15+ Ways to Translate Your Military Experience for a Civilian Career
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.
Chainalysis’s Ashley Vaughan on Why She Finds Cybersecurity So Meaningful, and How More Women Can Find Their Niche in the Industry
How much money do criminals control today, and where is it?
These are some of the many questions that Ashley Vaughan, Senior Solutions Architect at blockchain data platform Chainalysis, spends her days working to answer.
“You learn more about a situation or problem by following the money than from any other resource or piece of information,” she explains. “Money doesn't lie. People can lie in text messages or other means, but the path of the money leads you to what you're trying to accomplish.”
Though Ashley always knew she wanted to work with computers, she found her way into roles in cybersecurity, and then specifically blockchain security, through networking and exposure — not by setting out to do so.
We sat down to talk about her career journey, as well as what advice she has for other women looking to make their mark in these burgeoning fields.
Resilience and Curiosity
Ashley doesn’t often give up, and credits some of that attitude to an obsession with soccer as a kid.
“Playing sports makes you a more resilient person, I think. You learn failure and risk, which are very applicable to my job and my career path,” she says.
That resiliency was a good thing, notes Ashley, because as a young girl, she wasn’t always encouraged to pursue what she was most interested in: math and science. A teacher early on had told her that she wasn’t good at math, and Ashley believed that narrative until high school.
“We really shouldn’t put those ideas in children’s minds, because it affects them for much longer than you might think,” she says of the experience. “But I’m the kind of person that when someone tells me I can’t do something, it makes me want to do it even more, and do it better.”
Finding out in advanced high school math classes that she actually was good at math turned into choosing a computer engineering major when she got to college.
Graduating during a recession in 2010 meant Ashley didn’t have the job market of her dreams, but after working in IT, she networked her way into a role in the cybersecurity department of a prominent DC law firm.
“They were getting hit left and right from social engineering and phishing attempts,” says Ashley. “Due to the sensitive nature of the work they dealt with, I was exposed to the darker realities of the digital era, and I began to see a new side to the world—one of real significance to national security.”
Specializing in Cybersecurity — and Finding a Home in the Private Sector
Inspired by what she was working on at the law firm, Ashley pursued a master’s in cybersecurity with a focus on counterterrorism.
“I wanted to help protect our country,” she explains. “I have a lot of family members who are former military, so that was a natural step for me.”
That led to her taking a contract role specializing in offensive security at a government agency that frequently worked with Chainalysis. After working with Chainalysis folks onsite, she was sold and started pursuing a position with the company.
“I wanted to help make sense of blockchain data for a bigger purpose, like assisting in the continued threat of ransomware activity against American interests,” she explains.
Although she credits her public sector work with providing a solid foundation in blockchain security, the private sector turned out to be a better fit for her.
“What I love about Chainalysis is that my colleagues are really happy people, and I’ve always felt welcome and not scared to ask questions,” says Ashley. “In past jobs, where I was one of five women in a group of 150, I felt a lot of pressure. I didn’t ever want to make a mistake. I felt as if I had to be a chameleon to match the social environment of my male counterparts.”
Blockchains are all about democratizing data, and Ashley likes working with a team of people of all backgrounds to help support that mission. At Chainalysis, Ashley works with internal product and engineering to show customers how Chainalysis data can help them use complex blockchain solutions to solve data problems — and catch bad guys.
“Sometimes we’re following a bad actor who’s tied to child sex trafficking. Being part of a coordinated operation to put a stop to things like that is really fulfilling,” she says.
3 Tips for Women Who Want to Find Their Place in Cybersecurity
For a long time, reflects Ashley, she just wanted to come into work, do her job, and feel supported, without feeling like she didn’t fit in or was representing her entire gender. Fortunately, she found what she wanted — and she hopes other women will find that, too. They can start their search by:
- Knowing they’re not alone in having tough experiences. “Everyone has different definitions for how you’re supposed to act or supposed to handle your emotions as a woman at work, and it’s exhausting. It’s like, ‘This is just me.’ I can’t repeat enough how tiring that is,” she says.
- Prioritizing self-directed learning. Although Ashley completed a master’s in cybersecurity, she emphasizes that there are many other routes into the industry, including self-study. Whether you get involved in programs like Girls Who Code or do self-paced learning through platforms like Udemy or Coursera, the important thing is that you pursue independent learning about topics that interest you, she says.
- Creating and maintaining relationships. “Really talking to people is almost a lost art,” says Ashley. “Getting together with someone who has the same sort of mindset and leveraging their knowledge, and making sure you keep in touch with people who help further your career, is a good move. Most of the places I got to professionally were based on my human connections.”
Nowadays at Chainalysis, Ashley is no longer one of five women in the office, and is excited to start paying it forward so that more people with backgrounds like hers can pursue their own professional success.
“We tend to feel more comfortable talking to people who might have our same gender or educational background, and being open and vulnerable with them,” she says. “Being a visible role model is really important to me.”
Check out Chainalysis’ open roles here!
We all have our favorite websites– the ones we frequent, bookmark, and recommend to others. You might even enjoy some website features so much that you’ve found yourself wondering why they aren’t more popular. Or maybe you’ve experienced times where you were frustrated with a website and wished you could add features or even design your own!
If you’ve ever found yourself intrigued at the prospect of designing and developing your own websites, then a career as a web developer might be just for you!
As a web developer you would be responsible for coding, designing, optimizing, and maintaining websites. Today, there are over 1.7 billion websites in the world and, in turn, the demand for web developers is on the rise. In order to figure out what kind of web development work best suits you let’s start with an introduction to the three main roles in web development that you can choose from.
