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Ask Slashdot: Exploiting 'Engineering And ...' On a Resume?

timothy posted about a year ago | from the engineering-engineering-engineering-and-smokin'-the-reefer dept.

Businesses 207

An anonymous reader writes "In my younger years, I was briefly employed as an Electrical Engineer. Since 9/11 I have been flying combat missions for the military. Since I now have just a little over a year before becoming a civilian again, I was wondering if any Slashdotters had any applicable advice/anecdotes. How does one effectively combine engineering/development with another professional skill-set? (Being a jet pilot in this example.) For those of you who do hiring, what is the best way to sell this type of background?"

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go work for drone manufacturer (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44126639)

go work for drone manufacturer

Re:go work for drone manufacturer (0)

durrr (1316311) | about a year ago | (#44126733)

"Exploiting Engineering and Women"

I have to remember this for my resume

Re:go work for drone manufacturer (2, Interesting)

telchine (719345) | about a year ago | (#44127353)

go work for drone manufacturer

Parent is spot on. You need to find organisations that are "military-friendly".

Generally speaking, the private sector don't like to employ ex-public sector workers (and vice-versa). You need to find a public sector engineering job or a private sector company that mainly does work for the public sector.

The fact you've been out there fighting a war that many people don't agree with isn't going to help matters much outside of the military, even if it is public sector. For example, I think you'll struggle to find work in the health sector; they're not going to take kidnly to the idea that you've spent years of your life maiming people even if you might be a perfect fit to engineer an advanced artificial limb!

Re:go work for drone manufacturer (0)

t4ng* (1092951) | about a year ago | (#44127537)

I have also heard the same from manager types in private sector, non-military companies. They had told me in no uncertain terms that they equate ex-military with slackers that have an endless variety of ways of getting out of doing any meaningful work. They claimed this was based entirely on past experience of hiring ex-military.

In my own experience I can remember only three times were I worked with ex-military guys (probably only 3 because I've always worked in the private sector, except for one brief job with a military contractor). One guy was my manager, and he was an unnecessary-forms-and-reports generator machine. When I approached him with ideas for simplified reporting that killed fewer trees, his response was that he wanted tons of paperwork for two reasons, one was to make it look like a lot of work was getting done, the other was to obfuscate what was being done so in case something went wrong he could cover his ass.

The other two were tech level employees both of whom had endless stories about how guys in the military would get out of doing work. So maybe there is something to what those managers were saying.

Re:go work for drone manufacturer (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year ago | (#44127863)

Most of my time in the military was one of two extremes. Either I was working 12-20 hours a day until I was staggering and in a fog mentally or I was standing around waiting for something or other. It might be parts, tools, an engineer, or just another project. Not much in between. When we had something to do it was needed weeks ago and when we didn't we just fucked off.

Re:go work for drone manufacturer (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#44128131)

Nonsense. Plenty of private employers hire ex-military. If he's been flying jets for the military for years, he has plenty of experience in a very marketable skill: flying planes. But for an engineering job, he's entry level because flying planes has not much to do with electrical engineering.

Re:go work for drone manufacturer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44128325)

Uhh.. Work for A Government e.g Mission Planning project. They want Help Desk guys who flew XYZ airplane. Seriously. There are tons of jobs that want literally exactly what you are and pay fantastically. Also you have almost no competition.

Source: Worked on afformentioned project(s)

Re:go work for drone manufacturer (1)

lightknight (213164) | about a year ago | (#44128379)

"Death from above, and I have the friendly-fire codes...who wants me?"

A good combination (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44126643)

Well those two careers go somewhat better than you might think.

As an engineer, you had to follow directions, know your math and be precise.

To plan a mission, you had to follow directions, know your math and how to be very, very precise.

I would stress these points of similarity in any resume.

Re:A good combination (1)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | about a year ago | (#44127049)

I agree but for entirely different reasons, and I would sell my skillset to the defense industry in your shoes. I know someone who is both a EE and a test pilot. He writes his algorithms, and if he sucks he dies! He's still around though.

But seriously, sell it to the right industry, it's actually a very viable combination. The fact that you've already had all the training that goes behind military flying experience (being dropped in a pool and told to escape from his seat, is most frequently discussed), means they have to spend less on you.

It's really not a bad combination if you want to work on planes, and there is a shitload of EE involved in both civilian and military aircraft.

Re:A good combination (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44127079)

My slightly older neighbor, when I was growing up, got his EE degree as part of an ROTC program, and then did his time in the Air Force as a fighter-trainer

After he left the Air Force, his first job was working Capitol Hill for a Defense Contractor. That led to various consulting gigs, he is currently an IT consultant in the Insurance industry.

