In January, before demobilizing back to civilian life, I was honored to speak to a group of over 200 Wounded Warriors in Fort Benning regarding transition into civilian life and what they should convey to prospective employers when trying to separate themselves from the mainly civilian pack when searching for a job. Luckily the week prior I was asked to give a presentation to Continental Airlines recruiting group about the advantage of hiring prior military.
Continental's John Whalin is ahead of most when it comes to understanding just what military brings to the hiring table, unfortunately most employers cannot relate to military experience unless they were former military themselves. So I started my time on the floor, in front of the wounded warriors, with Continental’s presentation and spoke to why they are GREAT candidates. I covered the following points:
In the military, when you propel through the ranks you are required to attend several leaderships schools and if you fail to attend or pass you are then stripped of rank, demoted. Leadership is not an option in the military because everyone is trained and expected to become a leader at an early age.
Understanding the Rules:
Military personnel are held to a much higher standard and are even governed by a more strict set of rules called the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).
The U.S. Army is one color, GREEN, and is the largest most diverse employer in the nation. In combat the color, gender, or religion of the individual to your left or right does not matter. What truly matters is the proficiency in their job. Are there cases of discrimination? Yes, but they are dealt with swiftly under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
A single soldier cannot watch their own 6, or back. Meaning a solitary soldier cannot efficiently complete the mission, which is why on day one of basic training every trainee is issued a battle buddy before being issued anything else. Soldiers are trained to travel and work in teams and if individualism is spotted, well lets just say it's frowned upon.
Educated and Tech Savvy:
Military personnel can attend college, when not deployed, and have Uncle Sam pick-up a big portion of the cost. When the soldier leaves the military it is common to have a degree or working toward one and will have ample opportunity to further their education with GI Bill and other funds which are readily available. The military also invests in and utilizes state-of-the-art technology and has close to a hundred technical positions. The Air Force and Navy are extremely technical and are extremely well trained in anti-cyber-terrorism and responsible for protecting America's cyber borders, so to speak.
Performance under pressure:
Imagine doing your job everyday and knowing there are lives at stake, furthermore those lives are depending on your performance. The pressure of performing in a prospective grave situation is merely a part of everyday military life.
Drug-Free and Healthy
Military personnel are regularly drug and physically tested. The military ensures their personnel are drug-free and physically ready to ensure combat effectiveness and their ability to fight and win on any battlefield. Military personnel are accustomed to urinalysis once a quarter, daily physical fitness training in addition to physical fitness testing which includes upper body, core and endurance events at least once a quarter. Imagine what our health insurance rates would be if every company could implement these types of programs.
The military does in-depth background checks and provides security clearances to personnel who come in contact with certain levels of information. These personnel are cleared and vetted well before hitting the civilian market.
One of the words best describing military personnel is "adaptability". To train for the war on terror soldiers are taught to be adaptable and think on their feet, unlike 20 years ago when soldiers were taught NOT to think. The battlefield has changed and so has the U.S. soldiers training which blends well into the civilian market.
Willing to relocate:
Military personnel are accustomed to moving once every 3 years or so, although this does not mean they are job jumpers. Uncle Sam has religiously rotated troops to provide them an innate ability to adapt and overcome in any situation or environment.
Everything listed above is merely just a handful of traits taught by the military, moreover what employers need desperately in any type of economic environment.