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Preparing for Civilian Job Interviews

There's going to come a time when you put aside the uniform and transition to the civilian work force. One of the toughest elements of the job market for some transitioning soldiers is the job interview. In the military, if someone wants to know about your background and training, they check out your records. In the civilian world, you have to learn how to sell yourself.

Learn to Speak Civilian
Even once you've broken your habits of speaking in military lingo, you still have to learn to put what you know into civilian terms. A soldier knows what kind of responsibilities a Staff Sergeant is expected to have, but a civilian probably does not. Concentrate on numbers when you describe your military duties. For example the number of persons you supervised or the dollar values of the equipment for which you were responsible. Check out the terms used in the job description, and work those words into your description of your military experience. The civilian job market survives on buzzwords just like the military; the specific words are just different.

Practice Describing Yourself
Describing your military experience for a job interview is a lot like reciting your biography for a military promotion board or soldier-of-the-month board. You have to add descriptions of military terms and positions, but otherwise, it's much the same. Prepare in the same way you would prepare for a board. Recite your background in front of a mirror. Record yourself and listen to the recording. Have a friend or family member watch and critique you. Remember, job hunting is best thought of as a job in itself, and you should put in the same effort as you would into your work.