Develop several resumes to showcase your military experience in the most relevant ways for different employers, advises retired Air Force Col. Tim Davidson.
"You probably have a lot of things in your kit bag," Davidson says, adding that even 10 versions of a resume aren't too many, depending on the career paths you hope to explore.
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Begin with a comprehensive, chronological listing of all of your military experience, education and training, no matter how many pages it takes, he says.
After assessing the full range of your experience, target specific jobs with a shorter version of your resume that is hand-tailored for those jobs, Davidson adds.
If a job looks interesting but is in a new field, never assume your experience doesn't apply, Davidson says. Research the needs of the organization by talking to people, reading promotional material on the Internet, and finding articles at the library. Then decide which military experiences and skills may be transferable.
"Would a pilot necessarily be a scenario writer?"
Davidson asks. In his case, yes. One of his jobs for
the military involved writing war games scenarios and
predicting and analyzing potential events and outcomes
related to international conflicts and crises. Davidson also worked as an admissions counselor during his 30-year career in the Air Force. While some of his experiences might translate into flight operations or working for an airline, other skills fit into management, analysis or trend projection for industry.
Davidson advises job seekers to draw on their early military experiences. "Now I'm working in an area that has more to do with what I did as a captain and a major," Davidson says of his job as vice president of TranSecur, Inc. in Potomac, Md.
After landing the first post-transition job, remember to regularly update your primary resume, because there is no "official record" to refer to in the civilian world, Davidson says.
Editor's note: This article by Kathleen Brill, was first acquired by washingtonpost.com on February 24, 2003.