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Texas Workforce Commission Skills to Work Tool

Frequently Asked Questions:

About this Tool:
The Skills to Work tool was developed by the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC)/Labor Market and Career Information (LMCI) department to assist transitioning service members with translating their military experience into civilian terms or skill sets. After the translation, it matches the civilian skill set with online job postings requiring those same skill sets.
Why Did We Create this Product?:
One of the biggest challenges to connecting transitioning service members with civilian jobs is translating the work experiences and training courses taken during their military service into comparable skills in the civilian world. This tool is designed to make the connection between service member's/veteran's capabilities and employer hiring requirements at the actual skill level.
What Can You Do with this tool?:
The Skills To Work tool can be used to improve your resume and provide better connections between your skills and experience and civilian jobs that value those abilities. The tool’s primary purpose is to identify job postings that have a strong skill match to your resume In addition, this tool can assist in improving your resume and your job search effectiveness.
There are five (5) Key Uses of the Texas Skills to Work Tool:
  1. Translate your resume into specific civilian skill sets. The tool translates an electronic resume into Detailed Work Activities (DWA) skill statements or a skills profile. You likely developed a resume during your TAP class or working with a transition specialist. The Texas Skills to Work tool can accept any electronic file document and translate it into a DWA skills profile that civilian hiring managers can easily understand.
  2. Refine your civilian resume to emphasize your key skills. This tool gives you the ability to edit your resume after the upload process but before processing into a DWA skills profile. After you upload your resume, review the text. Did you include the many work activities you performed while in the military service? Did you minimize the amount of military jargon that appears on your resume? This tool allows you to add information that did not appear on your original resume. Additional items might include other MOC/MOS/AFSC titles and functions you performed, additional responsibilities, training courses you took, etc. The goal is to communicate as clearly as possible your full range of abilities and experience. Your final resume should fully encompass your many talents and experiences.
  3. Help you improve your resume by allowing you to edit your DWA skills profile after the computer translates your resume. A military service member’s MOS at separation is not necessarily the best nor a complete measure of their skill set. Every service member performed a variety of collateral duties and took many training courses and programs. This tool allows you to view your DWA skills profile and review the results. If you choose, you can use the "edit profile" option and add or delete skills. You can also view possible skills from a list. When you are satisfied with the edited profile, you can resubmit it and a revised DWA skills profile will be used for matching with available job postings.
  4. Match your skills directly to thousands of online job postings. This tool uses daily online job postings provided through The Conference Board’s Help Wanted On Line (HWOL) data base. The HWOL job postings are gathered using Internet spidering technology from thousands of corporate sites and other web sites such as Monster.com and Career Builder. You can select the geographic region in Texas you are interested in and the tool will identify job postings from that area. Job postings are listed with the highest match score first. The tool allows you to view the job posting and apply for jobs.
  5. Create a Skills Gap Report. If you select a job posting, the tool will show the how closely your resume matches the job posting. The tool also generates a skill gap report and a recommendation for additional education and training (personal training plan). Even if you don’t have the particular degree associated with a group of skills, it is useful to know what kinds of formal civilian education and training programs are traditionally associated with any given job posting. You can discuss with the company hiring authority the military coursework you’ve taken that overlaps with a traditional academic program associated with a job posting. You can also begin taking courses related to the degree field, or seek out various programs such as College for Heroes which allow you to gain academic credit for various educational courses you took while in the military service.
How Do I Navigate Within this Tool:
There are many ways to take advantage of the Texas Skills to Work tool. The tool consists of three steps:
  1. Enter your skills – Texas Skills to Work starts with your skill profile. This can be created by manually entering text, copying and pasting text, or uploading your resume. The tool is designed to read almost any electronic version of your resume, whether it is a simple text file, a Word document or a .PDF document. Please note that you are able to edit text derived from your resume before you submit it. Make sure that the language you use is descriptive of your work activities and your abilities. Avoid any jargon and acronyms that might not make sense to a civilian hiring manager. The more expressive and thorough you are in describing your work history, the better. Also, you can omit personal information including your name, address, phone numbers, etc., as they are not necessary to create your skill profile.
  2. View online job postings that best match your skill profile – After your skills profile has been created, you will be prompted to select a region of the state in which you may want to work. At this point, the tool will show you the online job postings whose skill requirements most closely match your resume. There will be a list of job postings, along with a Strength of Match score. Think of this score in terms of 100 percent. If the Strength of Match score is 80, then you have roughly 80% of the required skills. There is no hard and fast score above which you are qualified for a given job posting. However, the higher your Strength of Match score the better the fit between your resume and the job posting. You can click on any of the job postings listed and read the complete text of the job posting, as well as click to view the actual job posting at the original source.
  3. Compare your strength of skill match – Your strength of skill match will help you determine any specific skills that you may be missing to be fully qualified for a position. The Texas Skills to Work tool will identify job postings that you may not have considered based on job title alone. The tool idenitifies the best match based on skills and not job titles. If there is a job posting or career field of interest that emerges, you can click to see the usual education programs typically associated with this job. You may wish to explore additional education opportunities based on this information.
