Are you ready to transition from the military to a civilian job?
The skills you've developed during your service can help you excel in a wide array of civilian roles—the key is showcasing those skills in a way that stands out to recruiters and hiring managers.
To help you do just that, we asked veterans, hiring managers, and recruiters at our partner companies to share their advice on how you can best highlight your experience and transferable skills when applying for jobs. Keep reading for their responses!
Bristol Myers Squibb—Detail out measurable accomplishments
"As a Veteran, you have gained unique and valuable experience that you can present in a way that civilian employers can understand.
- Read through the job description to understand the core capabilities the company is looking for and then translate your military experience and training in a way that will add value to the role you are applying to
- Detail out measurable accomplishments so that they better understand the scope (# of people you supervised, value of inventory you managed, etc.)
- Try and avoid military specific jargon and abbreviations
- Attend job fairs and network."
PagerDuty—Translate military language into more universal terms
"The key is to translate your valuable military experience to a resume that a civilian audience will understand. It's essential to look at the job's skill requirements and build your resume highlighting how your military experience relates. Remember the civilian audience; you want the recruiter and hiring manager to understand your experience - spell out acronyms, translate military language into more universal terms. Highlight your transferable soft skills such as teamwork, problem-solving, and leadership on your resume.
At PagerDuty, veterans can find community within our ERG, PatriotDuty, as their mission is to promote and build military support and presence through recruitment, internal education, and community outreach."
—Yvonne Bosquez, Senior Recruiter/Recruiting Business PartnerLearn more about PagerDuty here.
Meta (formerly the Facebook company)—Use the Military Skills Translator
"We invite veterans to use the Military Skills Translator, a tool used to help navigate all career opportunities at Meta. In partnership with Military.com, we have added in an "Interest" option to help expand career opportunities beyond those that align with military experience to those that align with your passions.
Tips to optimizing the tool:
- Enter in your Branch and Military Job Title.
- Select from a list of Interests.
- Use the civilian skills results to translate your skills on a resume. These skills can also help guide building out a resume and developing points for interview conversations.
Visit www.fb.careers/veterans to learn more."
Learn more about Meta here.
Uber—Start by building your network
"Start by building your network––creating a Linkedin and adding connections––who you can look to when the time comes. Work on your elevator pitch––your story in three minutes––and when describing your experiences, use language anyone can understand to translate your experiences. Think ahead and make a plan about what's really important in the next phase of your career. Do you want to continue to build the relationships and skills that you've been working on or do you want to do something completely different, something that's a passion of yours you haven't had time to pursue yet?"Learn more about Uber here.
Siemens—Showcase your transferable skills in your resume
"Siemens is reengineering the applicant screening process to do away with "screening out" candidates (that aren't qualified) and implementing a "screening in" concept. Veterans can showcase their transferrable skillset in their resume and, if available, a cover letter. Siemens hires Veterans and transitioning Military members with direct and indirect experience into positions, providing training where needed. Performing a job in the military doesn't mean you have to stay in that role as a civilian. Zach, a Navy Helicopter Pilot, was hired into sales and is now a Sales Manager. Siemens' growth culture allows passion and learning to transform your career."Learn more about Siemens here.
Blackrock—Do research to understand the industry you’re interested in
- "Research and network: Understand the industry, identify the role/team you're interested in, align your military experience with BlackRock principles, connect with someone from our extensive Veterans & Allies Network – BlackRock employees are always receptive to others reaching out and asking questions.
- Translate your resume/CV into business terminology to describe your military roles, responsibilities and achievements – but make sure the roles are still recognizable as military ones. In the interview, use the STAR method to highlight challenges you faced and how you overcame them – be specific and try to use plain language.
- Consider gaining qualifications that help you certify the experience and skills you bring across (e.g., project management).
- Don't underestimate how transferable your skills are! The soft skills you developed over your military career will be hugely beneficial to BlackRock.
- Try to enjoy the process; there is nobody here trying to trip you up."
Cummins—Find how your characteristics overlap with the company’s core values
"Cummins Inc. has organized and committed to fulfill our vision of making Cummins a place where veterans are empowered to achieve their full potential.