You never know where you are going to end up, just make certain to enjoy the trip

There are open positions at the NSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44126649)

The NSA might have one open position in Hawaii for people with good security clearance.

obvious troll is glaring (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44126939)

"jet pilot" is today's modern Alpha male.
/. used to be "news for nerds "
therefore for this guy to be even aware of the existence of /. indicates he's an all too obvious liar.

is your callsign "Captain Obvious"? (1)

laugau (144794) | about a year ago | (#44126657)

You decide what job you want and then use your education and experience to support that. If you want to be an aviation engineer, it should be a no-brainer. I don't think you can use time in the cockpit to help justify medical device engineering...

engineers with combat experience (3, Insightful)

paul42 (693766) | about a year ago | (#44126661)

Just about any military contractor / aerospace company will be interested in hiring you. It won't be hard to find a job. The only tricky part is finding a job you will like.

Re:engineers with combat experience (4, Insightful)

abirdman (557790) | about a year ago | (#44126971)

The only tricky part is finding a job you will like.

I believe there's a rule in the US, wherein if someone likes their job that indicates a management mistake. Whenever my job starts to not suck, management messes with it so it sucks again.

Re:engineers with combat experience (3, Interesting)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year ago | (#44127911)

Whenever I find a job I like I bitch endlessly about it. I made a mistake once in telling a manager how much I loved what I was doing. Two days later they had me a new really shitty project and the bosses favorite bitch had my job.

Badly! (2)

war4peace (1628283) | about a year ago | (#44126673)

Based on my experience (YMMV), corporations love consistency. Their recruiters are uncomfortable with varied background, because they don't think outside the box and don't understand that a person can do more than just the same thing for the entirety of their lives.

My advice: aim for startups. They're looking for skills rather than a consistent, tidy work background.

Re:Badly! (5, Interesting)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#44126755)

Nice thing about military experience, especially military aviation is that they, too, love consistency. Follow orders, follow your checklists, get to work on time and get your job done. I would think that an HR drone would just love that sort of experience. They could check off a half dozen boxes right off the bat and maybe get bonus points for hiring a veteran.

Re:Badly! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44127341)

Indeed. Wall Street should love the authors resume. The investment banking side of Wall Street loves people who can take orders and at the same time are good at math. All investment banks have a division that does defence related banking or public sector finance - apply there.

The sales side of the banks love a military pilot too. They probably expect someone who won't break the rules, is well dressed and can talk clearly over the phone. Don't under estimate the skills you learned talking on the headset.

There is the trading side, which tends to be all over the place when it comes to military backgrounds. Depends on who your boss is going to be.

Avionics software vendors would hire you as a sales/engineer in a blink . Then there is the defence contractors (whom I don't know much about).

Re:Badly! (2)

YackoYak (153131) | about a year ago | (#44127525)

Agree with all of this. I'm an engineering manager in the subsea side of Oil & Gas. Our department has lots of ex Navy personnel, some of which worked on aircraft. There is a lot of overlap between our industry and the military (component / design redundancies, "just has to work" attitude, attention to detail). When I hire, this is the hierarchy I follow (assuming your personality is a match with our teams):

1. Exact experience with our niche industry technology
2. Some knowledge of our technology but ex-military (no matter the gap in work experience)
3. Some knowledge of our technology, above average personality
4. No knowledge of our technology, unparalleled drive and personality

Group 1 & 2 are rare (applicants come once a year). Group 3 is a little more frequent. We get a someone from Group 4 in to interview about once a month. The great majority of applicants that interview with us don't fall into Groups 1-4. They just want a job and will say anything... until you ask technical question about something they put on their resume. I would hire them if I just needed a warm body, but it's not like that here.

I second a commenter below who suggested Systems Engineer. You may also see it listed as Project Engineer. You can make good money putting your leadership and organizational skills to use, and clients (and companies) will love your real word experience. You will get more respect when you push back (on your team or clients) and will need your EE skills to call BS on requests that challenge the laws of physics.

You should be able to land an interview very easily. Search those positions on Indeed and tailor your resume to match some of the same terminology. I'm not saying lie about experience, I'm saying to highlight applicable experience you had in the military that has the same function as in the civilian space. Leading people. Analyzing, writing, evaluating, managing, reporting, integrating, repairing, testing widgets, processes, etc. Highlight hands-on stuff, especially troubleshooting.

I think you'll do great. Good luck!

Re:Badly! (2)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a year ago | (#44127363)

Based on my experience (YMMV), corporations love consistency. Their recruiters are uncomfortable with varied background, because they don't think outside the box and don't understand that a person can do more than just the same thing for the entirety of their lives.

Agreed. I've spent 1/2 my career as (primarily) a system/application programmer and the other 1/2 as (primarily) a Unix system administrator - usually alternating between the two. Invariably, whenever I apply for one type of job, the recruiter/HR person only sees the other type of experience and/or can't seem to understand that one person can do both things, often at the same time. Fortunately, it hasn't kept me from being continuously employed for the past 25+ years - or, perhaps, I've just been lucky.

Thank you for your service (4, Informative)

fat_mike (71855) | about a year ago | (#44126687)

Sorry I don't have any advice for you but just wanted to tell you that.

Re:Thank you for your service (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44126745)

I second that!

Re:Thank you for your service (1)

Dins (2538550) | about a year ago | (#44127003)

I'll third that - thank you!

