The first step for Military Leavers and Transitioning Service-members is also one of the hardest challenges. The same challenges happen to companies’ leadership when hiring.
According to the Census Bureau, less than 0.4% of the population is serving in the US Military. In the UK, it’s 0.29% of the population. When you analyze how many veterans are there in each country, it gets a little bleaker. Only 5% of the entire population are veterans in the UK, and in the US, it’s 7.6%.
That means that both countries have a large population that doesn’t know or understands what service-members do outside of what is presented in Hollywood or the Media, which has a significant impact on people’s common misunderstandings for transitioning service-members.
The first thing for transitioning service-members, also known as Military Leavers in the UK, is recognizing those statistics and reverse engineer their entire career to see what they have done and what they can do in the local community they are headed to.
How Veterans can Transition to the Workforce
The first step for veterans to successfully transition to civilian life is to avoid using military language and acronyms. Given the fact that 95% of the population never served, using military language is the same as speaking a language that only 5% of that population understands.
Think about what that means. Veteran’s vocabulary has to completely change. Words like commanded become supervise or directed instead. Rather than seeing each other as sailors, airmen, marines, or soldiers, they start looking at each other as co-workers, colleagues, individuals, personnel, or employees. Commander or Chief, as are leaders commonly referred to in the army, are referred to as Division Head, Director, or Senior Manager in the workforce. Regulations could be referred to as guidance, policy, or instructions, and reconnaissance is now to be called data collection, survey, or analysis.
Let’s start to reverse engineer your military occupation as an 11B or Infantryman. If I look at those alpha-numeric characters, it doesn’t say a lot. What about their rank? Master Sergeant or First Sergeant… now we are getting somewhere.
A Master Sergeant, or Warrant officer class 2, usually has 18-22 years in Service on average and has had career progression along the way with special duty assignments that taught technical skills to understand the state of the art equipment financial management expert. In the UK, their role is to focus on the training, welfare, and discipline of a company, squadron, or battery of up to 120 men. They’re the senior adviser to the Major in charge.
Military and Business: Finding the Similarities
Drill Sergeant: A drill sergeant is a symbol of excellence and an expert in all warrior tasks and battle drills. They are the epitome of the army as a profession. They are responsible for coaching, counseling, and mentoring hundreds, if not thousands, of civilians into combat-ready soldiers. Being a drill sergeant is one of the most demanding and difficult jobs in the army. It is also one of the most rewarding. Soldiers typically remember their drill sergeant throughout their lifetime.
Recruiter: A recruiter recruits qualified personnel for entry into the army following applicable regulations, supervises the recruiting process, and the recruiting support activities. This would the human resources department to every organization where people are at the heart of any organization.
EOA or Equal Opportunity Advisers (EOA): EOAs are non-commissioned officers promoting equality within the army. Maintaining equality in the workplace is essential to every industry post-service. In the Equal Opportunity Advisors Course, students learn how to identify discrimination cases and promote equality.
Instructor: A military school instructor prepares service members from all branches for a successful future military career. As an instructor, you will be a role model and an example of what it takes to be a disciplined and professional service member. There are different types of military school instructors, each having its own set of requirements. Yet, the processes tend to be the same: the subject matter expert teaching, developing, and training others to become experts themselves.
Observer, Coach, Trainers: They are subject matter experts on doctrine and in their specific war-fighting functions. They facilitate mission command training through 24-hour coverage for unit command groups, staff, and key leaders in their respective command posts, as well as staff/war-fighting function and integrating cells throughout the exercise that cover the complete scope of war-fighting operations including mission command, movement, and maneuver, fires, sustainment, protection, and intelligence. They play a critical role in providing feedback to the unit, informally, through everyday interactions, and, formally, through mid and final after-action reviews (AAR’s) plus the final exercise report (FER). These events give the training audience actions to consider for sustainment and improvement.
Battle Staff: A branch-immaterial functional course for non-commissioned officers selected for staff assignments, providing them with the tools necessary to learn specific staff duties and become familiar with the responsibilities of other staff sections.
It’s Not Just the Technical Skills, Emotional Intelligence Plays a Pivotal Role
The next part of translating military experience into the workforce is to determine the interpersonal skills they have had to present to execute missions coordinated with the Division Manager or Regional Manager and employees through functional areas of expertise such as personnel management, logistics, and operations.
One other benefit for global business and economies is veteran’s ability to leverage the realities of diversity that service members experience. This is what most organizations teach or try to prepare and encourage their staff to embrace. Service members highly benefit from working with a diverse team. This can be a great asset to companies that demonstrate a diversity mindset and a global perspective for them when they may want to be setting policies and practices. A veterans’ experiences in cultures and workplaces worldwide can help put those policies into action.
As they progressed up the ranks to a level of senior management, they also gain considerable responsibility for strategic planning and tactical application. They can also focus on their experience from leading large-size programs and supervising dozens of personnel while managing multi-million-dollar budgets. What about their ability as a public speaker and or as a briefer when selling and marketing a specific operation to convince management to revise and improve processes? Those are negotiation abilities, are they not?
Now that we can see what you have done, what about the education you have been through? Was there college involved? According to the Infantryman 11B Professional Development Model, veterans had to have pursued Continue Civilian Education (30 credit hours min prior to consideration for Master Sergeant). Over 8% of the US Military holds a bachelor’s degree. Did you take some form of credentialing certification along with civilian education?
The Army Career Tracker lists a few certifications like Associate Safety Professional (ASP) Certification, Certified Maintenance & Reliability Professionals (CMRP), Associate Safety Professional (ASP) Certification, and or a Certified Hazardous Materials Practitioner (CHMP) Certification. All these actions lead to a better translation of your entire career post service to an employer.
To conclude, you see how simply reflecting back on the entire career can be easily translated to employers once you fully see what you have done and how you can share those experiences with an organization.
My motto goes from battlefields to board rooms, how can we, as transitioning service-members, can help you!
This article has been reprinted with permission from Eric Horton’s LinkedIn page.