We believe that the military cultivates integrity, dedication to excellence and service to community in every service member.
Though the specific words may differ, there is no question that these characteristics strongly overlap with our core values.
Providing an engaging, challenging and inclusive workplace for military veterans and their families strengthens our business as a whole and benefits our customers, employees and communities."
Learn more about Cummins here.
Moody’s—Showcase your values in your application and resume
"Moody's recognizes and supports veterans, active-duty military personnel, and military families. Much like the military, Moody's is rooted in core values, which you can learn about by visiting https://about.moodys.io/our-values . When applying, veterans should align their military service values with Moody's by showcasing those values in their application and resume."
Learn more about Moody's here.
Stack Overflow—Articulate your actionable outcomes with details
I believe the most important thing a Veteran can do is articulate where they have had actionable outcomes and experience that correlate to what is required within the duties of the job description regardless of when they performed those duties. Equally, I would use civilian terminology versus military jargon as it pertains to business. Laterally, explain the experience in size, scope, and impact with outcomes both wins and learned opportunities. Describe People, Tools, Technology, and Process. Were you the owner or task manager? Lastly, short bulleted formatting to gain attention and leave the hiring manager to ask questions about your experience.Learn more about Stack Overflow here.
Smartsheet—Only list accomplishments that are relevant to the job you’re applying for
"Have someone who has no military experience read your resume to make sure they understand your experiences and performance. Avoid unnecessary technical military terms, and only list accomplishments that are relevant to the job you're applying for. Reframe your experiences and focus on the characteristics you bring to the table. Things like teamwork, integrity, leadership, and innovation are all desirable traits that the military is known for. You're coming in with incredible work experience and professional success but will approach problems and workflows with a totally fresh perspective—that's not only unique but also valuable."Learn more about Smartsheet here.
Relativity—Articulate how you’d be a valuable member of the organization
"One thing veterans can do when applying to Relativity is highlight their unique skillset. What I found difficult was how to articulate how I'd be a valuable member of the organization. As veterans, we often have a solid amount of training, and our ability to multi-task is severely underrated. Veterans constantly assess situations and focus on multiple, heavily relied upon operations at the same time. In the Army, we've adopted the term "battle buddy." Never forget how important your teamwork skills are. Even though we may not be going into battle, companies have a mission that we can help accomplish."
—Keith Willoughby, Incident Response Analyst
Learn more about Relativity here.
PwC—Bring your passion and ingenuity to work
You've done amazing things - be sure to tell us about them! Teamwork, loyalty, and adaptability are all qualities valued in a PwC Professional; they are also ingrained in those who have served in the military. Whether it was developing your direct reports, executing the mission, or administrating day-to-day operations, your military experience is translatable, valuable, and in high demand. Bring your passion and ingenuity to put your skills to work in new and unexpected ways.Learn more about PwC here.
Intuitive Surgical—Understand why your skills are important
"Don't try to blindly showcase your experience without understanding what you are trying to solve or how you can fit into the organization. Start by asking what the job is, what they are looking for, what the challenges are, WHY those are important?!"
—Sascha Gerber, da Vinci Clinical Sales Manager
"Be confident in the fact that you are likely 5 years older than the civilian candidates interviewing for the same job you are. This means additional life experience, maturity, thoughtfulness, etc. Figure out a way to highlight those qualities!"
—Mark Stepanishen, da Vinci Clinical Sales ManagerLearn more about Intuitive Surgical here.
CHG Healthcare—Connect the dots between your military position and the role you are applying for
"When applying for a job at CHG Healthcare, we feel a military background can bring a broad range of skills and equip veterans with different ways to approach their work. We're interested to learn:
1. How your military experience helped you grow and develop.
2. What you learned about yourself, and how that shaped your approach to work today.
3. What new skills and attributes you developed through your military experience.
4. What are some specific examples of how these skills and attributes have led to successful business outcomes.
Help us connect the dots between your military position and the role you are applying for. The language of the military and business are often different, even when the work or skills are similar. We don't want to overlook something that they've done that could be a differentiator for them."Learn more about CHG Healthcare here.