I'd hire you just to hear your stories. I love planes and flying - especially fighters. If you read this, what kind of aircraft are you flying?

Re:Thank you for your service (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44127699)

Recon actually. I am afraid I cant really get more detailed than that in this format, but I did end up with some great stories and I sincerely appreciate the sentiment.

Re:Thank you for your service (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44127831)

I'm not american and I didn't do any military service at all, but I am childishly awed at fighter jet pilots.

You must have some in-detail technical knowledge about such advanced machines that are applicable in the private sector. Programming after-market injection systems for muscle car upgrades?

Re:Thank you for your service (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about a year ago | (#44127051)

I need not necessarily be neither non-agreeing nor non-disagreeeing with the previous poster.
Obviously enough, to any engineer.

Re:Thank you for your service (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44127233)

Yes I also thank you for serving in illegal wars of aggression for the purpose of killing and displacing 10s of millions brown people to steal their oil and avenge Dubya's daddy's bruised ego.

'murika! Fuck yeah!

Re:Thank you for your service (1)

verifine (685231) | about a year ago | (#44127783)

Yes indeed, thank you for your service. That's a sacrifice that deserves acknowledgement.

Re:Thank you for your service (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44127915)

Yeah the sacrifice of the lives of the brown people he murdered.

Accept the difficulty ahead (3, Interesting)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about a year ago | (#44126689)

Understand that, up front, you are going to have some doors closed to you simply because your job experience is over a decade old. It may not seem fair, but it's reality. Having said that, your military experience may very well open doors for you that other civilians wouldn't have a chance at, especially with stuff in the defense industry. I'd just state your experience and education, and let your resume speak for itself. Electrical Engineering doesn't seem like one of those fields that's constantly changing every few years, like IT, so your skill set should still be fairly relevant.

Re:Accept the difficulty ahead (4, Insightful)

sconeu (64226) | about a year ago | (#44126869)

Except that his current experience will be of even more use.

To the submitter: Consider working as a systems engineer for a defense contractor. Seriously. You have a metric crapload of relevant domain knowledge, along with a EE background. I wouldn't be surprised if you could write your own ticket.

Re:Accept the difficulty ahead (4, Insightful)

sconeu (64226) | about a year ago | (#44126899)

Quick follow up.

Systems engineers in this domain don't really do the "building" or even designing per se. Rather, they are the guys who set the requirements. And people like Boeing, Raytheon, LockMart and the rest all love former military because of the domain knowledge. The EE will allow you to inject a dose of reality into whatever specifications get written.

Re:Accept the difficulty ahead (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year ago | (#44127827)

And people like Boeing, Raytheon, LockMart and the rest all love former military because of the domain knowledge.

They also love hiring former military because it plays well with the politicians that ultimately control their budgets.

I've worked a few defense gigs as a contractor and they were always sucking up - running food drives for military families and equipment collections for deployed soldiers - sending stuff like DVDs, insect repellent, socks, etc.

I thought it insulting - these billion dollar corps that exist almost purely to suck at the government teat running food drives for military families just to look like they "support the troops" -- how about using some of that lobbying power to lobby for better pay for the soldiers in the first place? Sorry, got a little off-topic - it was a pet peeve of mine while working at those places.

Re:Accept the difficulty ahead (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44127899)

Do you have an active security clearance? There are *many* jobs that require one. There are even job boards specifically for jobs that require one. I would leverage the clearance (assuming you have one). Make sure to mention it in your resume,

Re:Accept the difficulty ahead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44128263)

He will also have other doors closed on him for having killed.
Sure, he was following orders, but many will be weary of hiring him. I think if he has not killed, he should make sure that stands out in the resume, aka if he flew combat support missions vs direct bombing runs. Accessory, but not direct perpetrator.

Defense Contractors (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44126705)

First of all make sure you apply to the big defense contractors. Lockheed Martin especially likes to hire ex-military. Given that you were a jet pilot, I mean that's pretty damn impressive. Emphasize how you can work with complicated systems. Flying a jet isn't easy. Were you a leader in the military? Emphasize leadership skills. I assume flying combat missions takes communication skills too. Emphasize those.

Re:Defense Contractors (1)

scheme (19778) | about a year ago | (#44126957)

First of all make sure you apply to the big defense contractors. Lockheed Martin especially likes to hire ex-military. Given that you were a jet pilot, I mean that's pretty damn impressive. Emphasize how you can work with complicated systems. Flying a jet isn't easy. Were you a leader in the military? Emphasize leadership skills. I assume flying combat missions takes communication skills too. Emphasize those.

I believe all pilots are officers so he was a leader in the military.

Useful combinations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44126711)

In this case the obvious answer is to search for engineering jobs that relate to your piloting and/or military experience. Aeronautical defense firms would love you, especially if you have a security clearance. The fact that you are knowledgeable in the product domain is a huge advantage.

Wear Aviator Sunglasses to the Interview (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44126723)

"As an Engineer I develop awesome solutions...then I make them fly!!"

