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Fill-in-the-Blank Resume Workbook

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Military-to-Civilian Transition

The Resume Workbook: Military-to-Civilian is a fill-in-the-blanks workbook that is co-authored by Yana Parker, of Damn Good Resume Guide, and Fred Mitchell, USMC Retired.

This workbook is AFFORDABLE for classroom use (so each trainee has their own copy to write in) -- and still appropriate for individual use.

It features the SURE-FIRE sucessful "Ten Steps to a Great Resume" that are presented in Yana's Damn Good Resume Guide and in her Blue Collar & Beyond: Resumes for Skilled Trades & Services.

For details on availability and price, please contact Susan Ireland.

How to Write a Damn Good Military-to-Civilian Resume
© Yana Parker, author of The Damn Good Resume Guide

Digging For Skills: Where? How?
Uncover Your Skills and Special Talents
Three Ways to Identify & Describe Your Accomplishments

"Dear Ms. Parker, I work with transitioning sailors who are leaving the Navy; I spend a great deal of my time reviewing and writing resumes with them. I use your book--Blue Collar & Beyond, Resumes for Skilled Trades & Services
--which is excellent; I recommend it to clients that are looking for a good standard from which to get ideas and examples. I particularly like your "no-nonsense" approach, and feel that you have the best books on the market. Can you offer any more help for those of us trying to produce good resumes for our servicemen leaving the military?" --Tony Abbruzzi, Honolulu HI.

"Tony, I recently worked with the Counseling staff at California's Camp Pendleton (Marine base) on the same issue. Here are the Guidelines we used there for identifying and documenting SKILLS TRANSFERABLE FROM MILITARY TO CIVILIAN work. We also used the skill-assessment portion of my new fill-in-the-blanks Resume Workbook for Adults in Career Transition and those pages are reproduced below.

Ideas on WHERE and HOW

The sources listed below apply BOTH to career military folks transitioning to civilian jobs, AND to job hunters who have been in the military a relatively SHORT period of time and had a job title with apparently no civilian equivalent.
1. First look at the PRACTICAL FUNCTIONAL SKILLS used in their military job, focusing on skills that cross the boundaries of different vocations. These "transferable skills" might include:
2. Then look at their COLLATERAL DUTIES---additional duties not spelled out in their core job description, but expected of all military personnel. Collateral duties generate transferable skills that apply to lots of different jobs.
For example, with an infantryman, you could ask:
"Were you responsible for training anyone else?" If they said "yes," that might indicate they have skills such as ...
Military installations of all kinds call for COLLATERAL DUTIES involving:
  • Safety maintenance
  • Administration (paperwork)
  • Hazardous materials handling
  • Drug & alcohol abuse prevention
  • Preventive maintenance (inspecting)
  • Job counseling
  • Security
  • EEO (monitoring conditions in workplace)
  • Cleaning maintenance
  • Inventory control (accounting for costly tools)
  • Training (scheduling, logging in equipment and supplies)
Most military job-hunters have transferable skills and good employee traits such as:
  • Written/verbal communication
  • Reliability
  • Responsibility
Many have developed transferable experience in specialized areas:
  • Computer skills
  • Mechanical skills
  • Jack-of-all-Trades skills
3. Look at the skills the job-hunter BROUGHT WITH THEM to the military, from their earlier work history, education, and interests.
You can CREATE THREE SOLID SKILL GROUPS for a civilian resume by combining:
  • Functional, transferable skills from their MILITARY duties
  • Transferable skills from COLLATERAL duties in the military
  • Functional skills developed in CIVILIAN life PRIOR to military experience.
Help with the above ideas came from Lynn Vincent, a San Diego transition consultant; and Craig Baugh, a Utah veteran.

An example from Jack Guarneri (Community College counselor in Trenton, New Jersey): Jack's Israeli military client, with transferable Management & Computer skills plus a big interest in Food, created a functional resume featuring those skills and interests, and got job as manager of a trendy health-oriented restaurant.

1. Dig for TRANSFERABLE SKILLS LIKELY TO BE OVERLOOKED and personal traits applicable to a new job by using the Quiz/Exercise, "Uncover Your Skills and Special Talents" on page 6 of Yana Parker's "Resume Workbook for Adults in Career Transition" AND show below. 2. Dig for SPECIFIC EXAMPLES illustrating those transferable skills by using the following techniques detailed on page 7 - 8 of the same "Resume Workbook"...a) The P.A.R. approach (describe a Problem you solved, your Action, and the Result)b) The Recognition approach (describe how your work earned praise or an award)c) The Disaster approach (compare the RIGHT way to do it and the WRONG way)d) The So-What? approach (show specifically how your action made a difference)

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How to Uncover Your Skills And Special Talents
© Yana Parker (Taken from Yana Parker's "Resume Workbook for Adults in Career Transition")

A Self-Help Quiz for
Adults in Career Transition

Tip for job search counselors

This self-help quiz can help you learn to identify your transferable skills and marketable personal traits--and recognize accomplishments that you didn't previously notice or fully appreciate. Later, on your own or with a counselor's help, you can explore how these identified skills and assets apply to your RESUME and to your JOB SEARCH.

NOW ... Ask yourself these questions.

