On your mark

December 21, 2013 at 5:40 am | Posted in copywriting | 5 Comments
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Does military service torpedo careers?

Does military service kill careers?

As the global economy wobbles and shifts, I’ve been doing more resumes (CVs) than usual.

This recently triggered a prospective client request I’d not encountered before:

Please discuss your experience with translating military careers to civilian resumes.

I had to think about this one – especially as it came from a US prospect.

Along with mining, I don’t do defence (defense) work.

But am I wrong to throw the hand grenade out with the heavy water by focusing on sectors, instead of people?

Anyway, this is what I came up with:

Hi, Arnie*.

I appreciate your wish to choose the best possible service provider.

It wouldn’t surprise me at all if you found a US writer who more closely understood your background and needs.

Last month I did a CV for a Major-turned-CEO who spent a decade in the Australian Army.

Over the years, one or two other clients have come to me with limited military exposure (e.g. reserves) but this was only part of their bigger picture.

My approach to military service is to the accentuate the positive (e.g. leadership, responsibility, decision making, accountability, prioritisation, maturity, working with BIG gear).

During my human resources career, I found some recruiters were a bit ‘twitchy’ about hiring ex-defence personnel.

I always look for the qualities of a person, rather than how or where they honed them.

I’ve been on interview panels where I was a fan of the massively experienced former-naval guy, but other managers wondered why he didn’t get a ‘normal’ job instead of doing service.

So, when doing a resume with military experience, I ensure the content demonstrates that the candidate did not run to the military to escape debt, jail (gaol), women, babies, abusive parents or evil voices in the head.

By laying out the noble reasons for joining up, I neutralise prejudices in the minds of some biased recruiters.

From closely following the media, I gather that the US experience is rather more acute than that of Aussie soldiers.

I think Iraq trumps East Timor.

So I may well not have the big-gun expertise you seek.

What I do have, however, is the ability to put your best foot forward in a way that will delight sceptical managers and cowardly HR types by hitting their hot buttons and negating their fears.

I hope this answers your questions, Arnie.

As a greenie, defence (like mining) isn’t my sector of choice.

But, unlike most in the field, I actually believe human resource professionals  should be human, resourceful and professional.

So I’m pretty confident I can get you where you need to be.

Kind regards,

P.

Arnie hasn’t replied to this or my follow-up email.

I think I lost him at ‘greenie’.

Still, it was an interesting exercise in clarifying what I can (and am prepared to) do to earn a living.

(You may recall I’ve had angst on this issue.)

I hope you found this reflection entertaining.

As always, I warmly welcome your thoughts.

🙂

* Not his real name.

Brought to you by The Feisty Empire.

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5 Comments »

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  1. So nicely put Paul! I stand in awe of your story telling magic.

    • And I’m humbled by your patronage, Winston! Writers crave to be read. Knowing you’re out there, enjoying these tales, makes me want to write another one straight away. With kind regards and a thousand thanks for your generous words, P. 🙂

      • Reading well written prose is like savouring fine wine… and yours is the Grange of the cellar!

        • Wow! That’s going straight to the Pool Room!Thank you, W. 🙂


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