3 Ways to Connect Your Military Experience in Your Next Interview

John Akkara
3 Ways to Connect Your Military Experience in Your Next Interview

Every career features its own specific language, making conversations with others about the work you do potentially difficult. This is especially true when it comes to having military experience on your resume. You’ve been in an entirely different world with ranks, positions and acronyms most people won’t be familiar with, meaning translating your skills can be challenging. Fortunately, there are three easy ways to connect your military experience to civilian life during your next interview.

 1. Learn the company jargon

After scheduling the interview, spend some time studying the job description and learning from others in similar fields. Check out LinkedIn profiles to learn how civilian workers describe what they’ve accomplished. Your goal is to figure out what their terms mean and how you can translate your accomplishments in a way that makes sense to the interviewer.

A great way to learn more is reaching out to someone in a similar role at another company. They can walk you through what they do and explain some of the jargon to help you feel confident in connecting your experience to what they require.

2. Explain your leadership skills like a civilian

Because there’s a gap between what you’ve done and how an interviewer will perceive that experience, you need to learn how to translate your leadership experience into common, civilian language. They might have a basic understanding of military structure, but it’s likely they won’t understand the full extent of what you’ve done.

Here it’s important to remember to slip out of military jargon and explain your roles simply. For example, if you were a squad leader, you can discuss managing a group of direct reports and balancing the different personalities. 

3. Talk about project management skills

Most veterans will leave the military with some level of project management skills from work, down to planning field exercises, troop leading procedures or even planning a ball. If you’ve coordinated any kind of moving parts, whether people or equipment, showcases these important skills.

Step in and step up

At Smoothstack, we offer an innovative route that combines your talents with our expertise to help you transition into civilian life. IT employers are eager to hire from this pool of natural leaders with a tremendous work ethic, so we bridge the gap and make sure the right technical skills are in place. Our immersive 12-week program gives you the equivalent of 1-2 years on-the-job experience and helps you start out your civilian life strong, whether you’re transitioning out of the military, active duty staff serving in the reserve forces, or a veteran looking for a change. Get in touch with Smoothstack today to learn more.


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