Military Employment Guide: Evaluate & Translate Your Skills

Translate Military Story & Skills

​​Step by Step Guide to Employment: Evaluate Your Skills – Translate Your Story/Skills

As you are working towards finding the right job, one of the steps is being able to translate your story and your skills. Having served in the military, your particular MOS may or may not translate directly to an after-military job. You might also have skills from other past employment that doesn’t have anything to do with the military. 

Translate Military Skills

When looking and applying for jobs you will need to know which of your military skills will translate to a civilian job. You also want to be able to clearly show a future employer what those skills are in languages they can understand. Civilian hiring managers might not totally understand military terms or lingo or even how your experiences will translate to the job you are applying for. 

Employers will be looking for hard or technical and soft skills. What is the difference?

Hard Skills

Hard or technical skills are skills that can be measured. These are a lot of the skills you would have learned during your time in the military. Some examples would be proficiency in a foreign language, coding, recruiting, or data analysis.

Soft Skills

Soft skills are harder to measure. They are not specific, are more universal, and are difficult to completely define. Some examples might be good communication, organization, teamwork, and leadership. 

It might be easier to define your hard skills from military service than your soft skills, but they are important too and something employers look for. Many of your soft skills you were able to perfect while serving. Think about how these skills would be valuable to a future employer. For example, if you were a team leader in the Army, leadership is a useful soft skill that employers look for in a management-type position. 

If you are unsure about how to translate your skills into the civilian world, find a good MOS translator. You can find one at With this translator, enter your branch and MOS and it will give you a list of civilian skills as well as possible jobs for that MOS. This can come in handy if you are unsure about what to put on your list of transferable skills. 

List Transferable skills

You will need to spend some time making a list of all of your transferable skills. Think about the skills that would make sense for the job you want. When you are job searching, take a look at what the position is wanting in terms of skills and how they match with the skills you have because of your time in the military. 

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What are the hard or technical skills that you gained from your MOS or time in the military?
  • What soft skills can you add from your time in the military? 
  • What skills can you add from any certifications that you have completed? 
  • What is your backstory and what can you pull from those experiences that will translate into skills, beyond your time in the military?

Most Important Transferable Military Skills

According to an Indeed article, these are the 12 most important transferable military skills:

  1. Communication
  2. Adaptability in the face of adversity
  3. Flexibility
  4. Problem-solving
  5. Technical skills
  6. Integrity
  7. Teamwork
  8. Leadership
  9. Organization
  10.  Compliance
  11.  Strategic Planning
  12.  Dedication

You may have some or all of these skills or even more specific ones. Your background can help determine what your future career will look like, but also, don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Skills that you used in one type of MOS or job in the military could translate to a different type of career. 

Once you have made a list of your transferable skills you will be much better prepared for searching and applying for jobs.