Okta—Be open to learning and receiving feedback
"As veterans, we've gained valuable experience during our service, and it's essential to present that in a way employers will understand. Translating your military service to ensure the reader understands - that's hard! Try using plain language while articulating the importance of the role you had and quantify results—document training courses to help employers understand the military education you received. Remember, never underestimate your leadership experience and your value. Being open to learning and receiving feedback is a must-have quality employers are looking for, and you had to evolve/adapt to an entirely new career- multiple times! You got this."
—Meghan Gilliam, Senior Scalability Enablement AnalystLearn more about Okta here.
Spectrum—Take advantage of a resume development tool
"Spectrum has a long history of hiring individuals who have a mission-oriented mindset, something that is particularly cultivated during military service. Here are some resources and tips specific to veterans when applying for a role with us:
- Take advantage of a resume development tool to help you align military accomplishments with civilian opportunities.
- Spectrum offers an "Introduce Yourself" video feature that allows you to create a personal video to describe your interests and experience.
- You can also try our FitFinder tool to find your ideal career by answering questions about your interests, styles, background, and career aspirations.
Spectrum has recently been recognized in Forbes "2021 America's Best-In-State Employers for Veterans" for the following states: Colorado, Connecticut, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina.
Learn more about our Military Hiring Mission in the video above."Learn more about Spectrum here.
S&P Global—Review the job description carefully
Latisha Kimber, Head of Digital Engagement
"Veterans should be sure to highlight their unique and valuable experience, and clearly demonstrate how it can apply to the specific job they are applying to. These candidates will often have developed important competencies like leadership, collaboration, and problem solving that are in demand across many business functions. To stand out, review the job description carefully and identify the key competencies and skills that the role requires. Then tailor your resume to highlight your most relevant experience and how it applies to the open role."Learn more about S&P Global here.
CDW—Show your career progression
"At CDW, we know our veteran coworkers bring core military values that align directly with how we do business, our company code of honor: The CDW Way. Veterans can highlight their experience with commitment, integrity, respect, and making things happen. Additional tips from our recruiters include:
- Show career progression and consolidate listing of ranks where possible.
- Think about the role you are applying for and clearly highlight the relevant experience.
- Translate military occupation and rank into civilian sector titles. Check out our military skills matcher to see how your experience translates directly to roles at CDW.
- Always include your military schooling opportunities and deployments in your resume.
Learn more about one of the many ways we support military and veteran families in the video above."
Learn more about CDW here.
Nike—Let your experience shine
"When you apply to Nike, we want your experience as a Veteran and as dreamers, optimists, and inventors to shine through. Your unique training in the military is crucial for us to continue to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world. We are invested in your future at Nike because here, we win as a team. As Veterans, you have proven that to complete the mission you can navigate ambiguity and understand how important teamwork is. Your lived experiences of bravery, fear, and inspiration now enable you to bring that same determination and spirit to Nike. "
Learn more at: jobs.nike.com/military
Learn more about Nike here.
Procore—Explain your experience during interviews
"November is Veterans and Military Families Month
Every November, Veterans and Military Families Month is observed in the U.S to honor the sacrifices made by active duty, Guard, and Reserve military families.
At Procore, we're honoring Veterans and their families by creating space to listen, learn, and share resources that meet their unique needs. we're evolving our Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging initiatives, amplifying Veteran voices and transforming Procore into a place where everyone can thrive. We're also providing our recruiters with new resources while training them to ask interview questions that help Veterans identify transferable skills from their service. Read more about how Procore is building a more diverse and inclusive future that's grounded in a shared sense of belonging."Learn more about Procore here.
In the “Great Resignation,” an estimated 47 million employees (and counting) voluntarily quit their jobs. The job market still hasn’t recovered from the unprecedented “quit rate” of 3.3% at the Great Resignation’s peak. Now, about 50% of the workforce are “quiet quitters” according to a Gallup poll — meaning, half of workers are disengaged at work and do only the minimum required of their job.