Re:Wear Aviator Sunglasses to the Interview (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44126805)

You forgot the double finger-pistol-snap

Re:Wear Aviator Sunglasses to the Interview (2)

Spy Handler (822350) | about a year ago | (#44126963)

and say cool stuff like,

"You can be my wingman any time!"

Engineering and.... (3, Funny)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | about a year ago | (#44126727)

Engineering and....
Engineering and....
Engineering and.... smoking the reefer!

Come here (5, Informative)

BranMan (29917) | about a year ago | (#44126731)

I work at BAE - if you're looking in the Boston area, this could be just the place for you.

We work on stuff for UAVs, planning systems, EW, etc.

If you're interested, get me a resume and I can float it around. We're not doing a lot of hiring right now, but we have a bunch of ex-military folks who are real happy here.

No joke - let me know.

Re:Come here (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44127475)

This guy is probably a good bet. I used to program flight simulators and getting someone "smart" who could also work as a test pilot when final testing would be hired instantly. Most test pilots I worked with were more interested in hitting the bars at the end of the day then tedious test flights, but they were still needed. If you can find who makes the simulators for what you currently fly, my bet is they would hire you on immediatly. In addition if you can do the electrical work for the hardware between testing, all the better.

BAE bought the place I used to work. They have locations all over the place.

Do something that makes the connection... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44126735)

There may not be a connection until you explicitly do something that combines your interests.

In your case, for example, you might go and experiment with RC-controlled airplanes or model rocketry. Or if your EE skills run more to programming, write a small flight simulator.

Defense/Aerospace contractors are your best bet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44126741)

Particularly if you have a security clearance. This is the path I took, and after a few years in an engineering job at a defense company, you can leverage that into engineering jobs outside of defense if you so choose. Your having been a pilot may be advantageous for aerospace companies. I was in the infantry myself, I couldn't find any way combine the skillsets, but generally speaking I think defense companies are more open to prior service military types, given their customer base.

The resume is written for the job and type of job (4, Insightful)

raymorris (2726007) | about a year ago | (#44126747)

The point of the resume is to show how you are qualified for the job you are applying for. If you apply for several similar jobs, you might submit similar versions of the resume, of course.
Therefore, how you should present X on your resume depends entirely on what job you're seeking. Since you gave no clue what job you're trying to qualify yourself for, there's no way to answer.

For example, if you were applying for a job where they are looking for someone who is obsessive about getting every detail exactly precise 100% of the time, such as "nuclear powerplant _____", your resume would indicate that you operated a $30 million plane precisely, delivering your payload with pinpoint precision, where the consequences of error were literally life and death. You'd point to similar aspects of your engineering work - blah blah 6 nanometers blah.

If you're going for a position where the big deal is leadership and chain of command, tat would be a completely different presentation of your experience.

Re:The resume is written for the job and type of j (4, Interesting)

tylikcat (1578365) | about a year ago | (#44127507)

Grab a friend who knows you well (and who doesn't run you down just for grins.) Have some food, and a couple of beers (or split a bottle of wine) and meanwhile brainstorm and jot down all the possibly applicable experience you can think of. Also, and maybe more important, talk about the things that you are really good at - not just skillswise, but what kind of person you are and what you excell at. And then think of stories that really illustrate each of those.

Have fun. Be silly. No one should try to do this stage of resume writing alone, generally speaking we're all far too trained to discount our skills and put ourself down. Aim for ten pages or so of semi-coherent scrawl. Don't try to edit, editing is easy, and it's for later. Getting enough material down in the first place is what this is about.

And then, a few days later, come back and prune. This isn't time to prune super heavily - what you're looking to create is a superset resume - more than you'd sent out for any one job, but containing most of what you'd send out for anything. Keep in mind that a resume isn't just about skills, it should be about what kind of person you are and what you're like to work with. There are a lot of formats out there, but don't be enslaved to them - while it should be tight and professional, a resume isn't a form application but a creative document that should present you in the best light. (It should go without say that lying is incredibly stupid.) I do strongly recommend looking at it in terms of narrative - whatever you want people to know about you, include a (briefly worded) story that demonstrates it.

Not only does this make resumes more informative, it makes them a heck of a lot less boring. (When I was doing hiring, reading resumes was often tortuous, because they didn't tell me most of the things that were most important, beyond some basic skills lists that weren't that reliable.) Make a resume that represents you well - because you want the manager you absolutely would hate to work for to look at it and say "I don't want this guy" just as much as you want the right folks to recognize you. Truth in advertising is a good thing.

I concur with what a lot of people are saying. I'd look at Boeing if I were you (a friend designs flight simulators for their military aircraft - I suspect you'd do well in that kind of environment). (For that matter, my former father in law - also a Boeing engineer*flew planes for the airforce for many years and eventually ended up at Boeing. I almost managed to get him over to Microsoft when I was there, on Flight Simulator.)

