How to Identify Strengths and Challenges from Military Experience

No matter the organization, any job is going to give you the knowledge and skills that will be of some value to future employers. The difficulty that many service members face is determining how to identify those skills and translate them to civilian equivalents. Moreover, because the military uses such a particular set of language, it’s key that you unlearn the language so that civilian employers are able to understand you.

Your military service has given you training and work experience useful to many employers. Your task is to consider your time in service and find a way to use this information to your best advantage. Following is a list of some strengths you probably have used in your military service. As you read the list, make notes about your own experiences. These can serve as stepping stones for crafting a resume that perfectly highlights your diverse set of skills. You’re skilled in working under pressure and meeting deadlines because in the service, you have to do the job right the first time. This attitude is highly sought after in the civilian sector.

Leadership training — The military trains people to accept responsibility and give direction. You may have had responsibility for other people and their activities. You are trained to lead by setting an example and by giving directions.

Team Environment – Understanding that everything you do affects someone else, you’re well equipped to be in positions of leadership and management because you have experience analyzing situations and options and making decisions. Even better, you’ve worked in a diverse group, making you primed for working in just about any environment.

Conforming to rules and structure – Rules and structure is a requirement for any organization, not just the military. During your time in service, you’ve learned to follow rules and this can be a valuable asset to companies who need their employees to fit into the culture of the workplace.

Once you’re clear on the skills that you have, analyze these skills. People are hired based on their qualifications – a mix of the education, experience, training, knowledge, and abilities. Assessing your skills will help you determine your strongest skills, the skills you most enjoy using and the jobs you might enjoy doing and which ones you’ll do well. Remember that all job skills are transferrable. When you look at the list of skills that you’ve cultivated in the military, don’t just consider the job titles that you held, but the things you did at each installation. Compare the skills you have with the skills you need for the job you want. This will help you understand how well you qualify for a position.

ANALYZE WORK-RELATED VALUES Your work-related values influence how you feel about your job. You need to know your values as you begin to look for a job. To be satisfied with your work, you should choose a job that matches your work values as closely as possible.

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