Use the tips in this article to update your Cleared Network profile – the secure, password protected online career networking profile exclusively for security-cleared professionals. 

You’re looking for work.  You have excellent skills.  You’re a team player.  Your work ethic makes John Henry look like a lazy slob.  How do you put all of that information together to tell your story?  You’ve already done one of the hardest parts of telling your story:  identifying what you want to do.  This should make telling your story a bit easier.  But you do need to make your profile story intelligible to everyone who is going to read your it.  So why not just use English?  Your job titles and accomplishment bullets, for example, probably could use some translation into English, especially if you’ve spent a career within the military or defense industry.  There are internet tools out there to help with title translation.

Storytelling with Job Titles

The job title is important, because those are the lines that call out to a recruiter’s eyes.  While a recruiter is your target, though, please remember, your profile on a public-facing social networking site is online for almost everyone on the Earth (who has internet access), to see.  This fact means those not in the military (there are more of those people than you might think) might not even bother to translate what those impressive-sounding titles mean and pass you right over.  Especially HR people—they are constantly sifting through a lot of resumes and documents, mining for potential hiring gems.

Your profile title and job titles should tell people at a glance what you are and what kind of work you can do.  More importantly, they should hook the reader, and make the reader want to know more about you.  So translating your titles into interesting English is important.  There are probably a few of you out there thinking, “Isn’t this deceptive?  Shouldn’t the title I put in my profile be what I was in the military?”  “No,” is the answer to both of those questions.  Especially if you want to get hired.

Here’s why.

People outside of the military; people who maybe served in the military; and people who might have even served in the same service, still may not quite understand your military title.  Sure, “Squadron Commander” or “Chef” are pretty easy for all service members to parse.  But, little things, like your specialty code, really don’t mean much to people outside of that specialty code.  A person looking at your profile may wonder what your title means, but will likely not expend the effort to figure it out.  It’s up to you to explain it, then—and if you can translate your title, then you’re more than halfway there.

Maybe you were an engineer.  Let’s say you use the title “Engineer 2” on your resume as your title.  But that title doesn’t tell me anything about the position, other than there are apparently different levels of engineers.  Maybe you were a satellite engineer of some kind.  There are all sorts of engineers for that.  Payload engineers, ground system engineers, satellite bus engineers, orbital analysts, etc.  At the very least, those titles are a better description of the job than “Engineer 2.”  Honestly, you could write “Guy who makes sure the satellite’s ‘eyes’ work” and that would be better than “Engineer 2.”

Words with Friends

Don’t make up the title—just clarify it.  Then test out your efforts.  One really easy way to test your clarified titles is just to ask your friends (preferably non-military) and loved ones for their time and opinion.  Show them the titles you have in mind.  If they look confused, or even hesitant, then take their feedback to heart.  These are the people who don’t want to hurt you, so if they’re giving you criticism, it means something.  Evaluate their suggestions to make your story easier for everyone to understand.

Put another way, your different job titles throughout your military career are like the chapters in a book.  You want the readers of your book to develop an interest in you.  You are the book’s hero, the protagonist.  You want readers to remember you.  And you want them to continue reading about you.  The bullets underneath your job titles are just as important.

If you don’t have any description of your work as a chef, if you have no bullets, then that’s like having a chapter title with no words in the chapter.  Just like the title, you need to make all of your lines tell a story.  After all, what’s a chapter without a story?  This another reason why copying and pasting bullets from your reviews isn’t a great idea.  Those bullets are very terse.  Sometimes they just say what you were.  But you need more.  You need to give your readers a “so what?”  Make them care why you were the assistant chef at the Bitburg Dining Facility.

As the assistant, did you ensure all the letters were straight on the menu board?  Why do you think that is important?  Was it because if the letters weren’t straight, your customers couldn’t read what was available to eat?  Or was it because you paid attention to detail and follow rules, like the ones (theoretically) in Air Force Instruction (AFI) 34-239 requiring all menu board letters to be straight.  Each example tells a different story about you, and it’s up to you to determine which one you want to tell.  But keep in mind the story you want to tell may also depend on what kind of job you’re looking for.


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John Holst’s career path is as nonsensical and mad as the March Hare. In a series of what John thought were very trusting decisions, the United States Air Force let him babysit nuclear weapons, develop future officers, and then operate multi-billion dollar space systems. Then John re-enacted scenes from “Brazil” by joining the Missile Defense Agency, working as minutes-taker, configuration, project, mission, and test manager. When he’s not writing for, he is putting his journalism degree skills to use as The Mad Spaceball.