I'd also do what you can in the intervening time to brush up on skills that are going to support the direction you want to go in from here. Start reading up on security. Pick up a new language. Buy yourself a bunch of toys off sparkfun. What people are saying about your skills being out of date is possibly a problem... if they are, in fact, out of date. So make sure they aren't. It sounds like you have a lot going for you, especially with a little polishing and fine tuning.

* Hey, I grew up in Seattle, what can I say?

Exploiting "Engineering and ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44126765)

Test pilot / avionics tester / ELINT/airborne countermeasures type?

Continue as a pilot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44126797)

Why don't you do private charter or stuff like that? I don't know if that's what you want to do or if military pilot translates into something else - Just thinking. Thanks.

Re:Continue as a pilot (1)

Spy Handler (822350) | about a year ago | (#44127063)

That would be like saying to Mark Zuckerberg (after he retires from Facebook), "Why don't you go work for my friend Joe, he needs someone who knows PHP to fix his Magento ecommerce website".

Private charter pilots make not much more than minimum wage, hell even airline pilots aren't very good jobs these days unless you're like 50+ years old with lots of seniority and you started decades ago under union contract.

Re:Continue as a pilot (1)

vux984 (928602) | about a year ago | (#44127329)

That would be like saying to Mark Zuckerberg (after he retires from Facebook), "Why don't you go work for my friend Joe, he needs someone who knows PHP to fix his Magento ecommerce website".

No, that's probably all Zuckerberg is actually good for. Lightning struck for him and he made the most of it, but he's no genius programmer or anything.

I guess at this point his social network (groan) by which i mean the people he has access to now is worth more than any innate skills he has or ever will have.

Programming is the one thing Zuck's not great at. (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about a year ago | (#44128087)

My friend built a better programmed social network before anyone had heard of Facebook. It had more features, done better. That friend got around 5-20 people to sign up. Guess who won, my friend, or Zuckerberg? A social network is an extreme example of what's generally true - good technicians are one of the least important things for building a huge business. Zuck is a great business person and leader. (I don't personally use Facebook, FYI).

Has McDonald's sold a hundred billion burgers because Ray Kroc was an amazing cook? He was an amazing entrepreneur. McDonald's isn't even in the food business. It's in the _real_estate_ business. They make most of their money leasing buildings to their franchisees. Similarly, Facebook isn't in the programming business.

Depends where you're applying (1)

LateArthurDent (1403947) | about a year ago | (#44126809)

If you're going into the aeronautics industry, you should be able to easily sell the fact that you have a pilot's understanding of airplanes.

If you're applying somewhere where your piloting experience wouldn't be relevant at all, then don't mention it other than in your employment history.

Applicable skills (5, Funny)

Antipater (2053064) | about a year ago | (#44126811)

Make sure you include "Destructive testing of competitors' products" as part of your skillset.

Management combind with Security Clearance (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44126829)

Any Federal contractor, and most Federal agencies, will hire you damn near sight unseen for your "management" skills and security clearance. The Whorehouse (federal contractors) pay better than the government, but once hired by the government you'll have a job until you quit, retire or die.

It is almost mandatory that you live in Northern Virginia, Mary-Land or the District. I did the contractor route until I was completely sickened by this part of the nation. It is an absolute horror.

Be creative (2)

belthize (990217) | about a year ago | (#44126837)

If this mutt:$500-million-in-questionable-bids/ []
can claim to be a disabled vet because he hurt his ankle in high school at a prep school then the sky is definitely the limit for you.

Seriously though as others have stated your resume itself isn't nearly as important as who you send it to. You have a rare combination of skills (engineering, military, jet aircraft etc) and there are small set of companies that would give you a serious look regardless. It doesn't have to be all drones and DoD type companies, NASA and commercial engineering firms would be as well.

Do (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44126851)

You should be smooshing up to defence contractors.

Apply to Boeing, Raytheon, etc. (3, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year ago | (#44126909)

I have worked at jeppesen and they hire pilots every so often. Sadly, most of them are pretty worthless when it comes to the development cycle (yet, they think that Marketing degree combined with 10 years flying puddle jumpers make them suitable for dev). With your degree in EE, you obviously have a decent background.
BTW, at this time, skip any work on human rated aircraft, save commercial. If you are going to work in aviation, then focus on drones, and services. There is little doubt that the feds are going to have to cut back in various areas. And that means that they will cut back on everything except for drones and the 2017 bomber. You MIGHT want to throw your lot in with something like the X-48. That is perfect for many things, such as the 2017 bomber, but also fire fighting, tankers, etc. And firefighting is going to be important with all of this beetle killed pine in the west.

Re:Apply to Boeing, Raytheon, etc. (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year ago | (#44126923)

Just thinking further, throw a resume at SpaceX. They are looking at more than just rockets.

Re:Apply to Boeing, Raytheon, etc. (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | about a year ago | (#44127455)

And on the drones, think about getting your flight instructor ticket. Our flight program here at hte community college I work for is exploring offering drone training, and I heard the other day from someone else that teh FAA is thiinking about a drone certification. If you can get in on hte early education side, you'll be set.

