Lost in Translation – How You Can Ease the Transition into a Civilian Career

Within the fabric of the military structure, the Civil Engineering career field is the military’s equivalent to the construction industry. Civil engineering in our armed forces includes numerous sub-industries such as: electrical work, construction of roads and bridges, construction for commercial and residential buildings, HVAC, and even repair/renovation for damaged buildings.

When it comes to job training and continuing education, the members of our military are held to a very high standard. Civil engineering veterans complete yearly OSHA training in addition to continuous on-the-job training for their specific career field. They work in every type of environment and are trained to assess a situation quickly and respond decisively.

However, not every career field in the military, even in the civil engineering path, will have a direct civilian equivalent. It is critical for a service member to research their target career well before they leave the military so they are better prepared for the transition into civilian employment. The GC’s and specialty contractors who work with FLCC, Inc. are looking for more than a body to perform a job. They are looking for the whole package – a person with the necessary experience, attitude, training and personality to fit within the fabric of their company.

As a veteran, you can maximize the opportunity to build a career within the construction industry in many ways:

  1. Do your homework. If you are planning to transition from a specialized military career to the civilian marketplace, research what experience is expected for the position and assess your experience to ensure there is a match.
  2. If you have the training and certifications required for a position, include the type of certification and the date received. If you find that you are lacking in one of these areas, enrolling in additional certification and training can better prepare you for transitioning to a civilian career.
  3. Understand that the civilian world does not go by rank and may not be able to easily relate the differences in the responsibilities for each rank to the potential for success of a candidate. It is up to you to clearly define what you were directly responsible for to establish that you understand that it is experience rather than testing and time in service that determines the position you have.
  4. Adjust your expectations. Some veterans leave the military with expectations that far exceed what they are actually qualified to do. Military service provides you with many skills and extensive training, but by themselves, these things do not entitle anyone to a high paying job on the outside. You may find that you will have to work your way up to your dream position but the skills and training you gained in the military have prepared you to accomplish that goal.
  5. Do not undersell or oversell yourself. The skills you gained in the military are valuable and are very beneficial for employers. However, it is important for you to understand which skills an employer can place value upon and which skills do not translate to the civilian marketplace. For example, an employer will be interested in learning about how you applied your leadership and communication skills. They may not be as interested in military specific skills sucUnderstanding the difference is crucial to building a successful civilian career in construction.

Veterans face a multitude of challenges when entering the civilian workforce. It is not uncommon for a veteran to be unfamiliar with creating a resume, searching for a job that matches their skills and even interviewing for a position. Veterans may have a considerable amount of on-the-job experience, performing the same tasks as their civilian counterparts, but communicating that experience as something that an employer will be able to place value upon for the success of their business takes a bit of finesse.

When in doubt, contact an employment consultant who understands the nuances of military service and how those skills translate into the marketplace. The Career Matchmakers at Florida Construction Connection, Inc. can help ease the transition from your military service to your civilian career. With FLCC, Inc. you will receive valuable insights on how your skills translate, guidance on how to best prepare for an interview and assistance in finding the career opportunity that helps you further your goals as a civilian.

1 Comment
  • Staad pro

    Great guidance ..!!! The tips which you have shared are very useful . It will help the students in their career. It seems you have knowledge and like to share wiith other people. Keep up the good work. Thanks.

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