Having engaged talent is a competitive advantage for companies in today’s work environment. Replacing an employee who’s handed in their two-weeks notice can, after all, cost your company 21% of the employee’s annual salary. Employee retention strategies — ones that go beyond a box of donuts in the breakroom — are key to keeping workers engaged in the workplace. But given that overly played-out retention tactics can be ineffective at best and make your company look insincere at worst, it’s important to prioritize the right strategies. To that end, let’s go over some new and improved employee retention strategies that you may not have tried yet.
In this article, you'll find:
- Why employee retention strategies fail
- The best employee retention strategies
- Your employee retention strategy is your DEI initiative
Why employee retention strategies fail
There are plenty of employee retention strategy examples out there, but efforts can fall short. For your employee retention strategies project to be successful, you need to avoid these four common pitfalls.
1. Not delivering on promises. If you say you’re going to do something, follow up on it. Consistency is key to building employee retention strategies. Don’t ask employees to be honest about how they're feeling at work and then ignore their input. Or worse, promise big reform and fall short with token changes.
2. No trust. Studies indicate that “quiet quitting” is largely due to the relationship between employee and boss. Managers need the time, skills, and training to build solid relationships with staff. There are resource forums for people leaders to share ideas. Using tried-and-true best practices is the best strategy to build trust.
3. Siloed initiatives. Employee retention strategies can’t just live in HR. The moment they become siloed within one department or position, they fail. Employee retention strategies need to be a priority in every department and at every level.
4. No resources. Employee retention strategies need resources. To put it plainly, unfunded initiatives don’t work. Employees should be compensated for extra work such as sitting on an employee retention committee or putting together a workplace social. Likewise, pay raises and compensation should be a central part of the conversation. Remember, one of the main issues for quiet quitters is doing extra work for no extra pay.
The best employee retention strategies for 2022
With the don’ts out of the way, let’s move on to the best employee retention strategies you can start implementing today.
Listen to your employees
Well-run companies spend time and effort collecting feedback and customer satisfaction information. But what about employees? Managers need to ask, “how’s my driving?” Having data is critical to understanding how your employees are affected and making the necessary changes in order for employee retention strategies to take off. Send out an anonymous workplace survey asking about stress levels, feelings of creativity, people’s sense of inclusion, and how connected they are with their managers. If you’re not sure what to measure, start with a couple in-depth interviews. See what people want to talk about. The responses in the interviews will give you the basis for your wider survey.
If you ask your employees to be honest in giving feedback, management needs to be honest and transparent too. Acknowledge publicly the challenges the company faces based on what your employees have told you. This is the first step in accountability. Be transparent about compensation, pay raises, and benefits. Did you realize it is perfectly legal for employees to openly discuss compensation? This traditional taboo is becoming a common water cooler conversation. Social media is informing workers how to advocate for themselves. Meet them where they are. Actions speak louder than words.
Recognize and reward people, not just numbers
Over 1 in 5 employees does not feel valued at work. Feeling valued means knowing that your work is worthwhile and desirable. Watching the same sales people get rewarded for hitting their numbers again and again can be demoralizing for those who go comparatively unrecognized. Know your team and what they’re working on. Openly celebrate different kinds of triumphs, big and small, and be specific when you do. Helping people feel seen takes more than a generic “good job.”
Be flexible about work
Rethink how, where, and how long we do work. Research shows that 52% of workers prefer a hybrid remote-office work model. Employees even prefer it over a 10% pay raise. Employers must respond to this need as part of honing effective employee retention strategies.
And, as far as flexibility goes, time ownership is a massive benefit to offer employees — including by enabling them to work fewer days. Iceland is a leader in experimenting with the 4-day work week. Icelandic companies found it reduced burnout while improving work-life balance. Consider flexible arrangements that have proven results like these. Imagine how teams can be ambassadors for the company when they enjoy a new normal.
Employees that can’t see a clear career path within their company will look elsewhere to grow. The longer an employee stagnates in a position, the more their likelihood of leaving increases. Managers need to regularly work with each employee to envision their growth. Movement can be within their same position or laterally, as well. Give employees a discretionary budget for ongoing education and skills enhancement. Encourage projects and rotations with different departments to learn new skills.
