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Transferrable Military Skills and Your Next Career.

Jan 15th, 2020
transferrable military skills

What are Transferrable Military Skills?

Transferrable military skills are those practical, reasoning, and theoretical skills you learn from the military that can be applied to other careers – such as finance, business, and entrepreneurship. As with all means of work, you develop skills over time. These skills are often transferrable i.e. they work for many different careers at the same time.

There is a general misconception that once discharged from the military, veterans find it difficult to establish a new career in the civil sector – or to successfully transition to a new career. Yet, the reality is that being in the military offers enormous opportunities to develop valuable personal and professional skills.

Among others, there are five core transferrable military skills:

  • Team player skills.
  • Discipline and leadership skills.
  • Problem-solving and decision-making skills.
  • Financial prudence and responsibility.
  • Communication skills.

Let’s go through each of these transferrable skills in turn.

Team Player Skills.

The ability to work effectively within a team is considered an essential skill for prospective employees.

Teambuilding is one of the most essential transferrable military skills you learn from your time on duty. Working in the military helps you develop this core skill; the ability to work with others toward a common, defined goal. People often do not get along for personal reasons. Some people simply clash.

Effective team players understand the need to put these personal differences to one side, instead focusing on the skills that each person brings to the table. In other words, it’s about being professional and productive – both of which are valuable skills for every major employer.

Working in the military allows those enlisted to hone those skills in a way that very few people experience in their ordinary working life.

Discipline and Leadership Skills.

The prospect of conflict in the workforce represents one of the key challenges for many companies.

Along with team player skills, working in the military also allows servicepeople to develop skills in leadership and discipline; the ability to take on a challenge and to create an effective, workable plan to help achieve that end result. This is a key skill that employers look for. Not just experts in their fields, but someone who has the potential to take the lead; to be disciplined in working through a project or defined goal. In that respect, leadership skills and team player skills go hand-in-hand.

Working in the military prepares you to handle tasks and obligations that require you to take on responsibility. That forced responsibility is what develops this key transferrable skill.

Problem Solving and Decision-Making Skills.

In the military, sometimes missions do not always go to plan. From there, things can spiral – often fast. That’s where problem-solving and decision-making skills come in.

This refers to the ability to quickly piece together the individual parts of a problem and to come to a workable and effective solution. The more you operate in the military, the better and more refined your problem-solving skills become. It’s essential to learn how to make smart, but pragmatic decisions.

It’s all about calculating risk, whilst being realistic about the risk at the same time.

What companies seek to find is not someone who claims to have good problem-solving skills, but someone who can demonstrate a history of situations they proved that skill. You need to be able to show to employers that you have the skill. That means drawing upon your personal experience in the military.

Financial Prudence.

Military personnel are tasked to take care of equipment that costs millions of dollars.

High-ranking officers and personnel are responsible for budgeting and finance management. These are effective transferrable skills, though these skills are often overlooked. They are valuable in almost all businesses.

Whilst you may not be responsible for financial decision-making at the lower ranks, you find that this responsibility grows as you move through the ranks.

If you have financial and budgetary experience from your time in the military, it’s important that you highlight this experience in your resume. It will add a lot to your standing.

Communication Skills.

Communication skills are a must-have to succeed in many careers and, after operating in the military, that is most certainly a skill you develop, hone, and even master.

Communication is often the key to succeed. Knowing what to communicate and how to communicate it gets the best out of your teammates. This is true whether you are operating on the battlefield, preparing a mission scope, or working in business. The principle remains the same – and it’s one of the most desired transferrable military skills you can develop.

Communication is also key to conflict resolution. The ability to deescalate a situation is considered a valuable skill. Knowing how to achieve this in often complex situations tells employers that you have a lot to offer the organization – particularly for future, higher position levels.

Final Thoughts.

Working in the armed forces creates opportunities to learn core transferrable military skills.

Here, we talked about the five core transferrable military skills you develop during your service:

  • Team player skills.
  • Discipline and leadership skills.
  • Problem-solving and decision-making skills.
  • Financial prudence and responsibility.
  • Communication skills.

By developing these core transferrable military skills, you make it easier to market yourself to prospective employers as a serious candidate; a person who has the ability to work effectively within an organization and who has the ability to adapt, grow, and most importantly, add value to that organization.