Top 7 Civilian Job Categories for Veterans
The transition to civilian life can be a mixture of excitement, trepidation, and even some uncertainty. Maybe you’ve been considering going to college, or perhaps you’re spending some time thinking about how your military skills match up to civilian jobs. Maybe you want to start your own business. The world off-Base promises unlimited opportunity but also many unknowns, especially if you’re a career servicemember who is relatively unfamiliar with the civilian careers and terminology. So where do you start?
Many sites and services offer specialized help in creating a resume that can help you reframe your military experience in terms that make you more attractive to potential employers. Happily, many employers appreciate the on-the-job training veterans have received, especially the hard work, dedication, and adherence to mission objectives that can translate directly into business success.
Once you have an idea of exactly what skills you’ve built thanks to your military occupational specialty (MOS), you can begin your civilian job search. Much of the terminology differs from that used in the armed forces, but with a little digging, you can find the roles that meet your skill set.
Below is a starting list of seven potential job categories for veterans breaking into the civilian workforce. Some require college degrees while others will accept military experience towards the position.
Logistics and Supply Chain
No one moves more stuff – people and equipment – than the U.S. military. If your MOS involved logistics, look for employment opportunities that leverage these skills, including companies that utilize a supply chain, or the movement of a company’s product from manufacturing to transportation to retail. Logisticians look for ways to make the process as efficient as possible, solving problems and optimizing each step. Search for: Supply Chain Manager, Logistician, Business Process Manager
Security and Law Enforcement
Law enforcement is one of the most common transition points since the basic activities – especially comfort with firearms – is so similar to basic military training. Jobs in law enforcement can be found in sheriff departments, state departments of public safety, and local police departments. That said, many larger corporations also employ “asset protection officers,” who monitor traffic and activity, conduct investigations when loss occurs, and create policies, procedures, and strategies to reduce loss and protect inventory. Search for: Deputy, Officer, Security, Law Enforcement.
Many large companies develop and maintain special relationships with the U.S. government, utilizing government contracts to provide a large portion of their revenue. As a veteran, your inside knowledge of working with the government and your security clearance can tip the scales in your favor over other applicants. From construction to manufacturing to aerospace, your familiarity with government entities and terminology, and your existing relationships, can be a real plus. Search for: Government programs manager
Project Management and Business Operations
If you spent your time completing mission-critical projects on-time and on-budget, your skills might align with what corporations call project management or business operations. Leadership skills, decision-making abilities, and adaptability are invaluable in these roles, and if you’ve been a CO or directed a team, it’s an added plus for personnel management in business. Project Mangers use these same skills to complete a wide range of projects from start to finish, including scheduling, coordinating with other teams, and reporting back on results. Search for: Project Manager, Business Operations Manager
Many MOS roles in combat, logistics, intelligence involve familiarity with technology systems and maintenance, and if you’ve worked with these types of computer systems, your skills could be very valuable to civilian companies. IT specialists solve problems and figure out how to grow the technology systems as the company or organization grows. Other IT specialists specialize in protecting the company’s computer systems themselves. Search for: IT Program Manager, IT Specialist
Pilots and Aviation Maintenance
It may be a no-brainer, but a great field of opportunity for military pilots is the commercial airline and private jet industries. Civilian pilots often enjoy schedules that keep them closer to home more often, with flights obviously less dangerous than combat missions. Also, if you managed aircraft maintenance or aviation construction in the military, you can do it for a private aircraft company, too. While there is an obvious huge commercial aviation industry, there are also opportunities in cargo, agriculture, and private charter flights. Aerospace companies in particular often manage large government programs, so look for those opportunities to leverage your service as well. Search for: Pilot, Flight Engineer, First Officer, Aviation Maintenance, Examiner, Government Program Manager
Veterans often have years of practice sorting through large volumes of information and data about enemy activity, creating plans to combat threats, analyzing threats, and creating networks. This can translate into services needed by agencies like the CIA, Departments of Defense, FBI, and Homeland Security. Other civilian companies look for these same skills, especially those working with government contracts. As a veteran, your security clearance makes you even more attractive to potential employers. Your ability to detect threats, report out, and develop plans can be a valuable resource in intelligence. Search for: Intelligence Analyst, Threat Analyst, Intelligence Researcher
We hope these categories of civilian terminology can give you a starting point as you begin your career search. Keep in mind that most civilians admire and respect military members; your ability to remain in the armed forces automatically conveys a sense of discipline, hard work, ability to collaborate with superiors and team members, and a respect for rules and processes. Remember that as you go into the hiring process, and trust that you will find the perfect fit for the years of experience you gained with your MOS.