1. Your boss or supervisor always COUNTS ON YOU for something he thinks you're especially good at. What is it that he always counts on YOU for?
2. If you had to teach a bright new employee the "tricks of the trade" (i.e., how to do a GREAT job in your line of work) what do YOU do special, that you could teach this eager, receptive new employee?
3. If you had to put together a TRAINING MANUAL for the kind of work you do best, how would you describe the MOST important thing it takes to do that job SUPERBLY?
4. When did you go above and beyond your job description, and MORE than earn your pay that day?
5. What do you KNOW so well--or DO so well--that you could teach it to others? What's the MAIN TIP you'd tell people about how to do that LIKE A PRO?
6. IF one of your co-workers were to BRAG about your skills, what would they say?
7. If one of your FRIENDS were to BRAG about you, what would THEY say?
8. If YOU felt totally comfortable bragging about yourself, what would you brag about? What are you most PROUD of?
9. What COURAGEOUS things have you done that you feel good about?
10. What DIFFICULTIES or barriers have you overcome, to get where you are now?
11. What CREATIVE things have you done that you feel good about?
12. Describe something you DESIGNED, CREATED, built, made, or fixed up, that gave you a strong sense of satisfaction. Tell why you felt so good about it.
13. What PRAISE, awards, or acknowledgment did you get from your supervisors?
14. Name about TEN QUALITIES or characteristics of OTHER PEOPLE, that you most respect or admire.
15. Think of a PROBLEM that came up that had other people stumped, but that YOU were able to resolve. What did you do? What does that say about your abilities?
16. If you suddenly had to leave the area for a while (say, to take care of an elderly or sick relative) what would your work buddies MISS about you while you're gone? How would their jobs be tougher, or less enjoyable, when you're not there to help?
17. Which of the qualities you named in Question #14 above are ALSO true about YOU? For each quality that's true of YOU, tell what you DO to express that in everyday life.

Tip for Job Search Counselors:
You can transform this list of self-help questions into a group exercise for 6-8 participants.
Group Exercise Instructions:

1. One person in the group volunteers to play the first "Job-Hunter"
TIP: If YOU, as a member of the Group, think you have no special accomplishments, you're a GOOD candidate to volunteer as "Job-Hunter!"
2. The other 5-7 participants will play Interviewers.
3. "Interviewers" take turns asking the "Job Hunter" any of the questions shown and/or additional questions that work to draw out the "Job-Hunter." "Interviewers" do whatever it takes to bring out the fullest, "juiciest" answers from the person playing "Job-Hunter."
4. After 10-15 minutes, another person volunteers to be "Job Hunter" and is similarly questioned by all the "Interviewers."
5. Continue until you run out of time or the group has interviewed ALL the participants.
LATER all the participants can brainstorm together, OR explore with their counselor's help, how these skills and assets apply to their RESUME and to their job search.

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Three Ways to Identify and Describe Your Accomplishments

1. Use the "PAR" Approach.
· What Problem existed in your neighborhood or workplace?
· What Action did you take to resolve the problem?
· What were the beneficial Results of your action?
P.A.R. statements are powerful because they show clear examples of you
making a difference for your employer.
  • Transformed a disorganized inefficient warehouse into a smooth-running operation by totally
    redesigning the layout; this saved the company $25,000 in recovered stock.
  • Successfully collected overdue or unbilled fees by thoroughly auditing billing records and persevering in telephone collection follow-ups.
  • Organized a Neighborhood Watch Committee that succeeded in improving the safety of our streets, and promoted a sense of community.
2. Use the Recognition Approach.
a) Were you asked to take on more responsibility? For example:
· Chosen out of a staff of 15 to train new employees in the engineering department.
· Selected by manager to handle special rush assignments.
b) Were you awarded an advancement? For example:
· Promoted to senior engineer within one year.
c) Did you earn a bonus for bringing in a new customer or maintaining a difficult customer?
d) Did you get good feedback on performance evaluations?
e) Were you praised or acknowledged by customers, co-workers, outside agencies you contact for your company, union leaders, even competitors? For example:
· Received personal letters of gratitude from clients for outstanding performance.

Use the Disaster Approach.
Think of somebody (real or imaginary) who filled a job like yours, but who was a disaster in that position. What would they have to be doing wrong to be a disaster? If that's the wrong way to do it, what's the right way to do it? Is that what you do? This line of thinking may inspire you to remember an accomplishment–-i.e., how you made a positive difference in your work place.
Example: "Earned award for Most Valuable New Employee" because I rarely missed a day, and helped newer staff members get accustomed to the routine."
(In contrast, the employee who was a disaster in that position might gossip and spread rumors, never help others, and call in late or sick all the time.)
4. Use the "So-What?" Approach.
The "So What?" approach assures that your resume won't just be filled with boring job descriptions. You not only tell what you did, but why it mattered.
Suppose you "Reorganized the filing system and information flow" and you ask yourself, "So What?"
You might then say:
· Reorganized the filing system and information flow, resulting in substantially improved
efficiency for the company.
Or suppose you "Advised supermarket customers on alternativ name-brand items" and you ask yourself "So What?" You'd get . . .
· Increased customer satisfaction and product sales by advising customers of alternatives to name-brand items.

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