Veterans may find it challenging to move from a military career to the civilian workforce, but don’t despair! Our country’s employers and civilian workforce need veterans now, more than ever. The unique skill set, discipline and knowledge of military veterans are highly valued by employers in a wide range of industries.
Ask any entrepreneur, business owner, hiring manager or talent acquisition professional about the top characteristics they seek in candidates when recruiting for key positions in their organization, and you’ll find some variation of the following:
1. LEADERSHIP AND TEAMWORK
Among military veterans’ most significant assets are their exceptional leadership and teamwork skills. If you’ve spent more than a year in any military branch, you’ve likely had direct experience (however small) leading, as well as following, and seen firsthand the power of high-performing teams. Candidates who possess the ability to effectively work on a team are highly valued by employers because they promote collaboration, productivity and a positive work environment. Veterans usually honed their leadership skills in high-stress situations where they were responsible for managing teams and rendering key decisions under challenging circumstances.
The leadership structure among both the conventional and the Special Operations communities teaches discipline, accountability and a strong feeling of duty. These characteristics enable members to take the initiative, inspire
and motivate others, and coordinate efforts to achieve key objectives. Additionally, veterans tend to be excellent communicators who can give directions clearly, distribute tasks effectively and interact with coworkers through active listening.
Veterans who can blend into a civilian workforce by shedding the hard-edged, command-and-control style of communication (i.e., “do so because I said so”) may help businesses looking for strong leaders who can inspire and guide their teams to success because these traits are highly valued in any professional setting.
2. RESILIENCY AND ADAPTABILITY
These skills are critical in the military environment and are highly transferable to the workforce in the civilian sector. Most employers are aware that veterans have handled a wide range of situations, frequently in challenging and constantly changing settings. Through this exposure, they develop the abilities needed to handle uncertainty, accept change and remain composed in stressful situations.
Most veterans are accustomed to integrating themselves into new environments, cultures and technology developments. Thanks to their strong work ethic and quick learning curve, they succeed in challenging job conditions. People who make an effort to fit into their company’s culture and take the initiative to learn new tasks and skills are rewarded by competent employers.
Because of their resilience, veterans may also persevere in the face of business adversity, bounce back from setbacks and maintain a positive view even under tough situations. These qualities make them valuable assets in any industry where resiliency and adaptability are prerequisites.
3. PROBLEM-SOLVING AND ANALYTICAL SKILLS
Employers place a high value on employees and team members who can think critically and solve problems. Because of their experience, education and training, veterans usually possess exceptional analytical and problem-solving skills, as well as the ability to quickly analyze hazards, establish effective strategies and make decisions based on limited information. Veterans excel at scenario analysis, risk assessment and solution formulation, making them stand out in the civilian workforce. Their knowledge of recognizing and lowering risks, executing well-thought-out plans and adapting strategies (when necessary) has given them a unique perspective.
Employers go to great lengths to recruit team members who can effectively identify issues, provide solutions, enhance processes and assist in the growth and success of the company. Businesses strongly value the special skill set that veterans who are transitioning from the military to the civilian economy possess. Because of their aptitude for leadership and teamwork, flexibility and resilience, as well as their capacity for problem-solving and analytical thinking, they are highly sought after in most industries.
Savvy employers recognize the benefits of integrating veterans’ experiences into their workforces and are conscious of the unique abilities that veterans possess. To maximize chances of securing a career in the civilian workforce, veterans should focus on exhibiting these qualities when looking for employment. I encourage veterans to find ways to explain situations and circumstances in which they have demonstrated flexibility, emphasized their problem-solving abilities and highlighted their leadership duties. During the initial military-to-civilian workforce transition (and throughout their civilian career), vets should search for networks of support and resources that are appropriate for their needs, including career counseling services, networking events and mentorship programs.
By recognizing and making use of their skills, military veterans can successfully transition into the civilian workforce. If you’re a civilian business owner or employer seeking resilient, highperforming, goal-oriented, problem-solving leaders and team members, I urge you to consider hiring a veteran.
If you’re a veteran, it’s time to lean into your spirit of service and help these employers grow their teams and organizations.
Now, go do something significant today!
Larry Broughton is a former U.S. Army Green Beret, bestselling author, award-winning entrepreneur, keynote speaker and leadership business mentor.