The Three Types of Web Development Jobs
Front-End Web Development: The Creative Side
In addition to programming skills, front-end developers need to be detail oriented, creative, willing to keep up with the latest trends in web development, cyber security conscious, and geared toward user-friendly designs. The median salary for a front-end developer can reach well into the $90,000 to $100,000 range.
Back-End Web Development: The Logical Counterpart
While a house can be beautifully decorated, it’s incomplete without a solid foundation and efficient infrastructure. Similarly, a well-designed website depends on logical and functional code to power the features of that website. Back-end web development is code-heavy and focused on the specifics of how a website works. If you enjoy the analytical challenge of creating the behind-the-scenes code that powers a website, then back-end development is for you.
Full-Stack Web Development: A Little Bit of Everything
A full-stack developer is essentially the Jack (or Jill)-of-all-trades in web development. Full-stack developers need to be knowledgeable about both front-end and back-end roles. This does not necessarily imply that you would need to be an expert in both roles, but you should fully understand the different applications and synergies they each imply. In order to work in this position, you will need to know the programming languages used by front-end and back-end developers. In addition to these languages, full-stack developers also specialize in databases, storage, HTTP, REST, and web architecture.
Full-stack developers are often required to act as liaisons between front-end and back-end developers. Full-stack developers need to be both problem solvers and great communicators. The end goal for a full-stack developer is to ensure that the user’s experience is seamless, both on the front-end and on the back-end. In return, you can expect to earn a median salary of $100,000 – $115,000 a year for this role.
Taking the Next Step
Web development is both in-demand and lucrative! All three roles described above contribute to specific aspects of web development and the scope of each one can be customized to the industries and positions you feel best suit you. Regardless of which role you choose, all of them need a foundation in programming.
To gain the programming skills needed in each role, you can enroll in courses or learn independently. Coding bootcamps are a great way to boost your skillset quickly and efficiently.
Click here for some of our highly rated programming bootcamp options! Make sure to check out the discounts available to PowerToFly members.
💎 “What are you passionate about?” In an interview, you may have to answer this and other personal questions. Watch the video to the end to succeed in your job interview at Ribbon.
📼If asked “what are you passionate about?” in an interview you need to show how your passion can make you a good candidate for a job position. Ryan Key, Talent Partner at Ribbon, shares some tips and tricks for you to stand out!
📼Answering what are you passionate about in an interview is not the only thing you need to know how to do to succeed. You should try to make sure that you express your experience in a way that shows your interest in Ribbon’s mission. Also, prove that you did your research and demonstrate to the recruiter that you understand exactly how your role affects Ribbon’s purposes. Don’t forget to share some ideas on how you intend to fulfill the company’s mission!
📼 You are asked what are you passionate about in an interview, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t ask as well. You should feel empowered to ask any question you want during your interview process. It may be helpful to save certain questions for certain people. If you're in an interview with your potential manager, you should take that time to ask about their assessment metrics for the role and their management style. If you're speaking with a potential peer, this would be a great time to ask about their experience during training and to learn a little more about the team and culture.
What Are You Passionate About? Show In Your Interview That You Are Aligned With Ribbon's Values
The mission at Ribbon is to make homeownership achievable for everyone, especially communities traditionally left out of the homeownership story. One way Ribbon addresses diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace is through its support of employee resource groups. Remember to show that your passion is aligned with these core values!
🧑💼 Are you interested in joining Ribbon? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get to Know Ryan Key
If you are interested in a career at Ribbon, you can connect with Ryan Key on LinkedIn. Don’t forget to mention this video!
More About Ribbon
Ribbon is a first-of-its-kind real estate technology company transforming the real estate transaction by delivering certainty, transparency, and joy to the home buying process. Consumers and realtors deserve a better experience, and they have designed an open platform that welcomes everyone in the ecosystem to participate.
💎 Partnerships in remote environments is one of the most important aspects to construct in a company. Watch the video to the end to get good tips on how to do it successfully.
📼Wondering how to create partnerships in remote environments? Play this video to get three top tips that will help you to achieve it. You'll hear from Olga Shvets, HR Business Partner, and Viktoriia Litvinchuk, People Team Operations at Unstoppable Domains, who will explain the essentials of this process.
📼How to build partnerships in remote environments? Tip #1: Communicate Effectively. Communication is the key to enabling your remote team to be successful. Choose the channel that works best. For this, chat with your employees and see what they use to communicate, that's how you find the best solution. Also, make sure your team is on board with your internal tools and they know what, how, and where they need to use them.
📼A requisite for building partnerships in remote environments is Tip #2: Show appreciation. Appreciation is shown through your actions. Let your employees know that you value everything they do for the company. Create a special gratitude channel where everyone can share their appreciation for their colleagues for some contribution. Celebrate some wins, promotions, and everything that is important for the company. If you appreciate the employees, employees do the same for the company.
Create Partnerships In Remote Environments Using Trust - Tip #3: Give Honest Feedback
Use engagement surveys! They are a quick and effective way to receive honest feedback from your team and you can see what's working well and what needs to be improved. Your main priority is to create spaces where managers and employees can share honest, relevant feedback.
📨 Are you interested in joining Unstoppable Domains? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get to Know Olga Shvets
If you are interested in a career at Unstoppable Domains, you can connect with Olga on LinkedIn. Don’t forget to mention this video!
More About Unstoppable Domains
Unstoppable Domains is bringing user-controlled identity to 3 billion+ internet users by issuing domain names on the blockchain. These domains allow users to replace cryptocurrency addresses with human-readable names, host decentralized websites, and much more.
By selling these domains direct to consumers for a one-time fee, the company is making a product that will change cryptocurrency and shape the future of the decentralized web by providing users control over their identity and data.