7 High-Demand Careers That Value Military Skills
Finding a job can be hard for newly returned veterans adapting to civilian life. Describing military skills on a civilian resume can be a challenge. However, the attributes gained through military service are valued in many high-demand jobs today. From logistics to security, many careers are particularly good for service members transitioning from active duty to the private sector. Here are seven in-demand fields, along with tips on how to qualify for them:
1. Government and Contractor Jobs
Many military jobs actually transfer so well into government positions that you might not even feel like you’ve left the military – except, of course, for the change in clothes. A large percentage of these jobs are found in the Washington, D.C. region; however, a good number of them are also located throughout the country and/or overseas as well. Your skills will especially be sought after if you have held a security clearance while you were on active duty. Be sure to note this on your résumé to show that you’re “clearable.” Additionally, if you held one within the previous two years and your re-evaluation period hasn’t passed, your clearance can be reactivated.
2. Construction Supervisor / Heavy Equipment Operator
Military experience fits nicely with the construction industry. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), this industry is growing at a faster-than-average rate. Construction companies are always looking for managerial and specialized labor positions and, if you’re already qualified, getting hired should be no problem. Or, if you have experience but need certification in an area, such as heavy equipment operation, you can get qualified. Also, be sure and check out the Helmets to Hardhats website for vet-specific advice and resources.
3. Personal Trainer / Fitness Instructor
Being fit is an important part of military culture, and former service members are ideal for working as a personal trainer or fitness instructor. They understand what’s involved in maintaining a good fitness program because they’ve had to practice it in their everyday lives in order to pass regular physical fitness tests. As a military member, you know how to stay focused and dedicated to staying in shape. Both are great attributes to bring to the private sector. To qualify, you need experience and certification. If you want to make your résumé even more attractive – and potentially more lucrative – why not get CPR certified while you’re at it?
The demand for technology-related jobs is growing at an incredibly fast rate. The BLS predicts a 28 percent growth through 2026, and currently there is a shortage for skilled talent in the field. Former service members usually are highly sought after for these jobs.
Cybersecurity and related jobs are particularly sensitive; people in these jobs need to possess specific attributes that employers actively seek, such as discretion, attention to detail, and a willingness to follow procedural requirements to the letter – qualities usually found in the military community. Even if your job in the military wasn’t tech-centric, you can get certified as you work your way up. There are even some programs for veterans to help you get started, free of cost if you qualify. If you have a college degree, you can advance even faster in this hot industry.
5. Customer Service Representative
Just about every industry needs good customer service representatives. Essentially, these employees are the face of an organization, providing a customer’s first experience with the company. Former service members are often valued in these jobs because they have the innate skills needed: strong listening and excellent communication abilities, and an ability to effectively take action and provide solutions (i.e. handle complaints). Since all branches of the U.S. military emphasize these skills, vets are usually a good fit. To qualify, you’ll need a high school diploma and on-the-job training, along with some basic computing skills (and advanced skills are a huge plus).
6. Logistics and Operations Manager
In the age of Amazon, businesses are trying to get merchandise to customers faster than ever. Efficiency is crucial – and, as you know, the military is all about getting things done. According to GI Jobs, operations managers top the list of in-demand positions for vets in 2018. Titles may include: business manager, facilities manager, general manager, operations director, production manager, or plant supervisor, to name a few. To qualify, you’ll need leadership experience and a bachelor’s degree.
7. Aircraft Technicians
Despite the problems that major U.S. airlines are facing, industry experts say aviation jobs are still in high demand because equipment is getting “bigger, faster and more high-tech.” In-demand positions include power plant mechanics, air frame mechanics, and avionics technicians. You’ll need to have, at a minimum, 1,900 hours of class time and hands-on training. If you have this in your military experience, great! You may be eligible to take and pass the necessary certification test. However, even if not, you can pursue training in this industry by taking classes at an FAA-certified school to prepare for the test.
While it might not seem true on the surface, there are numerous different ways that military experience translates into the civilian world. Other hot fields that veterans can pursue include law enforcement, private security, disaster planning and preparation, and security systems.
Bonus Career Option
The solar industry is a high-growth industry with a strong job outlook. job EcoWatch’s The Veteran’s Guide to Solar Jobs provides information on programs and businesses that offer support for veterans interested in starting a career in the solar industry.
How to Get Career Help
The trick is finding ways to demonstrate to employers just how your military skills, knowledge, and experience translate to these most in-demand positions. If you’re having difficulty or aren’t sure where to start after separating from the military, here are some other steps and resources to help you.
- Use an online skills translator to help you create a resume that civilian employers will understand.
- Check to see if you qualify for education benefits for veterans.
- Explore degree programs where you can receive credit for military service; many schools offer this to former military members.
- Visit the Veterans Employment Center and GI Jobs websites to help you find resources that can help.
Moving from military to civilian life does come with its challenges, but if you know how to take your skills, brand yourself properly, showcase your skills on your resume and in job interviews, and show employers what you can do, it makes the transition a lot easier. The good news is that many more companies are actively seeking veterans and, once you find your niche, you will be a sought-out candidate for some of the country’s most in-demand jobs.
Brad Miller is a Marine Corps veteran who served two combat deployments in Afghanistan. He comes from a military family with a long tradition of service. He and his brother created The Military Guide as a “straight shooters handbook” to provide helpful resources to service men and women at every stage of their military careers – from those first timid steps into the recruiter’s office to walking proudly off base with a DD-214 as a newly minted veteran and beyond.