Veterans who are successful at finding employment after discharge are those who know how to make their military skills translatable to civilian employers. Although many companies are starting to recognize the value of employing veterans and stepping up their hiring efforts, some are still apprehensive. As a result, the responsibility falls on veterans to help businesses understand how the skills they developed as service members can be an asset in a broad range of industries.
What types of skills need explaining?
Some skills are straightforward and easy for prospective employers to understand; these are job-specific skills known as hard skills . For example, a veteran who served as a combat medic has knowledge of emergency medical care and equipment and could ideally work in a hospital ER or find a job as a first responder or emergency medical technician. Similarly, pilots and aircraft technicians can leverage their flight training and technical expertise to land a job as a commercial pilot or working for an aerospace company such as Lockheed Martin .
Soft skills, on the other hand, are typically more difficult to define and translate, yet they often distinguish former service members from the competition. These include social and communication skills or personal character traits such as leadership, teamwork, problem-solving, a strong work ethic, flexibility and the ability to perform under pressure. Notice anything in common about this list? Bingo: They are skills all veterans have acquired and likely honed to perfection.
Soft skills can help you land the job you want—if you know how to promote them.
In a recent commentary published on Military Times Rebootcamp , Marine veteran Adam Avitabile talks about the seven “transferable job skills” he learned during his time in the military and why they are important. Not surprisingly, the list includes adaptability, leadership, cultural sensitivity, diligence and a strong code of ethics. These skills, along with those traits listed above, make veterans ideal employees in any industry, whether working for a new startup or a multinational corporation.
As you search potential jobs, pay close attention to the requirements for each position and start thinking about how your military career makes you uniquely qualified for success. For example, being able to think on your feet and quickly adapt to change is an important skill to have in today’s business world, especially as rapidly evolving technology alters the way consumers search for and purchase the products and services they need. Likewise, because a growing number of companies are seeing the value in building a remote workforce, the ability to work independently and with minimal guidance is a highly sought-after trait.
When it comes time to fill out an application or interview with a prospective employer, veterans should take every opportunity to promote the skills they acquired during their service and to demonstrate their potential benefit to the employer.
The main point here is that a lot of employers are not going to make the mental leap on their own. Veterans need to be proactive in asserting the value of these highly translatable skills in order to set themselves apart in the hiring pool and get the jobs they desire. Be prepared with specific examples of how your skills translate, and keep a written list to help you remember specific talking points. And, as always, make sure you have a copy of your DD214 handy when applying for the jobs you want.
Veteran-owned DD214Direct helps you get the documents you need, when you need them.
Our cutting-edge technology platform and keen knowledge of government protocol and procedure allow us to deliver your documents faster than competitors. We physically stand in line at the records repository and manually coordinate your order, freeing up your time and easing your worries about whether or not you will get your DD214. Much like paying a small fee to have your taxes done by a professional, DD214Direct provides the service and convenience you’ve been hoping for, plus we make it a lot easier.
Instead of having to download, print, sign and fax your document request form, you can submit your order directly through our website with the ease of e-signature technology from a desktop, laptop or mobile device. Once we locate your DD214, we will email you a copy immediately—a service not offered by the government. And tracking your request through us is simple, so you never have to worry about long hold times and inconclusive answers.
Ready to get started?