How Veteran Attributes Align with the Civilian Workforce

There is a constant demand for hiring and hiring smart. The people you select, trust, and invest in will produce for your business and take part in shaping its future. Regardless of how you add to your team, —full-time or contingent roles, or freelancers—the demand for the best and brightest talent means the competition is high. One way to win is to broaden your searches for talent. Bringing veterans into your business creates an environment that has been proven time and again to drive success.

Veterans bring an array of desirable skills with them, developed through their time in the military. The Business Case for Hiring a Veteran from the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University offers this list of the traits veterans bring to the workplace:

  • Entrepreneurial
  • Trusting of coworkers
  • Adept at skills transfer across contexts and tasks
  • Advanced technical training
  • Comfortable in shifting environments
  • Resilient
  • Advanced team-building skills
  • Strong organizational commitment
  • Diversity and cross-cultural experiences
  • Skill in diverse work settings

Intangible skills taught in the military mirror the attributes that are sought after in the talent market. Creating a bridge to understand what our veterans can offer will help prevent their resumes being overlooked due to military jargon, and provide a powerful and positive impact on your hiring decisions.

“Many employers who hire veterans do so at first because of a well-placed sense of patriotic duty. They simply want to assist and thank those who have served our country. HR and talent management professionals, however, quickly discover that hiring veterans is not only good for the country but good for their companies as well.”

Chris Hitch, Ph.D., Program Director, UNC Executive Development

Veterans often make great employees. They are individuals who have chosen to dedicate a portion of their lives to serving our nation. After military service, they are looking to start a new chapter of life by entering the civilian workforce and pursuing their dreams. Veterans come from a place where accomplishing their mission is highly important, and they have an understanding of all the hard work and teamwork that accomplishment comes with. Regardless of rank, there is a sense of unity and a synergy that veterans are accustomed to and these are skills that can help your business succeed.

So how does the civilian workforce integrate veterans and allow them to flourish within the company? How do we help that sense of mission to translate? As an employer, you can feel confident in your employee’s ability to work toward their goals, perform under pressure, and have a deep understanding of teamwork and an ability to stay focused. Veterans bring leadership qualities and adaptability to the table which all employees can learn from, and can learn the ins and outs of civilian employment while allowing their potential to prosper. They possess key skills such as the ability to work successfully across a disparate group of internal stakeholders, a unique comfort level with ownership of both proactive and reactive communication cycles, and experience working up and down the organizational chain of command. They support initiatives by integrating their commitment to service, and function well as team players. A veteran will have all of these skills, whether they served as an intelligence analyst, infantry enlisted, an officer, or an HR resource generalist. These traits can translate into a roles such as Project Manager, Program Manager, HR Generalist, Business Manager—any role that requires management of outcomes and working closely with people. Identifying how these attributes align and allowing veterans to use their skills in the civilian workforce is key. And with newly released tools like Google MOS, which provides information on which military positions translate into civilian roles, the transition should become more seamless.

This year, the leadership team at Projectline is making a greater effort to hire more veterans and help our clients see the value in their skills. In addition, we are laying plans to be able to assist veterans in this transition and work with them to assess how their attributes align from military to civilian life, how they can contribute, and what they bring to the table. We’ll use our experience with numerous candidates and clients to understand what everyone’s needs are and determine how to piece the puzzle together.

Want to learn more? Check out these related articles:

Ready to Serve: How and Why You Should Recruit Veterans

Complete List of Army Enlisted MOS (Military Occupational Specialties)

From the Battlefield to the Boardroom: Transferring Veterans’ Skills to the Civilian Labor Market