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    How to Sell Your Military Leadership and Skills to Employers

    As a veteran, how often have you heard an employer say, “You don’t have the experience we are looking for in this position?” Or, “Have you worked in this industry for at least 3-5 years?” And, “Do you have a credential or certification to validate your skills?”

    It is all too often that a veteran is confronted with challenges of articulating and translating their knowledge, skills and abilities to the civilian job market. However, if you focus on what you acquired in the military and focus on core key attributes, you can make your experience work to your advantage.

    Educate Employers

    When applying for a job, throw out the military jargon and focus on the numerous attributes that employers value the most, such as:

    • Leadership
    • Reliability
    • Respect
    • Team player
    • Mission-driven
    • Integrity

    These attributes are valuable to any employer that is looking for exceptional employees. Multiple studies have found that military veterans enhance organizational performance and provide a competitive edge because of their advanced technical training and cross-cultural experience. Research has validated that veterans are exposed to high technology, which gives them the ability to link technology-based solutions to organizational challenges.

    Experience

    Many veterans fall short on education and civilian experience. Employers may also see military experience as being less valuable than a degree. They fail to see that the most recent college graduates lack the business acumen or experience to impact an organization once hired in a short amount of time. Use this as a selling point, and explain to an employer how you’ve had success doing things like managing large projects and budgets, training personnel and demonstrating discipline to meet strenuous deadlines.

    Value of Military vs. College Experience

    For her article “Bachelor’s Degrees vs. Military Experience,” Lisa Rosser collected employers’ responses to the questions, ‘Why do employers view one as less valuable?’ and ‘Why do your positions require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree?’

    You can view the results below.  The counter arguments provided by Lisa are brilliant ways for veterans to articulate their value and experiences in a résumé or interview.

    Lisa Rossen's chart of responses to common misconceptions about military skills

    Ultimately, do your research when looking to apply for a position, and outline your value. If you need assistance with articulating your military skills, there are resources that can help you to get you started. You can contact your local Goodwill, or try Military.com, VetJobs.com, Vets List and O*NET. This will put you at a competitive edge at landing a job.

    Get career advice and share your experience as a military veteran with the unique community of job seekers, career advancers and virtual career mentors on GoodProspects.

    Your comment will be held for moderation until approved. For questions about Goodwill programs and services, please use our locator and contact your nearest Goodwill headquarters.

    • Carlos Benitez
      December 11th, 2014 at 1:18 pm

      As a Goodwill Veterans Job Developer, I advise my clients to promote the fact that they have a competitive advantage because in the time they served in the military they have more proven experience than others would ever have accomplished in a lifetime. Veterans are mission-driven and get the job done!

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