Military veterans face new challenges when transitioning into civilian careers. After years of military life, re-entering the workforce and landing a new job can cause stress and anxiety. Such feelings are normal. After all, transitioning out of the military can be a major life change. After spending years in the service, you may be wondering if the skills that helped you succeed will translate to the civilian world.
The answer is yes! Today’s employers are looking for candidates with the skills you’ve honed in your military service. You’ve already built a set of abilities that can be applied to a number of situations. Now your job is to make sure your resume highlights how those qualifications fit an employer’s needs. The following soft and technical skills can help give you a competitive edge at work, whether you plan to return to work right away or pursue a degree.
- Communication – Today’s workplace typically requires good communication skills, which is a trait many veterans likely developed while serving. While being a great writer is typically not required, candidates should be able to clearly convey information in both written and verbal interactions, and be able to be persuasive when the situation requires.
- Leadership – The military is unique in placing people in leadership positions early in their careers. Your experience with making decisions and achieving results and inspiring, influencing and motivating a team can be an asset when you transfer to the civilian workplace.
- Teamwork – Employers need people who work effectively on a team. It’s generally how business is done today, which is great for military veterans. Most servicemembers should be accustomed to working cooperatively with others, respecting the chain of command and taking the leadership role when necessary. This skill is also important in college, as many courses involve some aspect of teamwork to prepare students for the real world.
- Adaptability – As a servicemember, you were likely used to adjusting to change. This skill can be very valuable in today’s business environment. Flexibility and adaptability can help an employer keep up with fast-changing circumstances. Think of examples of how you learned to adapt, both from your training and real-life situations.
- Self-Discipline – The military is known for instilling this important personal quality in its servicemembers. Employers also value this trait. Including it on your resume can tell them that they can rely on your ability to get the job done without excessive supervision. This skill is also applicable in college, as time managemement is essential for meeting course requirements and deadlines.
- Analytical Skills – You may have developed analytical skills by assessing and reacting to combat situations, or by working in a specialty that required you to carefully evaluate and interpret complex data. Now you can transfer those skills to jobs in data management, research, marketing analysis or a number of other careers.
- Organizational Skills – Show employers that you have the ability to manage your time, prioritize duties and coordinate tasks. Your organizational skills can also lead you to producing accurate and timely reports, managing resources efficiently and multi-tasking as the job demands. Strong organizational skills are often vital to a successful college experience too.
- Transferable Experience – There are plenty of military jobs that directly transfer to the civilian sector, with similar duties and requirements. For example, a former field medic can train to become an EMT or return to school for a nursing degree. Aviation mechanics can transfer to the engineering or electronics field and special ops personnel typically have many of the skills required to enter law enforcement.
Your Skills Are Valuable
Regardless of the length of your military service, your skills and experience can be beneficial to employers in the business, technology, government, education and corporate sectors. Certain positions may require additional education. Higher education is one way to bridge the gap between military service and a civilian career. It can help ease the transition and prepare you for more growth in a career.