A job at the IRS? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44126921)

They love ex-military. Heck they might give you 500mil$ of taxpayer money and make you a fortune-500 in no time /trollmode off

Did you say you have a skill set? (1)

fredrated (639554) | about a year ago | (#44126929)

Or was that a kill set?

Simple (2, Troll)

The Cat (19816) | about a year ago | (#44126937)

Say you're from China and you'll work for half price. Instant hire.

American "employers" get sexual pleasure from denying jobs to Americans.

saving money (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year ago | (#44126961)

I have an IT background in programming and another degree in web design and graphics. I have a huge background in computer repair as well. But besides all those three, I usually mention on the resume that I've been shooting video for my church and a local concert venue for over a decade so I know video systems inside and out. I also have done VHC to DVD conversions. Then I also mention I know electrical system pretty well and DMX light control programming and sound systems since my dad is a mobile DJ and I've been to over 500 dances and weddings. Then I mention I used to work at a hospital and have over 40 HIPPA and biohazard certifications. Then I mention that I know custom PC building inside and out too. I've also done wireless reception testing and mapping.

If you haven't noticed the pattern yet, every one of those could save a company the money of hiring an outside contractor. I can program their software then get up and film and edit company videos for the website while erasing computers to HIPPA standards while picking out the proper catering company and table layout for an employee Christmas party. So it's all about usefulness to the company. Unfortunately, most companies don't run aircraft combat missions, lol.

You are a professional killer (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44127007)

A prospective employer will either love this or hate it.

By the way, do the ghosts of the innocent people who
died because of things you have done ever haunt you ?

They will, trust me on this.

Re:You are a professional killer (1)

mtrachtenberg (67780) | about a year ago | (#44127087)

Yes, Anonymous Coward is an appropriate name for you. Someone who signed up for the military following 9/11 certainly does not need to justify their actions.

Was the Iraq war a "good war?" No, not in my opinion. But that war wasn't started by the military. It was started by the unprosecuted war criminals who were almost voted into positions of power, men like George W "Decider" Bush, Dick "Dick" Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.

Re:You are a professional killer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44127109)

What is the reason he should trust you?

Just some thoughts - not authoritative (2)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#44127023)

With that sort of background you're probably going to have a big bag of experience to draw from, and selectively emphasize on a resume. You're probably going to want to think about where you want to take your career, what industry, what general type of job, and highlight those aspects of your experience. For example, trying to move into civil aviation to continue as a pilot would mean stressing the actual aviation aspects of the job - aircraft qualifications, flight planning, flight time, instrument qualifications, etc. If you wanted to move back towards engineering, you've probably conducted various types of technical and safety inspections, perhaps some logistics work, maybe even preformed troubleshooting that could be emphasized. If you've ever made any recommendations for equipment modification that were accepted, that would be gravy. You've probably had various forms of ongoing technical education yourself, or acting as in instructor. Another track might be management. I'm sure you can see where this is going. Rendering things in terms that civilians understand will also be helpful. I recall seeing this book [] out there before. Not sure if it would be helpful or not to you. I would expect that your service's transition program has similar resources available.

If you haven't had your hand involved in the actual technical aspects of electrical engineering for 12 years or so... that's a long time. If you think you might want to go that way you might want to see about getting ahold of some free vendor tools and play around to see if that still interests you. Some of the FPGA manufacturers have made them available over time.

Some industries may value the combination of your experience more than others. Aerospace, for example.

Once you have a direction, and maybe a backup direction / plan, you will probably want to start making contacts well before your exit date. You might also want to do what you can to get some money saved up as a cushion. Keep in mind the big internet recruiting sites appropriate for the industry you want to pursue, such as Monster and Dice.

As I noted, just my thoughts. Nothing authoritative here. Good luck to you, and thanks for answering the call.

"flying combat missions" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44127027)

Those kite flying Afghanis been putting up much of a fight?
Haha, just jokes bro. I know they don't have any kites.

Ask Buzz Aldrin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44127031)

Become an astronaut!

Lie (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44127077)

Lie through your teeth or the only job you'll land will be crap and won't match your skill set. Besides, it seems to work well for CEOs...

defense contractor (1)

trailerparkcassanova (469342) | about a year ago | (#44127095)

Boeing, Honeywell, Raytheon, etc. would all be interested in you.

You've had your head in the clouds for 12 years (1)

TomR teh Pirate (1554037) | about a year ago | (#44127135)

and now you want somebody to hire you? But seriously, thanks for your service!

Exploit your military (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44127157)

Since you're a combat pilot, you have something other engineer doesn't have - that's security clearance - that alone worth $100K

So apply at those big defense firms

It's about applicable skills (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44127179)

Prove to me you've stayed up on engineering and that you're better than the other applicants. I'm not hiring a fighter pilot. I'm hiring an engineer. To put it another way, what if I was hiring a fighter pilot and you told me you were a pilot for a while and went off to be an engineer for the last decade. Should your engineering background be a core part of me choosing you as a fighter pilot over other guys who have been flying continually for the last five years? Nope. Neither should you expect special treatment in the hiring process because of your military service. Businesses hire proven skill sets. Show that you have the proven skill set for the job. Forget about your time in the cockpit until some HR dweeb asks you how well you can handle stress. Then say, "I fought for my life at Mach 1.5 in a combat zone".

