A career in the military is not your average career. Because of the military's unique working environment and mission, veterans acquire unique skills and qualities that employers desire – and that give them an advantage in a career search.
Veterans are some of the most sought-after people in the workplace for a number of reasons. Perhaps the three most prominent reasons include their code of ethics, reliability, level of education.
- Code of Ethics: It is difficult to conceive a better-vetted group of individuals than veterans. Veterans often have incredible clearances. This means they've already gone through a rigorous process of background screening and character evaluation. Now, whether a company chooses to utilize an individual's clearance isn't really as important what the clearance says to a potential employer. It clearly marks the veteran as trustworthy and able to handle high-level information that wouldn’t be given out to many individuals. This, clearly, is an asset for veterans seeking a career change.
- Reliability: Veterans are exceedingly reliable. They come from a culture and workplace that values action and follow- through. Consequently, if they say they're going to do something, they're going to do it. If a timetable is established, it will be followed. Of course these are real advantages in the military workplace, but they are also highly sought after traits in the private sector.
- Education: Veterans, as a group, are highly educated. Veterans at all lengths of service have hands-on technical skills and advanced education. Quite often veterans hold advanced degrees. In particular, 15-20 year veterans increasingly go beyond their bachelors degrees and acquire and masters or doctorate-level education.
Unique Working Environments, Unique Skills
Employers know well that veterans have numerous other advantages as employees in addition to the quality character traits, and technical and managerial skills listed above. With the diverse needs of the military come diverse military jobs, and so various veterans will find their specialized skills are also highly valuable to potential employers. Because of this, don't forget to highlight these skills as well. In the end, though, the unique characteristics fostered by a career in the military that might seem run-of-the-mill to an individual surrounded each day by other dedicated service members may just be the characteristics most valued by a potential employer.
Jean Muller and Margaret O'Brien are the brains behind the success and expertise of Career Search America, a recently-launched website dedicated to helping veterans transition from military to civilian careers. With a combined 25 years of experience of career coaching in the "real world," they are excited to expand their services online.