People who join the military receive valuable training throughout their careers which forms and strengthens their skillset. When veterans leave Service, they often wrongly assume that they don’t have the required skills and experience to secure a civilian job. However, it is their unique and diverse range of hard and soft skills – which are easily transferable to civilian employment – that makes them an asset and can in turn help to fill the skills gaps affecting many businesses.
Able to work both independently and as part of a team, ex-military candidates are both reliable and have a strong work ethic, which gives them ample skills for their CVs and makes them an attractive hire. Above all, employers are looking for your ‘soft’ skills – personal attributes that are the product of your military training and experience. Soft skills are character traits and interpersonal skills and are important as they influence how you work and interact with people.
A few good examples are:
We have narrowed it down to the top four highly-sought after military skills and qualities that make veterans great job candidates:
Ex-military personnel are renowned for their leadership skills. They understand the fundamentals of leadership and above all else, they have the drive to deliver the results that are required, but will do so whilst looking after and supporting the team. Military leaders also tend to have the ability to pause, step back and make a plan under immense pressure, all experience they can translate to a commercial organisation to great effect.
2. A ‘CAN-DO’ ATTITUDE
One of the coveted soft skills we hear from employers time and time again is the unique ‘can-do’ attitude of military personnel. It really is a stand-out quality that is hugely attractive to organisations. Employers respect the military culture and its values and standards, which often align with those of civilian employers. Ex-military people are also well-known for their dedication to the task and commitment to their role, as well as in-demand qualities such as:
Another stand-out skill that puts ex-military personnel ahead of civvy counterparts is adaptability. Military training teaches you to handle change and how to adapt to new and often challenging situations. Being able to adapt and succeed in new work environments is a skill that comes more naturally to ex-military people than civilians. Though this is a skill that the majority of Service leavers possess, some civilians still hold the stereotypical view that military people can only give or receive orders, or that they can only work within structured environments. So, when applying for civilian roles it is important to challenge these views and to provide evidence of your flexibility, adaptability and willingness to learn.
4. TECHNICAL OR ‘HARD SKILLS’ AND QUALIFICATIONS
Depending on your military occupation and experience you’ll likely have technical skills that directly translate to a civilian role. For example, your military security and risk assessment skills can be applied to a role in cyber security. Or, if you worked as a mechanic, engineer or pilot in the military you’re going to have the relevant skills to fit the civilian equivalent.
We recommend playing to your strengths for your military career transition. If your skills are directly related to a civilian job then apply for it. If not, try targeting those jobs employers find hard to fill, such as cyber security, construction and housebuilding, transport and rail. Take the time to highlight your transferable skills before you apply – you’ll have a much better chance of securing a job if you fill a business critical skills gap. If you’re unsure what your individual skills and strengths are, why not try our personality assessment tool. It will determine your skills and working-style so that you can gain an understanding of the roles you might be naturally well-suited to.