North American education is no longer respected (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44127221)

north american trained engineer is minimized in this employment market.
What counts is you are a visible minority -- if not too bad. This is what
is occuring in Canada. If you are a white male educated as an engineer in
Canada -- you will not be hired as an engineer. There are government
programs in place to hire "visible minority" engineers non-citizen, but
seeking employment in Canada and provide a 50% wage subsidy.

Have worked for companies that put engineers trained in "community
colleges" in india & china on the same level as graduates from an ivy
league university in canada or the usa. wtf? When I first went to university
part of the entrance requirement for engineering at my alma mater was
a BA degree from India and/or China -- what changed? I have worked with
such individuals and have seen that they lack basic engineering

As a TA I also saw foreign students cheat thru engineering programs
in Canada with no repurcussions.

We should be seeing soon aircraft falling from the skys, bridges collapsing,
building colappsing, and products failing en masse.

an observation

Become a SME (1)

metiscus (1270822) | about a year ago | (#44127291)

I'd suggest hunting down Lockheed, Boeing, or L-3 Communications (or another DoD contractor) and start working with them as a Subject Material Expert in whatever you did in your career. You get a very decent salary, don't really have to do much, and generally you can work with multiple companies at a time if you set yourself up as an independent contractor. Effectively, you can do what you like and what you know, and get paid for it.

Engineering is good (1)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year ago | (#44127293)

I would think that a controls engineer would have quite a bit in common with a pilot; converting measurement units, telemetry, and you're almost guaranteed to need to know something about proportional-integral-derivatives (or PLC PID instructions, look them up). I'd think an engineer who was a pilot would be an attractive canidate to an employer.

Work for a military contractor (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year ago | (#44127327)

I'd say that you should look for work at a military contractor (or work as a civilian for the military itself) where they will value your military and flight experience (and security clearances). If I interviewed you for an engineering position at my civilian company, your military/flight experience would mean little aside from some interesting (for me) chitchat while waiting for the elevator, and you'd lose some points because you've been out of EE for a decade. It's no different than if you spent 10 years as a commercial pilot or even truck driver, you've been out of the field for a decade, so unless your military or flight experience was a plus for the position, I'd probably go with the guy that's been doing engineering work for the past 10 years.

Become a Consultant for Military Contractors (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about a year ago | (#44127359)

Go to work for a Booze Allen or a Grant Thornton or another big consulting firm that does contracting for the military. Brush up on your EE skills, take the FE exam, and later become a PE.

You already know the answer (1)

betterprimate (2679747) | about a year ago | (#44127369)

I presume you are posting for affirmation because the answer is blatantly obvious. EE and military background is the best complimentary experiences you could have. You don't have to market it, let it speak for itself. Your experience is well sought after.

As others have suggested, looking for a defense contractor is an obvious start. Continue to add to your EE background and your options will grow exponentially.

You are in a position that no other civilian has the opportunity to be in. You could even find yourself working at NASA in a few years time if you applied yourself.

Best of luck, and thank you for your service. You won't have any trouble landing a job.

Re:You already know the answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44127893)

This guy doesn't sound like he's lacking for confidence. Why not just hang out in exclusive clubs at the bar and impress rich widows with your prowess?

In other words, nobody likes a show-off, bub. We should be asking YOU for advice!

generic advice and two words: "security clearance" (1)

mbaGeek (1219224) | about a year ago | (#44127387)

As a rule the only "career advice" I ever give is "Know thyself" []

with that said - I've heard a lot of business owners say they like to "hire for attitude and train for skills." Military service is going to be a plus for most companies BUT What employers really care about is that you will help their company succeed - the parts to emphasize from your military service are that you will show up, work hard, and have a good attitude (but I wouldn't say "I've learned to embrace the suck." if they ask you what you learned from serving in the military ... )

from the purely practical side: you will get extra "points" if you want to work for the federal government; having an active security clearance is required for a lot (most) defense contractor type jobs.

You have an opportunity to chase your "dream job" - so figure out your ideal job (be specific). In the next year you should get good contact information for people who will say nice things about you and make sure they know you are going to use them as a reference. Let EVERYBODY know what type of job you are looking for and where you want to live - you might be surprised by someone who has a relative/friend looking to hire someone in your field, you might want to have someone help you with a résumé (at the least get a book) ...

... and "follow your bliss" [] (but first Gnothi seauton)

Apply to SpaceX (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44127419)

...after you get that job, come back here and tell us how wonderful it is so we can slit our wrists.

Call Microsoft (0)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | about a year ago | (#44127617)

Tell them you have experience with BOTH decades-old software AND murdering children. That goes right down their alley.

