There are plenty of jobs that favor military experience. The real question is, what type of jobs are these and who gets picked out of the pool of eligible military candidates. There are obvious career options for those who want to capitalize on their military experience–federal jobs are one of the most popular choices.
That’s especially true for those who hold security clearances and want to work in similarly trusted positions as a civilian.
But what about the other options. If you go to Indeed.com, you’ll find articles with lists of careers where military experience is favored. At the Indeed official site, these lists include jobs like automotive technician, electrician, and landscape designers.
And while it’s true that all of these career fields do value your military experience (there are military equivalents for all the above), these jobs tend to favor military experience based on the discipline of military life whereas the actual job skills themselves may be offered as on-the-job training.
The author of this article was once hired for a job specifically because of his military background; no experience in the field was required in this particular case because the military experience was deemed suitable. You may find a similar attitude in food service and hospitality industry jobs, some local law enforcement, city and state-level government jobs, etc.
But what about those who are looking for jobs as civilians who want to directly translate skills learned in uniform into a career in the private sector?
Types Of Jobs That Favor General Military Experience
Here are some of the most obvious–law enforcement, medicine, and security. Any military experience on your record gives you an advantage in the hiring process and your status as a veteran may allow you to claim veterans preference depending on where and how you are applying.
Basically any government job where you have direct experience (federal, state, or local) in the military you may find such experience to be a major competitive edge. You might have worked a security forces job in the military–which gives you the ability to apply for any number of security-related jobs on the outside.
But what if you were a K-9 handler no longer interested in law enforcement? Some go on to explore their options in veterinary services (because of their dog handling experience), animal control, or even work at public zoos. The key is to think creatively about the types of work that might be open to you as a veteran.
Another option: consulting. If you have experience in military security of any kind, that general experience may be valuable in a consulting context–how many companies have vulnerabilities in their physical or internet security? How many could use the benefit of an experienced military person who understands complex threats online and in person?
You might not have worked directly as a physical security manager, but if you had an additional duty related to security or performed work in that capacity while tasked to do other main missions, your experience is still relevant to an employer.
Jobs That Favor Specific Military Experience
There are plenty of other types of military jobs that directly translate into civilian ones:
- Human resources
- Civil engineering
- Public utilities
- Pest control
- Physical security
- Network maintenance
- Customer service
- Fitness-related jobs
- Public Affairs and broadcasting
- Protocol, internal affairs, and social media
- Project management
- Public works
These are just a few examples. How many gun range owners, nightclub managers, and private security services would jump at the chance to hire an experienced veteran who left the military in good standing?
There are some jobs that might favor your experiences in uniform even when it doesn’t seem like there’s a direct match from your old career to the new job. Did you have a job in an accounting and finance office? Maybe you lost interest in bookkeeping a long time ago, but there are related jobs that require that exact type of experience.
For example, if you were to join a company that has large inventories of stock, equipment, or merchandise, your accounting skills would translate well into inventory management.
And some military jobs that have no direct connection with that world still require the skills–consider the public affairs office that has cameras, video recording gear, and other gadgets. Someone has to serve as the inventory manager for all that government equipment.
And don’t forget about your additional duties. Were you tasked as a fitness monitor for your unit? That would go a long way toward helping you land a job at a local gym or fitness center.
Did you conduct training, briefings, or critique the work of others? Did you serve in a supervisory capacity? All these skills can directly translate into management job opportunities on the outside. Supervising others and managing departments are highly sought-after skill sets. Your training and experience in these areas could make the difference in getting hired for a competitive job.
Help From The VA
What some forget when trying to decide if their military experience gives them an advantage or not, one of the best things to do is to research the most current VA benefits for job placement, career transition assistance, and related issues. Did you know you may qualify as a military veteran for VA Chapter 36 Education and Career Counseling?
The VA has a list of requirements you must meet to be eligible for Chapter 36:
- The applicant is scheduled to be discharged under conditions other than dishonorable from active duty within 6 months, or
- The applicant has separated from active duty under conditions other than dishonorable not more than one year ago, or
- The applicant qualifies as a veteran or service member for educational assistance under a VA educational program, or
- The applicant is currently a service member, Veteran, or dependent eligible for VA education benefits.
What do you get with this assistance?
- Career counseling
- Educational counseling related to a career choice
- Academic and adjustment counseling
- Resume support
- Goal planning
Complete VA Form 28-8832 and send it to your closest Department of Veterans Affairs office. Once the VA receives your application they will arrange for a meeting with a counselor at no charge. You may have to pay your own transportation costs to take this meeting, and such counseling is available only within CONUS.
But don’t stop with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Your state government’s official site will have resources specifically for veterans and many of these include job placement and military experience translation services. You can also get assistance from a Veterans Service Organization such as the USO, DAV, Red Cross, etc.
Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News