One of the toughest aspects of the interview process is translating your experience in the military to job-applicable skills. If you’re applying for jobs that directly relate to your MOS, the process is fairly simple — if you fixed vehicles you have plenty of experience as a mechanic, if you worked on the engine of a submarine you’ll have no trouble talking about your engineering experience. Even if you encounter a speed-bump figuring this out, the process is relatively straightforward if the job you’re applying for is similar to what you did in the military.
But, what if you want to do something completely different from your MOS? In a recent article by The Daily Beast, Michael Lokesson discusses the struggles veterans in this position will face. He says, “Schmiegel refers to this as “rebranding,” teaching soldiers how to spin their military experience in a way that is more attractive to their chosen civilian profession. And the Hiring Our Heroes organization is taking steps to educate veterans in the rebranding process.”
Lokesson himself encountered these difficulties. Due to poor eyesight and the structure of NROTC, he was commissioned as a surface warfare officer which places heavy emphasis on engineering. Lokesson didn’t have a passion for the job, but he was unable to change specialties. “The all-volunteer military has created a mindset within the civilian job marketplace that the military is itself a career choice, no matter how short one’s term of service. As a result, veterans, upon exiting the military, are confronted with a circumscribed set of careers in which they can directly parlay the skills and experience they acquired during their service. They become “stovepiped”—set on a particular career track whether they like it or not,” said Lokesson.