Other Helpful Tips for Transitioning to Civilian Life:
The Texas Skills to Work tool is just one tool to help transition from military service to civilian employment. In a series of tips published on www.military.com, Lewis Lin, CEO of Impact Interview, offers a series of pointers to tackle what he describes as a daunting task. Of course the list starts with attending a Transition Assistance Program (TAP) workshop that covers topics such as career exploration, job search strategies, and resume and cover letter writing and interview preparation. One of the first adjustments you must make is to adjust your vocabulary from military jargon to corporate speak. Every business has its own jargon or shorthand for quickly communicating with each other in that environment. Lin warns against using military jargon or terms that mean something only in the military. Rather than say you were the "black swan" expert, explain that you developed contingency plans for rare events. The skill statement "developed contingency plans for disaster recovery scenarios" is meaningful to the civilian business community. Deborah Jacobs writing for Forbes Online discusses some ways that job hunting has changed for everyone over the last decade. One of her pointers is that "words are critical." Many employers use automated processes to screen resumes that are keyword driven. As Ms. Jacob’s writes, "in that sense, it’s like visits to the bank nowadays—it’s still possible to get dollar bills and coins fresh from the smiley face at the counter, but mostly we withdraw our money from automated cash machines. We have taken away the face and the human contact from banking." Both recruitment and job hunting have become like that too. Automated screeners generally do not include military jargon – so don’t use it! The Skills to Work tool is designed to help you employ Lin’s second tip; think about your transferable skills. You performed hundreds of tasks and developed an extraordinary skill set while you were in the military service. Now your job is to help explain what you know, and what you can do, in terms that a typical civilian hiring authority can readily understand. In other words, how can you break down your military experiences into specific skills and work activities for a corporate role? Here again, Lin offers some useful examples.
  • If you trained over 200 people on the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, think how your training preparation, delivery, and results could apply in a corporate classroom setting. Skills phrases such as "trained workers in the use of computers, equipment and work-related procedures" or "wrote employee orientation and training materials" translate well in the civilian world.
  • If you helped the Army save $3 million by administering 37 government travel accounts, think how this experience could apply to a financial controller position. You can translate that experience into skill statements such as "negotiated business, sales, rental and lease agreements" or "resolved invoicing, purchasing and payment discrepancies" and discuss the details of successes in person during the interview process. Step one is to communicate that you have the necessary skills.
The final two pointers are equally important. Don’t be afraid to play up your strengths as an ex-military candidate. Military service members and veterans are generally known for precise communication, individual accountability, impeccable execution and natural leadership. These are personal behaviors prized in corporate America. Sometimes referred to as "soft skills" or "workplace basics or fundamentals," if these attributes are part of your skill set you should showcase them on your resume and during the interview. All four skills are in high demand, regardless of position. Many employers are willing to invest in individuals who lack some of the necessary formal skills if that candidate brings high character to the table. Give yourself credit for strengths that many non-military job candidates lack. Other key skills to play up: poise, ingenuity, and ability to handle stressful situations well. Closely related to playing up your strengths is to make sure you sound confident in your skill set and your ability to execute those skills for your potential new employer. Communicate confidence in yourself through proactive language in your resume. Be sure to do enough background research on the company with whom you’d like to work to discuss how your skills and prior accomplishments can directly benefit the company. Have someone you respect read your resume and tell you candidly whether you sound confident. Finally, the number one method to find a job is to network. Or, as one corporate headhunter reminds us, the top three ways to get a job are network, network, and network. For any given online job opening, recruiters are bombarded with hundreds, possibly thousands of openings. To rise above the noise, you’ll have to network. The people who land positions these days increasingly get them through personal referrals from friends who work for employers with job openings. According to a 2012 Federal Reserve Bank of New York study, referred candidates were twice as likely to get interviews and 40 percent more likely to be hired than other candidates. There were also wage premiums to hires based on referrals. So if you're not doing all you can to get a referral, you're not looking for work effectively. Lewis Lin reminds us to start with military service members and veterans who are now in the corporate world. Don’t rush to ask for a job. If there’s no job available, the remaining time becomes one big letdown. Instead, take time to know the person. Ask how they approached the transition from a military to civilian career. Only at the end of the conversation is it ok for you to ask whether or not they are aware of any job openings.
How Do I Use Texas Skills to Work with Other Resources:
The Texas Skills to Work tool is only one resource to help you find a good paying job that takes advantage of the knowledge and skills you acquired in the military. There are many private, state and federal government programs designed to help you in the transition process. Several of these programs are provided as Internet links in this tool. The Texas Workforce Commission offers several programs of which you might take advantage. The College for Heroes program helps you get civilian higher education credit for courses you took in the military. You may also want to explore the job market and investigate various occupational titles you are curious about. You might want to use an Interest Profiler to get occupational recommendations based on your highest areas of interest or a Work Values Profiler to get an idea about the occupations that best align with your personal value system. All of this is available in Texas CARES Online. Perhaps you are interested in living in a part of Texas in which you never lived before. You probably have some sense of the kind of lifestyle you’d like to live – house or apartment, public transportation or new car, etc. – but you may not know what that lifestyle will cost you in a particular part of the state. To help you get a sense of different lifestyle costs and occupational wages, the Texas Workforce Commission has a program called Texas Reality Check. In this program you choose your lifestyle and build your personal budget. Then you get a feel for how your budget matches the typical salary of various occupations. Finally, the Texas Workforce Commission offers many other services to assist military service members and veterans. To explore the programs and opportunities to connect with available resources, we encourage you to visit the veterans section of the TWC web page.