The Army and Marine Corps offer several career opportunities for both enlisted and officer personnel. These opportunities are listed as military occupational specialties, or MOS's. Just like in the civilian world, each MOS comes with a job description identifying the duties of the job. Some occupations require you to have certain qualifications, such as high scores on certain elements of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, or ASVAB test, the entrance exam into the service. When you're ready to transfer your military skills from your MOS description to a civilian resume, you can use a military skills translator.
Marine Corp Jobs
The Marine Corps lists its jobs in the "Military Occupational Specialties Manual," or MOS Manual for short. Within each category offered are many primary and secondary jobs. For example, the manual lists the category "Personnel and Administration" and then offers a sub-list of primary and secondary MOS's.Your primary MOS represents the job you do on a daily basis. Your secondary MOS is a "job within a job" and signifies that you carry a special skill in addition to your primary occupation. For example, the position of military personnel clerk, number 0121, is a primary MOS but you can also carry the secondary MOS designation of Manpower Information Systems Analyst, 0171. Officers can view the "Marine Corps Officer MOS Descriptions" web page and learn about several opportunities as well.
The Army provides a similar manual, known as the MOS Smart Book. This book lets you browse jobs online through its electronic version. Visit the Army's website and click on one of the career management fields. Next, you'll discover a list of MOS's related to that field. For example, if you select MOS category 46, you can read about the 46Q specialty, Public Affairs Specialist, a position requiring work with different types of media. Officers can find descriptions at Army.com under "Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) - Jobs for Officers only."
Military Skill Translators
To transform your military job description into a readable civilian resume, take advantage of ONet Online's military crosswalk search. Visit the ONet website and enter your military branch and MOS code. O*Net will generate a report that lists your military skills in understandable civilian terms. You'll discover tasks, skills and education normally required for the civilian counterpart of your military position. You can also use the military skills translators on Military.com and the Department of Veteran's Affairs websites.
Another alternative to acquiring a military job description is to request your AARTS transcript generated by the Army/American Council on Education Registry Transcript System. The AARTS transcript summarizes all of your military job experience and specific duties, plus your education, and places it one document. Many colleges and universities use the AARTS transcript to grant college credit for military experience. You can also review your AARTS transcript when crafting your civilian resume. Your local college will help you obtain a copy of your transcript.
Officer vs. Enlisted
Officers and enlisted personnel have different duties. An officer's primary duty is to lead, and an enlisted soldier's primary duty is to carry out the officer's orders. Enlisted personnel perform technical and support duties while officers perform professional services such as providing health care and legal services. Eighty-three percent of service personnel are enlisted and 17 percent are officers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics offers a comprehensive comparison of enlisted and officer duties on its website.
The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test measures your intelligence in basic academic skills. Upon completion of your test, you'll receive what's known as line scores. Each line score represents how well you did in certain areas. For example, your general technical line score, or GT score, combines your math reasoning with your word knowledge and paragraph comprehension. Each position has its own line score requirements. In the Marine Corps, for instance, an intelligence specialist must have a GT score of 100 while a rifleman needs a score of 80.
- USMC Hang Out: Marine Corps Enlisted MOS Descriptions
- University of South Florida: Marine Corp Order 1200.17A - Military Occupational Specialties Manual (Short Title: MOS Manual)
- U.S. Army: MOS Smart Book
- Department of Veterans Affairs: Military Skills Translator
- O*Net Online: Military Crosswalk
- Military: Military Skills Translator
- Barstow Community College: AARTS Online Transcripts
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Military Careers- What They Do
- Military: ASVAB and Marine Corps Jobs
- USMC Hangout: Marine Corps Officer MOS Descriptions
- Photo Credit Todd Headington/iStock/Getty Images
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