Tips from a service member on how to turn military experience into a job in the private sector.
When I first moved to New England, I had little direction as to where my life was headed. I had just graduated from the University of Kentucky and accepted a role as a Platoon Leader in the Massachusetts National Guard. As a Platoon Leader I am responsible for the overall well-being, planning and administration of 35-60 soldiers. I report directly to the Commander of the company. Through the National Guard, I commit 2-4 days per month and one 2-3 week annual training per year. In addition to my new responsibilities as a Platoon Leader, it was time for me to start my search for a professional career. I hit the job boards, applied for positions and was offered a position as a recruiter. My career in the Workforce Solutions industry had officially begun.
As time passed in my new role, I noticed a common theme in the way prospective job seekers were responding to me. Time and time again, I heard, “I don’ need a recruiter” or “I’m looking for something more permanent”. I realized I wasn’t making a connection with the people I was calling and therefore wasn’t able to explain how our firm could help them find meaningful work and put them on the path to a great career. This is when I asked myself, “If it was me getting this call, how would I want this opportunity presented to me?”. Asking this question inclined me to investigate and examine the benefits of using a staffing agency to spark a professional career. Even more so, I began to consider how this industry could directly benefit military personnel, like myself.
As a recruiter, I invite all service members to interview with our office so that we can find a career that matches their unique skill set and mastered experience. Throughout the job search process, our highly trained team will help the service member translate their military service to industry relevant experience. In preparation for an interview, we would also coach the individual on how to align their military experience with the requirements of the job they are applying to. Consider an Army medic who is looking to translate his or her strengths into a civilian admin opportunity. Many employers are looking for experience with software like Epic or E-clinical Works (ECW), Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems. However, the Army generally uses AHLTA Electronic Heath Record (EHR) systems, which records beyond standard clinical data. When a civilian hiring manager asks about specific software, the service member should then be prepared to talk about AHLTA and the amount of time in which he or she spent navigating the Military EHR systems.
Another quality that sets Greysmith apart from other agencies is the pride our team takes in reviewing your resume and career goals, while simultaneously searching for your ideal job. For example, service members’ resumes often contain military jargon. It’s crucial for an employer to understand what they are reading about you and what you are saying. A specific example of this would be telling the service member to use terms like “supervisor” instead of “non-commissioned officer in charge” (NCOIC) or “relocation” instead of “permanent change of station” (PCS).
Your Greysmith talent specialist would also direct service members to promote the distinctive characteristics of their background. Service members are known to be dependable, detail oriented, respectful and resourceful. It is key to portray this throughout the interview process. Military personnel can often stand out to an interviewer by discussing the ambition, drive, discipline and confidence expected of them during service.
At Greysmith, our talent specialists take pride in going above and beyond for our candidates. It is important for us to serve those who serve us. Often, service members have all the pieces to “complete the puzzle”, however, fitting those pieces together may take a little bit of coaching and calibrating from a member of our team. We take the time and apply the extra effort to set our job seekers on a progressive path towards their career goals.