ARE you transitioning from Defense Engineering (or Military Personnel) to the Commercial Sector OR are you an engineer who has become a victim of downsizing in the defense industry?
Many of you have discovered that transitioning from the defense sector to the commercial equivalent of your skill sets or discipline has been beset with difficulties. The most frustrating of these roadblocks is getting access to a hiring manager for a personal interview. Many of the commercial sectors hiring managers (wrongly) consider your skills to be applicable to the defense industry and are not compatible with the protocols and standards typically found in non-defense industries.
THE hiring manager (hm) looks at the resume of a defense candidate (dc) and his or her eyes glaze over when they see such terms as Mil Spec 9052, HARM missile guidance system, a $5 billion government project, etc. A psychological barrier has sprung up over the years in the commercial industry that has prevented some of our most talented engineers being given an opportunity they deserve to contribute to the demands of today's technological information age. Some of these people have left the job market for good, mostly in disgust, to their backyard sheds to make wooden toys, clocks, or some other occupation unrelated to their considerable experience.
Most of these people could possibly have obtained a related position in the commercial sector if they had had an opportunity to just get in front of a (hm) for a personal interview. The (dc) would then be able to demonstrate his or her technical experience and ability to be a significant contributor in a team environment.
How do you get that all important foot in the door to present your credentials in person?
The key is to modify your resume to meet the expectations of a commercial sector (hm) and this is done by removing references to defense, military, mil-specs, DoD, missiles, armaments, etc etc. For example let us take a look at a typical (dc) resume in which a paragraph may read as follows:
Led a systems design team that successfully completed a DoD project for a new high speed digital data communications system for the USA Air Force Strategic Command. The system was developed using Mil-Specs 9053, 9973 2013. The hardware required a large number of FPGA and ASIC's using VHDL, Synopsys. The software was developed using ADA and other OOD design methodologies. The system was brought in within the Pentagon's budget of $150 million.
This would be best modified to illustrate more generic terms as follows:
Was a project leader and an individual contributor, which successfully completed a multimillion dollar project for a new high speed digital data communications system for an important aerospace client. The system conformed to current standards and communication protocols. The hardware required a large number of FPGA and ASIC's using VHDL and Synopsys. The software was developed using OOD/OOA methodology. The system was brought in within budget and on time.