Leveraging Military Skills and Experience

silhouetteMilitary life is behind you, but it is most certainly not forgotten.  You possess a unique skill set that only a small portion of the workforce shares with you.  Many of the non-veteran careerists out there have grown accustomed to a routine, become comfortable, have stopped learning and therefore overlook the wealth of skills that have been accumulated over the years.  This may be your most valuable asset, as no one can devalue the skills and experience you possess.

Percent of the US population that are US Veterans: 13%

Percent of pre-retirement Veterans: 63%

TOTAL % of US population that are work-force veterans: 8%

Now, for some perspective, 28% of the US population (over the age of 25) have attained at least a bachelor’s degree.  The skills and experience you possess as a veteran puts you in a unique portion of the population, and therefore gives you an advantage.  The knowledge you have as a veteran is valuable.

Educational Experiences – Laying a Foundation

Depending on how long you have been in the military, there is likely a number of schools, classes, certification courses and camps that have contributed to your education.  Take some time to list every educational experience that you can think of.  Don’t leave anything out.  Now, look back at this list and ask yourself:  How many of these opportunities do you think a whole lot of people would give anything to know?

Skills – Defining Your Structure

Whether you be Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force or any other branch of the military, it is inevitable your specialty required a unique set of skills.  List all the skills you have learned during your military career.  List any other skills in your life that contributed to your success.  You may feel some of these have been taken for granted.  Write them down.  As you think chronologically through places you have been, things you have done, and skills you have acquired, this should comprise quite a list.  Now, ask yourself: Would you enjoy teaching any of these if you had the opportunity?

Passion – What Holds It All Together

Is there something that you are passionate about?  This could be rooted in your childhood from an artistic endeavor, maybe an interest in coping with difficult situations and helping others, or a particular talent.  Are you proficient in technology or engineering?  Do you have a business mind, with interests in marketing, finance or even an entrepreneurial spirit?  No matter what your passion is, write it down.

After your lists are complete, go back through and take inventory of yourself.  How can you align the first two lists with the third?  Have you identified a niche, or a recurring theme?  You may think your specialty is too small for anyone in the civilian world to care.  Wrong!  These concepts and interests are relative to a civilian career path, and the more narrowly defined your niche is, the easier it will be to locate other people and businesses interested in the same thing.

Questions?  Comments?  I’d love to hear them!
Email: Drew@Boots-to-Suits(dot)com
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This post was written by
Former Combat Infantryman (OEF, OIF2) turned business and finance professional. Advocate for fellow veterans in the struggle to find careers when they leave the service. Someone once asked me how I did it so easily. "Easily?" Going from gunshots and explosions to school and business was most certainly not "easy." That was when I was encouraged to tell my story and why, since then, I have made my mission to not only help those in the same struggle succeed, but raise awareness and gather support.

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