Re:Call Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44127969)

inappropriate, but utterly hilarious.

You don't, really. (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | about a year ago | (#44127719)

I've done a bit of hiring on th e side for some of my companies. Ex-military is good for a whole hosts of reasons (thank for your service; courage; discipline; commitment, top gun..). That's your "in" right there, no need for more.

What you need on top of that is:
- don't be a nut job. Quite a few ex-military I've come across had severe PTSD. Make sure you project "normality", with a dollop of humor and lay-backedness (not aloofness though: our business is not war, but it *is* important, too). Make sure you have a life goal and non-work projects to discuss (that'd be: kids :-p)
- be up-to-date on your tech skills. While the army has good rep for giving organizational and personal skills, it also has a mild rep for being backwards and procedural

Spent 23 years on a submarine (1)

bsy-1 (169906) | about a year ago | (#44127777)

I worked taking care of the electronics and computers necessary to determine target location and preset, arm and launch the appropriate weapon at same. Not exactly the skill set the private sector looks at. I spent the last 6 months of my career as a windows admin (long enough not to look for an admin job). It took me a month, but I found work maximizing what others have said. Yes sir, I know you don't have torpedoes, but you have software that performs in a manner that is other than expected. I spent the last 23 years finding and fixing issues, I can do the same for you.

Why mention engineering? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44127913)

Just tell them you flew jets in the military.

Civil Service Jobs (2)

McGruber (1417641) | about a year ago | (#44127949)

ISince 9/11 I have been flying combat missions for the military. Since I now have just a little over a year before becoming a civilian again, I was wondering if any Slashdotters had any applicable advice/anecdotes. How does one effectively combine engineering/development with another professional skill-set? (Being a jet pilot in this example.)

Assuming you are a member of the US military, consider taking a civil service job with the federal government. You would be credited for your military time and your experience. The FAA probably could use you, with all the Nextgen development they are doing - check the job postings at

Be yourself (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44128133)

Forget buzz words. Forget titles. Even experience and acquaintances only count for so much. What can you DO? What DO you do? If it's valuable, someone will pay you for it.

Depends on your area of specialty (1)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | about a year ago | (#44128143)

In the arena of Architectural Engineering, ex-military types are generally sought after for Commissioning work. You need to be competent "enough" on the engineering side, but the focus is on process and troubleshooting. We tend not to hire ex military folks for engineering design roles based on a bias that their creativity has been stifled. (On a case-by case basis of course.)

But, pay would be better working as an airline pilot if you have your hours. You really need to be exceptional to hit $135k as a CxA.

Variety and adaptability (1)

sleepypsycho (1335401) | about a year ago | (#44128201)

As someone who hires from time to time, I am always impressed when people show they can adjust to different situations and learn quickly. I think in the interview you should emphasis the variety of challenges you faced. I think there is often a fear that a military person may be rigid. The concern is that the candidate will be unbending or may follow orders without thinking for themselves. Show that you are able to recognize how different environment require different approaches. Tell how quickly you were able to succeed in situation which were outside your previous experience.

Go To Work For Boeing (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#44128217)

As a control systems engineer.

Military experience is an asset (2)

dbc (135354) | about a year ago | (#44128283)

Since you have a college degree, I assume you are an officer. So you have leadership experience. That is worth a lot. I would look at that resume and be thinking more about hiring someone who will be a good manager some day, even if they are a little rusty on design skills right now. Which is not to say I would put you straight into management, or give you a pass on sloppy design work, but I'd give you a chance to come up to speed again.

In my former life as a hiring manager, I can look at someone with a successful military career, *especially* a career in a complex rating such as "combat pilot" and know there is a huge list of things I don't have to teach you. Like showing up on time. Like clearly understanding your deliverables. Like fulfilling your role in the team and working with a team toward a complex goal.

So if you can refresh your skills, even with a hobby project, do it and push it to github. That gives you something technical to talk about that is fresh. Then sell what you've got, because you've got something that most new hires don't, and that is a demonstratable track record of delivering complicated goals in a high pressure and disciplined environment. Oh... and you were entrusted with the operation of multiple millions of dollars worth of delicate capital equipment.

I'll tell you what, the best boss I ever had was an ex Israeli commando officer. Why? 1. There was never, ever, any doubt whatsoever what he wanted me to accomplish. 2. When he asked what I needed to get the job done, he listened and either got it or adjusted plans accordingly. When you think about it, that makes total sense, you don't send commandos in with a fuzzy idea of what to do and insufficient equipment and support, because the alternative is writing a lot of unpleasant letters to parents. I'm guessing you have some of that in you, and that will go far. If I was interviewing you today, I'd be asking questions to probe for *that*, and be less interested if you can recite the latest data sheets from memory.

Relevance (1)

multimediavt (965608) | about a year ago | (#44128359)

For those of you who do hiring, what is the best way to sell this type of background?

MANAGER: How are the skills you acquired during your term of service in the military relevant to this position?

Or, find an airline that's hiring.

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