Dust off that DEIB initiative
The best employee retention strategies are ones that are formed through a DEIB lens. DEIB strategies can be innovative for employee retention, as they (should) focus on all the things that make everyone supported, safe, and valued in the workplace. DEIB is, after all, not about making special accommodations for marginalized people; it’s about making the workplace better for everyone.
Your best employee retention strategy is a strategic DEIB initiativeDEIB initiatives make apt springboards for a number of successful employee retention strategies by listening to talent, creating custom work environments, and making employees across identities feel valued. Focus your efforts on DEIB, and employee retention will be one of many positive outcomes. PowerToFly has expert DEIB consultants that can help you jump start your DEIB-informed employee retention plan.
💎 Want to thrive as a customer success manager? Watch the video to the end to get some advice on how to do it.
📼Every customer success team has to follow some steps to achieve efficiency. Play this video to get three top tips that every manager in the SaaS industry should keep in mind. You'll hear from Miki Lager, Director of Customer Success at Tackle, who shares her own experience and knowledge.
📼 Customer familiarity for success. Tip #1: Know your customer. Understand their business. There are three steps in knowing how to navigate that. First, don't make it so operational. Build a true relationship with the client. Understand who are their competitors, what are the challenges they're facing, what's their true mission at heart, and how are they hoping to achieve that. Next, truly understand who the core team is that you should be working with. And finally, make sure to understand their key strategic and revenue goals.
📼Achieve customer success by delegating. Tip #2: Co-manage your customer. Not one person owns the client relationship at your company. Lead with others. Make sure to bring other stakeholders in, so that you can make sure the customer is on their path to success and that they can scale with your business solution. Team up with sales. Build a really strong relationship with your support team. Partner with the product team. The customer needs to understand where your business is headed in the future quarters so that they can plan accordingly, but also for your product team to then understand where the customer's product roadmap is headed, so you can align on strategy and best practices for that customer.
Customer Roadmap To Success - Tip #3: Define A Customer Journey
Have a defined customer journey. If the customer doesn't know where they're heading, it's going to cause some problems. Give them a clear roadmap to success. You can always adjust milestones as needed, based on different goals and different initiatives that you're working on with them. Once you have the customer journey defined, you can figure out which milestones align with the growth strategy the customer has in mind.
📨 Are you interested in joining Tackle? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get to Know Miki Lager
She’s passionate about building client success teams for rapidly growing SaaS organizations. She’s been a leader at small to medium-sized companies, supporting the life cycle of startups through acquisition, and integration. If you are interested in a career at Tackle, you can connect with Miki on LinkedIn. Don’t forget to mention this video!
More About Tackle
Tackle enables software companies to accelerate and operationalize the use of Cloud Marketplaces like AWS, Microsoft, Google Cloud, and Red Hat, without the need for significant engineering resources. Their platform and team come together to make it easier for customers to build, grow, and scale their Marketplace businesses. Tackle was born and built as a remote organization and welcomes others who believe remote companies are the way companies will be built into the future. They believe that everyone has an opportunity to learn and grow in their community.
Nestlé would like to invite you to their Supply Chain virtual recruiting info session on September 29th from 4-5PM EST. Sign up for this event with leaders from our Supply Chain team to get an insider’s view on what it’s like to work at one of Gartner’s top-ranked supply chains for 2022 and the world’s largest food and beverage organization!
To say that Nazanin (Nazy) Brown and her family lead active lives is a bit of an understatement.
“We've got four young children and all of them are in multiple sports throughout the school year, as well as the summer,” she explains. “My husband and I are both coaches, so a lot of our time goes from work to home, out to the field to coach or watch games, and then back home for showers, dinner, and bed.”
With an always-on-the-go home life, it was important to Nazy to have a career that is stimulating but also allows her to be present in the lives of her children.
We sat down with Nazy to learn how she has mastered work-life balance as a Contracting Officer within the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency while she keeps her busy household running smoothly.
From Crime TV Fan to Special Agent
At a young age, Nazy loved crime TV shows, which influenced her choice to study forensic psychology. She went on to earn a master’s degree in the subject, where she got some exposure to federal government agencies.
