The other day, I had a friend tell me on Facebook that it was exciting that I was going civilian, but that he felt like he didn’t have any valuable “civilian-world” skills other than leadership. I couldn’t believe he was selling himself so short; he’d attended a service academy, one of the country’s premier leadership institutions, and served successfully as an Army officer. If he wanted to get out, I’m sure he’d succeed!
I think it’s common for veterans to sell themselves short in this regard. It’s hard to get civilians with no military experience to relate to us, so we assume it will be hard for us to relate to a civilian career. After all this time in uniform, a business suit seems uncomfortable in more ways than one. But while the jargon/environment may be different, the skills we’ve acquired during our military service are actually invaluable.
Some of the things we have to offer:
- grassroots leadership
- ability to make decisions under pressure
- ability to adapt
- ability to prioritize
- risk management skills
- discipline and work ethic
- understand technology in the workplace
- cultural inclusion and teamwork
- ability to delegate responsibility
- real-world experience
- security clearances
It seems like Corporate America has already figured out that the military is a great place to find leadership and experience when they need to fill job openings… give yourself the credit you deserve! If you want to be a leader in the military, you can do it. If you want to be a leader in the corporate world, you can do that too.
Articles I read:
“Battle-tested: From soldier to business leader”, Fortune Magazine, March 2010
“Military vets: MBA job recruiter’s dream candidates?”, Fortune Magazine, July 2011
“How Military Veterans Are Finding Success in Small Business”, Entrepreneur, February 2012
“A vanishing breed: CEOs seasoned by military combat”, USA Today, January 2005
“Do Officers Make the Best CEOs?”, Military.com
“The Value of Veterans”, Military.com