clients are veterans in transition from service. Military transition resumes became my focus and specialty after my own husband left active duty. After 15 years in the Marine Corps, he had no idea where to start or what to put on paper. What began out of necessity became a specific area of interest for me in my business. I knew I wanted to continue supporting veterans and my skill set for speaking military language proved to be a great advantage in my endeavor. Of the hundreds of clients I have worked with, there are several overwhelming trends that are present amongst transitioning veterans.
- How to start. The first thing I ask for is a chronological order of career. Some send me their Master Brief Sheets, Military Professional Resume, or simply send it in an email. Regardless of career length, you need to show career progression on a civilian resume. In the military, as service members progress and take on roles of increasing responsibility, they move further and further away from their career specialties. In the beginning, a service member may be a logistics specialist with tangible and easily translated skills. As a senior leader, their job may not be logistics-related at all. Instead, their main role may be managing personnel and large-scale operations. This progression is the same in the civilian world. As civilians move up in a company, executive level leaders are progressing in this same fashion. Showing that progression on a military transition resume is key to communicating to civilians that our military have those same executive level leadership skills.
- Translating military language. For some military occupational specialties, job titles are easily understood by civilians. For other job titles, translation is key for communicating the role. An “Intelligence Chief” may be changed to “Intelligence Program Manager” or a “Logistics Officer” may be changed to “Senior Project Manager.” It is also important not to refer to weapons, weapon systems, or combat missions unless the resume is being written for a DoD or Federal position. On a resume, “weapons” can be changed to “technologically advanced assets” and “combat missions” can be “world-wide/international/global operations.” I remind veterans every day that the context of the role is not as important as the skill set itself.
- Tailoring the resume. When applying to a specific position, the resume needs to be written for that position. The job description, requirements, and qualifications need to be captured on the resume. In the world of Applicant Tracking Software, resumes are scanned for matches to the job description and applicants are sorted accordingly. A person may be highly qualified, but if the software doesn’t recognize the terminology on the resume, it will not categorize the applicant as qualified. Resumes need to be tailored for every single role. The days of one resume working for all applications are long gone.
Veterans have exceptional skills and training that are assets to the corporate world. Transition resumes need to be written in a way that captures the essence of a person’s talents and qualifications. Highlighting leadership, personnel management skills, and professional progression are all key to breaking into civilian industries.
Managing Owner & Lead Writer
The Write Approach, LLC
Christopher Cox – CEO