Civilian Terms to Help in Your Search for Retired Military Careers
Making the Link between Military and Civilian Terminology
During a candidate’s search for retired military careers, we are often asked, “How does my background fit into the corporate sector?” As a military service member, your skill set, no matter what your specialty, directly correlates to civilian positions.
Below are seven very important terms that will help convey your military career in ways that a civilian interviewer will understand, and will aid in your search for retired military careers. These terms can be used in both the job description and accolades section of the resume and will help you “civilianize” your background.
1. Technical Leadership
Generic definition - List any situations where you have direct or indirect oversight of personnel in a technical military environment (onboard a Naval ship or in an Armor unit, Maintenance Squadron, Motor Pool environment, etc.)
Examples of use within a resume:
Controlled the operation of the Navy’s largest nuclear power propulsion and electrical generation plant onboard its most prestigious aircraft carrier. Trained, scheduled, supervised, and evaluated 30 multifunctional technical personnel in a maintenance work center.
As the Automotive Maintenance Officer, coordinated challenging maintenance schedules for over 380 vehicles, trailers, and associated equipment located in Iraq. Provided technical expertise and quality assurance to six maintenance shops to ensure the proper completion of repairs and adherence to environmental and worker safety guidelines.
2. Quality Improvement / Process Improvement
Generic definition - List any situations where you implemented process and/or quality improvements which resulted in increased efficiencies.
Example of use within a resume - Improved the overall quality of a maintenance program by 20% through the implementation and improvement of various newly designed tracking systems.
3. Maintenance Management
Generic definition - List any situations where you managed a maintenance team, scheduled maintenance or directed maintenance upkeep on equipment or in a facility.
Example of use within a resume - Managed the maintenance of 21 aircraft, valued at $480M, flying 10,000 hours annually. Inspected and evaluated all maintenance activities, improved procedures and solved problems. Coordinated with headquarters to solve logistical support issues.
4. Project Management / Project Lead / Program Manager
Generic definition - List any situations where you managed one or more projects from design to completion. The coordination of materials, effective tracking of projects, efficient use of personnel and budget management are all factors that tie into Project Management.
Example of use within a resume - Lead Project Manager for a warehouse upgrade; completed project two weeks ahead of schedule and 10% under budget.
5. Logistics or Supply Chain Management
Generic definition - List situations where you managed the movement of equipment and/or personnel from one location to another. Nearly every military leader can discuss Logistical Operations examples. Supply Chain Management is a more in-depth exposure to logistical operations. If you are in one of the following specialties, you would most likely be able to claim experience in Supply Chain Management: Army Quartermaster/Transportation, Navy Supply, or Air Force Contracts/Acquisition to name a few.
Example of Logistics within a resume - Directed the logistical deployment and redeployment of over $500,000 worth of military equipment to Iraq.
Example of Supply Chain Management within a resume - Managed the full contract lifecycle for multi-million dollar procurements in the military/federal arena as the Supply Chain/Purchase Manager for a 250-person organization.
6. Maintenance Technician
Generic definition - In addition to listing your specific hands-on experience, list your technical military training. To convey the maximum amount of technical value, list the topics covered and length of the training course (hours of instruction and/or course duration) under each subject title. For instance, a college student taking 12 hours a semester is considered full-time. Many military training courses are 40 hours per week with additional mandatory study periods.
Example of Maintenance Technician within a resume - Military Training: Electronics Technician Communications Strand, Class A School (280 hours). Experience: Adjusted controls and valves on equipment to provide power and to regulate and set operational parameters of system and industrial processes. Lubricated, maintained, and repaired equipment, using hand tools and power tools.
7. Production Control / Shift Supervisor
Generic definition - List maintenance supervision experience. For Maintenance and Maintenance Material Control, the US Air Force specifies the position as "Production Control." In the Navy, these positions can be “Work Center Supervisor”, "Leading Chief Petty Officer" or “Auxiliaries Officer”. In the Army and Marine Corps, you may be a "Team Leader" or an "Aviation Ordnance Team Chief". Understand that the civilian terms "Production Control" and "Shift Supervisor" almost always refer to manufacturing opportunities.
Example of Production Control / Shift Supervisor within a resume - Production Supervisor, Jet Engine Intermediate Maintenance, 48 Component Maintenance Squadron, Royal Air Force, Alkanet, England - Planned maintenance operations and directed 52 personnel tasked with tearing down, inspecting, repairing and building jet engines. Analyzed requirements to ensure optimum use of resources. Identified maintenance, supply and personnel issues affecting production and mission capabilities. Monitored and assessed logistics and maintenance personnel shortfalls.