In August 2021, the ViacomCBS Veterans Network Veterans Immersion Program cohort was given a crash course in crafting their resumes for civilian work spaces through ViacomCBS VetNet’s “POWER UP Your Resume” seminar. Eric Stetson, FourBlock Region Director and Army veteran shared his expertise in translating military skills for civilian sector jobs. Betty Diaz, Director of Programs & Operations for ViacomCBS Veterans Network, welcomed Eric and introduced him to the ViacomCBS veterans. He shared about his time as an artillery officer and his journey to FourBlock, a nonprofit committed to helping veterans transition via professional development courses.
Eric emphasized the usefulness of having a few versions of your resume on standby. One version, the Master Resume, has all past jobs, experience, certifications, and awards. A veteran should pull from this when selecting jobs in order to write a “Targeted Resume” tailored to the job they are applying for. The last resume is a General Resume and is used when someone says, “send me your resume.” Eric affirmed that while Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) job skill translators can work, veterans have the opportunity to pursue any career they want, even if it does not line up with the service member’s military specialty.
Eric provided tips and actions to get a resume into shape. Pitching military experience to a peer or colleague can be useful if they help to identify terms that civilian recruiters and HR professionals may not understand. Making sure the resume contains quantifiable bullets, including Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to help the resume stand out is a must. Networking was emphasized as the preferred method of getting a resume in front of the right hiring manager.
“Eric is a really passionate mentor,” said Melanie Corinne, a Marine Vet and FourBlock Alumna. “He made sure to share the best of what he’s learned as a veteran transition advocate and answered every question with clarity and nuance.”
After Eric’s presentation he and Betty reviewed example resumes. The overall message was to be realistic and honest about whatever military experience and accomplishments are stated in the resume. A candidate will need to be able to back up each skill in person. This is also why tailoring each resume to the specific job is important. There may not be a perfect resume, but by taking the time to civilian-ize a military resume, get some peer review, and network, veterans can then traverse the civilian job landscape more easily.