Let’s talk about translating from military-ese to civilian-ese and vice versa. I have noticed that things can easily stall out when neither the military job candidate nor the civilian recruiter knows anything about the others’ language. In many cases, military folks do not know how to write a resume for civilian consumption because they have never had to do it and, in some cases, do not realize that there is a difference. Civilian recruiters, on the other hand, often do not know how to interpret what’s written or ask the right probative questions to make a connection between military work activity and civilian work activity.
This creates a communication gap that is a disservice to all: the candidate fails to present him- or herself in the most favorable light (let alone distinguishing him- or herself from other military candidates), and the recruiter fails to fill job requisitions with military candidates. The outcome often looks like misunderstandings, ill-fitting job placements, and unnecessary challenges in the early weeks and months of the transition from military to civilian employment.
Since both parties are served by speaking the same language, it makes sense that both parties should do what they can to understand the other. For the process to work optimally, translation should be thought of as a shared responsibility.
As many of you know, we have begun posting a series of podcasts on the subject of translating military resumes to our website, http://militarytransitions.biz. Free to anyone, the first four modules represented the internal civilian recruiter’s point of view. They feature two senior recruiting managers from Deloitte. The remaining five modules are geared to the military job candidate, and feature seasoned executive placement expert Alex Powers, of Prestonwood Partners (http://www.prestonwoodpartners.com). Alex presents specific, tactical tips for writing a civilian-friendly resume, working with resume services, and corporate and external recruiters.
The first of these – Module 5 – posts today and, as always, I encourage both military and civilian professionals to listen in. There is much to be learned from hearing one another’s’ perspective. The podcast series empowers everyone with needed knowledge, and serves the mutual goals of successfully interviewing for and filling civilian jobs.