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Three Reasons Skills Translators Don’t Work for Military Transition

November 26, 2021
Jason C. Anderson

Most of us have seen them before: the infamous skills translator! If you haven’t, they’re basically Big Tech’s solution to helping you get a job post-military by matching military occupational specialty codes (MOS) Air Force specialty codes (AFSC) to “equivalent” civilian careers.

Translators are available on any number of websites. The beauty of these tools is their ease of use. All you have to do is enter your MOS or AFSC and, like magic, you’re given a list of candidate jobs that align with the skills and training you gained while performing your job in the military. Or so they say…

The appeal is so attractive, even Google’s gotten involved. In 2018, they launched their own “Military Skills Translation Tool” with the promise of “offering veterans the opportunity to seamlessly match their skills with new jobs.”

Now, you might be thinking that with Big Tech’s ability to aggregate data, the translator would yield some excellent candidate jobs for you post-military, right?

You be the judge.

Just for fun, enter “91W” into the military occupation code. Before you do so, know that a 91W is the Army MOS for combat medics. (Spoiler alert…at the time of writing, two jobs were available—both pertained to welding. Yes, welding.)

If our example using a 91W doesn’t make you skeptical, go ahead and punch in your MOS and AFSC. It’ll give you a good laugh!

Three Reasons Why Military Translators Don’t Work

  1. It can be wildly wrong! Remember the 91W MOS we had you input into the search window? Well, that exemplifies how wildly wrong this service can be. Not only do the outputs leave you bewildered but they may also create more confusion than answer questions to help you zero in on a post-military job.
  2. It leads you down a path that you don’t need to change. This one may not be quite as obvious but it’s important to think about. When people talk about the importance of translating your skills to benefit a private-sector employer, there’s a subtle nuance embedded in this message: that you don’t need to change. Conceptually, this is the equivalent of you putting a veneer on your military experience. The problem with this approach is that experienced human resource and hiring managers will see through this veneer because nothing substantive has been built behind the facade.
  3. It doesn’t help you figure out what YOU want to do. Everyone loves the easy button. Another problem with translators is that a person may use the translator hoping that it will tell them what they should do when they get out of the military. Like it or not, having someone tell us what we should do is a tried and true military staple. Whether you spent four years or forty years in the military ecosystem, you’ve grown accustomed to being told what you should do next. Translators essentially perform that function and it gets you no closer to that desired post-military end state because there’s no avoiding the fact that you need to do the work.

You Need to Do the Work—PreVeteran Can Help

The good news is that, while entertaining, these skills translator tools aren’t the only options available for transitioning military looking to join the private-sector workforce.

PreVeteran is designed to provide real outcomes, guidance, and direction based on your own internal work. We don’t hand you a list of job possibilities and send you on your way: we provide structure around the work you must do yourself to figure out who you are and what you truly want to do. PreVeteran believes two things lead to post-military success: self-transformation and alignment to the private sector. We can help you identify, plan, and execute both. We know 90% of you will become employees, and of that 90%, 70% will become private-sector employees. You can choose to hop into the first skills translator job offered and wade around in subpar, unstable payroll brackets for a couple of years or you can take action and create the future you want and need.

Our programs are designed to assist you in determining what drives you, how to best use your skills, how to identify your long-term goals, and how to articulate your value to private-sector profit-making enterprises. Let us help you help yourself by fast-tracking your success through dedicated change and alignment to the private sector.

Our next class starts in Feb 2022. Our last class sold out early and we expect this one will as well. Guarantee your spot by getting on the waitlist now. We’ll alert you once registration opens.

Get on the waitlist now by clicking here.

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