One of the biggest challenges for the United States Military is how to transfer in-service skills to jobs in the civilian sector. But, as millions of us know, you do not have to be in the military to be in pursuit of a new career.
With 20 million Americans having experienced layoffs and extended periods of unemployment, changes in careers are a daily occurrence. Declining unemployment rates and rising equity markets do little to sooth the anxiety of being unemployed.
A job is a job. A career is a career. When you do not have either, it is a painful experience. Self-doubt can easily arise. For many persons in this position, looking for a new career can be a daunting task. In an era where technology is the name of the game, dated skill sets are not in demand.
So what is the military veteran to do? What about the college student who has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in a specific field that is no hiring? How about the experienced salesperson whose manufacturer closed operation? What about the bookkeeper whose job fell prey to cutbacks?
The first thing out-of-work candidates must realize is that every experience adds to the resume. The failure of a business is not a failure of the individual. The skills learned at one job in one career can be transferred to another job in a different career.
What the individual must do is identify the skills that are so well grounded that they do not appear to be skills. These skills must be highlighted in the job applicant’s mind and very evident in the resume. It is a fact of life that career changes are happening very regularly. Often, they are a jolting surprise. But, just as often they can be the best thing that ever happened to an experienced worker.
In the Real Warriors*Real Heroes Real Strength program, persons moving from the military to civilian occupations are given several keys to use their experiences to in good jobs. There are several steps, veterans are encouraged to deploy:
Put Aside Your Old Career – The important thing veterans are encouraged to do is seriously identify the skills they acquired in the service that are transferrable to the civilian sector. Leadership skills, the ability to work as a team member, the ability to achieve goals, experience with highly technical equipment and experience with heavy equipment are significant skills that employers value.
Painting the Picture – Your resume should state your experiences in broad and specific terms. Technical skills, interpersonal skills and leadership skills have weight.
Employers Look For More Than a Worker – A successful career requires certain skills beyond technology. Regardless of the career, the ability to communicate, an understanding of efficient productivity, flexibility, enthusiasm and the ability to listen, digest and explain are skills that employers want to see.
Regardless of your education, if you have held a job you have acquired skills. If you have never had a job but have education, you have skill sets.
MSN CareerBuilder reports an interesting story of a former Navy Seal who struggles to find employment. The Seal “just didn’t know what to do with someone who knew how to land on sandy beaches and blow things up.” If you are changing careers, this ,may be your areas of greatest self-doubt. The Seal soon realized that employers wanted. His ability to overcome objects in an expeditious manner had great value to a global high technology business that hired him.
If you have a track record for execution skills or getting the job done, highlight this skill. If you are used to managing people, emphasize this experience. If you have proven communication skills or experience in customer service or sales, you have value. These skills can be applied to any career path. You may have another protocol to follow, but you have skills.
Last, but certainly not least. Businesses are looking for people who can negotiate. Whether that ability applies to closing a real estate transaction, saving money on supplies or parts, you have talent. This is a special skill that every industry respects. “If you can show a track record of saving your employer money by using your good negotiation skills, you become a more desirable employee.”
This is a guest post for TheEmployable
Richard McMunn is the director and founder of How2become; the UK’s leading career and recruitment specialist. For the last 7 years How2become.com has helped applicants prepare for and pass recruitment processes and assessment centres in order to secure their dream job. Find How2become on Google Plus or Twitter.