The Journey Back | Military-Civilian Skills Translation

civilian transtion

Whether retiring after decades of service, returning from deployment or pursuing a new post-military career, view this time of transition as an exciting opportunity to enrich yourself and build off of your military experience.

In The Journey Back -Preparing For Transition we discussed the need to start early, self assess, tap your resources and inventory your military skills, technical skills and professional skills.

All You Have To Offer

Once you have completed this inventory, you’ll gain a full picture of ALL that you have to offer. With this comes a clearer vision of the new role that you would like to create for yourself  in the civilian world.

Figuring It Out

According to a report titled “Veterans’ Employment Challenges: Perceptions and Experiences of Transitioning from Military to Civilian Life” the IAVA found that 44% of veteran respondents reported they were not ready to transition to civilian life. A majority of these respondents indicated they needed time to “decompress” or “figure out what I want to do.”

Closing The Skills Gap

While you are “figuring out” your career path, why not use the educational opportunities that your military service has provided to close the gap between your military experience, technical expertise, education credentials and professional training. An online certificate program is one of the most convenient options for working veterans and service members to improve career opportunities while still meeting the demands of the everyday.

When considering options for an online certificate program, seek out training from an accredited institution. Courses should be aligned with the skills required to meet your career goals and support your unique needs as a service member transitioning into civilian life.

Seek a college that offers a Post-Graduation plan to help in creating your resume and translating military experience into civilian workplace needs. In addition ask your representative if the course is VA approved and about receiving transfer credit for applicable military training or credit by examination (CLEP, DSST, DLPT).

The Military-Civilian Translation

The IAVA also reported that 9 in 10 veterans said that they had developed skills on active-duty that they could use in their civilian careers but did not know how to convey these skills to employers. Understanding military acronyms, rank structures, service branches and jargon is often equated to learning a foreign language. So it is up to you to de-militarize and translate your military skills, experience and training into civilian terms that employers can better understand. It is probably one of the most important steps in making your transition successful. A few examples include:

  • Civilianize your job title- ex. “Commanding Officer” could translate to “Operations Manager”
  • Think outside the military box and deconstruct your responsibilities
  • Avoid acronyms and abbreviations ex. “EMN ET” should be “Electricians Mate [Nuclear Field]”

No matter your branch of service, career field or area of expertise, take the time to translate not only individual military acronyms and terms, but also career experience and skill sets. Thankfully, all it takes is some creative thinking and a few online resources.

Military Skills Translation Resources:

O*NET, the Occupational Information Network:

  • This tool was developed for the U.S. Department of Labor and helps military members translate their skills into civilian terms. Simply enter your MOS, AFSC, Rating, or job title and the database will return a summary of your military job and some examples of skills you can use on your resume.onet

Military.com MOS Translator: 

  • This tool works the same way as the above link. Simply enter your military job and you will receive a synopsis of skills learned on the job.
    skills translator

My Next Move

  • My Next Move is an easy-to-use online electronic tool sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor. It includes an on-line interest assessment with 60 questions targeted to help you learn what you to do.
    my next move

Additional Articles Include:
The Journey Back -Preparing For Transition
The Journey Back | Military-Civilian Skills Translation
3 Tips To Fast Forward Military-Civilian Career Transition
Dedication To Military Service Members

We’re Here to Help

Our Military Admission Representatives understand the challenge of transition because they have been there themselves. If you have questions or seek additional assistance please fill out the easy online form below and someone will be in touch shortly.

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The email will connect you with an admissions representative who will answer any questions you might have about enrolling, transfer credit, financing options, selecting a program, and more. If you don’t receive the email, please check your spam/promotions folder or email us directly at military@martinsburgcollege.edu.