“During my master's degree, we had a lot of recruiters come to our program,” she recounts. “One of the recruiters from an intelligence agency told us that they often hired people from our program as special agents.”
Nazy is also fluent in Farsi, and in addition to her choice of master's program, this made her an ideal candidate for many agencies.
“I began interviewing for special agent roles based on my Farsi skills,” she reveals. “I got a few job offers, and I landed a job as an entry-level contract specialist in the private sector.”
Working for a government contractor, Nazy quickly advanced in her career and eventually became a Senior Contracting Negotiator for Lockheed Martin — and she was loving it.
“I just really liked it and thought it was a great field to be in,” she says.
And while her career advanced, so did her personal life. She became a young mother with increasing responsibilities at home, which led her to be more mindful of where she was dedicating her time.
“At that point, I was putting in so many hours — it's not a 40-hour work week,” she admits. “It wasn't uncommon for me to sometimes work weekends, especially during proposal season.”
As Nazy continued to pile on the overtime, she saw that she wasn’t able to be the mom she wanted to be.
“I wanted to be able to cut work off when I'm at home,” she recalls. “I didn't want to be that mom that comes home and is on her laptop. This was when I realized that having a job that is strictly limited to just 40 hours a week would be best for our family.”
A Parent-Compatible Workplace
Through friends, Nazy learned more about working in the public service and realized that not only would she not have to work overtime, but it would also allow her to work close to her children.
“Many agencies have onsite daycares,” she notes. “I knew that would help so much with commuting and my stress level, as well as the cost. That was my number one reason to jump into the federal government.”
So, Nazy applied for a role that looked interesting and soon found herself working as a Contract Specialist in the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. The onsite daycare took in her oldest, who was then a toddler, and promised a spot to her second child, who was on the way.
“Having my children onsite with me instead of having to drop them off in another part of the city before work every day pretty much changed my entire life,” she reflects.
With her childcare issues solved and a manageable number of working hours, Nazy was able to focus more on her career development and explore her options. It was her husband, who works in the Intelligence Community (IC), who convinced her to consider switching to intelligence.
“My husband told me that the IC is just a different animal, and he was right. The contracting is different. The mission is amazing. So I decided to look into the IC,” she says.
Applying for roles in the IC required her to rework her entire application package, but her preparation paid off when she landed a role as a Contracting Officer at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA).
“Since I've come to the IC, I've been able to broaden my skills,'' remarks Nazy. “It's an entirely different contract writing system, and the IC’s mission and impact are far greater in size and scope, which has really expanded my knowledge. I've learned so much in the three years that I've been here,” she says.
The Secrets to Work-Life Balance for Working Parents
Over the past two and a half years, working from home became the norm for some parents. For Nazy, this was not an option because of the sensitive nature of the data she handles at NGA — and she actually prefers it this way.
“I like the fact that I can get my work done without interruptions from my kids. And when I go home, I take my lanyard off, hang it up, and I go right into mom mode,” she says.
For other parents looking to have this same work-life balance, Nazy offers the following tips:
- Look for jobs with short commutes. Commuting to work for an hour each way might not seem like a lot in the beginning, but over time it can take a toll”, Nazy warns. “Try to get everything set up in your local area as close as you can. In an online job search, set the parameters to five or ten miles from home, max.”
- Find an organization that offers practical support to working parents. “I don't think a lot of people realize that many government agencies offer onsite childcare,” she shares. “I've had four young children who all went through them and I have nothing but good things to say about them. So consider an employer that offers this, instead of the commercial child care centers, which are double the price.”
- Have food prep on point. Between work and her children’s sports activities, Nazy can’t cook something from scratch every night of the week. “I start the week on prepped meals. By Thursday, we're finishing everything that’s in the fridge, and then on Friday we order something or go out to eat,”
- Take advantage of employer wellness offerings. “You need to take care of yourself as a mom, '' she advises. “NGA gives us three hours a week for physical fitness training, pilates, or yoga classes, which are all provided at work. Taking advantage of that during the work day is so much easier than trying to work out at home.”