Are you a veteran looking to make the jump to a new corporate career path? Gartner is your answer! Justin Gibens, a U.S. Army veteran and current Army Reservist served as a Staff Sergeant for over ten years. Justin joined Gartner just over two months ago and is currently working as a Research Coordinator. Below, he shares how he was able to transition from the military into the corporate world and what skills he was able to leverage in his new role.
Many skills learned throughout your military career are often seen in corporate America embodied in mission and vision statements. For this veteran, teamwork, communication and leadership were probably the most valuable skills learned. From the first day of boot camp until the day you separate from the military, these skills are present.
Most military occupational specialties are extremely specialized and very difficult to translate into civilian job descriptions. There are not many companies that advertise for tankers or Blackhawk crew chiefs. You have to dig deep in some cases to pull out skills that corporate America relates to or recognizes.
Teamwork is a skill that every military member can talk about. Teamwork is the most important skill you learn while in boot camp and is used throughout your career, as you will always be a member of a team while in the military. Many companies send their employees to third-party companies to learn how to work in teams. This is a skill that every military member should talk about in an interview, as they have received some of the best team training in the world. Ask yourself questions and have answers ready to talk about for an interview. What part did you have in the team? How did you communicate in your team? How did you accomplish tasks in your team? How did you resolve issues in your team? Etc.?
Communication is another one of those skills that is stressed from day one of boot camp. The drill instructors made you speak up and be confident in your answers even if they were wrong. You were taught how to address levels of leadership, peers and subordinates. Be confident in your communication and give examples of how you communicated with your peers or leadership. Once again ask yourself questions and have answers you can talk about. Was your communication understood, and how effective was it? Always be confident as if you were briefing your OIC.
Leadership is a skill that the military takes very seriously. If you want to get promoted you must go through different levels of leadership training. This training in some cases can be days to months long. Undoubtedly, if you are in the military longer than a day, you will be put in charge of something. What did you do as a leader? How many people were you in charge of? What kinds of personnel issues did you have to face as a leader, and how did you resolve those issues? These are most likely the kinds of questions you should be able to answer.
My personal advice for transitioning military members would be to focus on the positions you filled instead of on the MOS you held. The technical training is really only important if it directly pertains to the position you are applying for (i.e., medic applying for an EMT position) Focus on the positions you held with leadership, teamwork or communication roles. Think about the position you are applying for and figure out how some of these core skills that you learn in the military are applied to that position.
Are you a veteran considering a new career path? Search for available positions here.