AUGUST 18, 2021 – It is a well-known fact that some groups of veterans, for a variety of reasons, do better than others. Whether because they start their reentry into civilian life during booming economies with plenty of jobs or because they leave the military with in-demand skills that are in high demand in the civilian economy, some vets have it easier than others. With that said, however, there are fundamental skills that should be considered vital to post-service economic success regardless of the external conditions you find yourself in. Below are 4 post-military skills that all vets should work on.
One of the commonly cited issues that many vets have while transitioning into the civilian workforce is independent decision making. The military works, out of necessity, on a chain of command. What this means is that veterans can find the self-direction of office life, and particularly in the new remote work setting where employees are essentially left to their own devices, intimidating and frustrating. Vets can work on their decisiveness by reminding themselves to stop overanalyzing, finding mentors who can impart wisdom, starting off by training themselves to make smaller decisions and make goal-oriented decisions.
“Digital skills” is a broad term and concept, but generally speaking, in the work context, these are skills that enable you to use the wide range of digital communication, task-management and collaboration tools that are involved in modern work. Working on your ability to use Gmail and all of its features, your familiarity with the Microsoft Office Suite of programs, how to set up commonly used virtual communication software, and basic data handling and cybersecurity skills are all important.
Knowing how to write a resume is a skill that overlaps with your general written communication abilities but also involves an understanding of resume writing trends. The only way to develop this skill is to read up on it. There is a bottomless well of information out there to consult, covering everything from modern resume structure and length to how to go about incorporating visual material into a resume and what words and phrases to avoid using.
Networking is another one of the must-have skills in the modern labor market because so many jobs are found through professional contacts, rather than the big job boards or cold-emailing employers. This means creating a LinkedIn profile (if you don’t already have one), joining the industry Facebook and Reddit groups in which professionals in the industries you are interested in targeting congregate, and knowing how to approach people at networking events–online or in-person.
The number of skills you will leave the military with is already considerable, and many have practical applications in this labor market that will be major assets. The skills touched on above may be ones that you have already started to work on or had opportunities to hone during your service, but they are also undoubtedly ones that should be tended to once you reenter civilian life and start looking for work.