Alright, we are almost done; fortunately though, these last 3 sections are easy to fill out and you’ll cruise right through the end of writing this important yet belabored document!
Certifications and Technical Skills go somewhat hand in hand so we are covering both of those in this post.
So what’s the difference? Certifications are skills you have that are accredited by a certification authority. An example would be if you are a Certified Welder by the American Welding Society. Another example would be if you are a Project Management Professional (PMP) certified by the Project Management Institute.
Side Note: The PMP is a very popular certification for veterans as the vast majority of us have the requisite project management experience to sit for the exam. It’s more of a matter of studying and taking the test – if you want to be a project manager.
DO NOT include the plethora of military certifications you earned on active duty unless you have applied for and received the corresponding certification by a non-military certification body. Many of my friends who are pilots will get their FAA certifications as they progress through their military training because they know they want to fly for the airlines when they get off active duty. Nobody cares if you were a qualified Surface Warfare Officer at Wells Fargo. Let alone do they know what it means.
Do not be worried if you don’t have any professional certifications; when I got out, I had zero. But, keep this in mind as you progress in your new civilian career. Certifications are a quick way for hiring managers and talent recruiters to delineate how they are going to quickly cut down the large applicant pool. You’ll commonly see certifications relevant to the position listed in the “Preferred Qualifications” section of the job posting; rarely will you see it in the “Required Qualifications” section.
As you begin to navigate your search, you’ll start to meet or see people who have a bunch of certifications…often times veterans. It’s no surprise that this happens because our culture is to go to training courses and become certified in something that enables us to do our job. In the private sector, certifications only matter if they are relevant to the job you are applying for. If you are a Certified Scrum Master, but are applying to be a financial analyst, no one cares. Being a “generalist” in the military can be advantageous because it keeps your options open as you progress through your career and as I was told in the Navy by my detailer (assignments officer), it makes me more “detailable” to have a broad range of experience.
In the private sector, being a “generalist” isn’t necessarily bad, but it doesn’t show you are exceptionally good at something. And oftentimes, that’s what they are looking for when hiring for a position – someone who has experience and the skills required to complete the job. Makes sense right? So, don’t go out and get a bunch of certifications when you are separating/retiring just to do it. Make sure the certifications you are collecting actually indicate the type of work you are interested in doing.
When you list out your certifications in this section, purely list the certification and the certifying body that gave you the certification. Below are examples from my resume.
Moving on to technical skills – these are different than what you listed in your “Key Skills” section. These are technically oriented skills that you aren’t certified in or don’t have a correlated certification. Now, avoid the temptation to go for a free for all here. If asked, you need to be able to back these up. For most office oriented positions, this section revolves around software. Every veteran should be able to put in the Microsoft Office Suite. If not, I don’t know how you got through active duty without using it! Sharepoint is also a common one as many military units have a sharepoint website that you likely have some familiarity with.
If you worked in some sort of trade on active duty, this is where you can list out your skills in that trade here. However, keep in mind, if you’re looking to work in financial services, you probably don’t need to list your construction skills here. You want to send the right message to the reader. Below are examples from my resume.
Easy peasy right? One final section so stay tuned. It’s unique from most other resumes out there, but in my opinion it can make a big difference. Next time we’ll talk about how to fill out the “Additional Information” section.
As always, email me (Pat@TransitionVetCoach.com) if you have any questions and subscribe to our newsletter below!