The crux for a few of us, especially those who considered joining the military right out of high school, was “college or military”? Obvious perks with the first option, but veiled, slightly less obvious benefits of the military service as the second. I can’t criticize college, of course-this isn’t an anti-college site-but during my own military to civilian transition, a few marked differences between myself and my college-only, or no college colleagues surfaced. When it came to finding post-military employment, I started making a few more connections.

Maybe I’ve just had the good fortune to come across nothing but military friendly employers since leaving the service, but all of my post-military jobs have come relatively easily. Not to say that I’ve worked exclusively in my old field-there’s not much need for electronic warfare technicians outside of the military-but definitely employment that pays the bills well enough while I finally reconcile my military background to a degree procured, no surprise, from a military friendly school.

When applying for post-military jobs, I found that many employers like veterans, and the reasons are outlined below well enough. As a qualifier, you know how many of our homeless are military veterans? A lot of them. The economy isn’t exactly bursting with veteran employment opportunities, but these traits, though it may not convert from military to civilian very well every time, are traits that employers look for.

If nothing else, if you’re having a hard time coming up with a logical argument to justify joining the armed forces, this entire article could act as a pretty profound point in and of itself. It’s common to encounter resistance from friends, family, and coworkers. However, if you indicate that you’re thinking long term, that resistance can come tumbling down. This list definitely applies to the long term, as the bulk of these skills and traits are developed over the course of at least one service obligation. Many of them aren’t even mentioned while you’re in active duty, but simply work their way into your day to day out of necessity and without any conscious effort on your part.

Joining the military Ukranian Army

Really, though, if your recruiter tells you this is what it’s like, then you need to find a new recruiter.


1) Military People Learn More Quickly

Some more quickly than others, military personnel have the capacity to absorb information more quickly and efficiently than others. Unlike many academic settings, the training and education timeframes are compressed. Colleges tend to stretch these out, since they make more money the longer they keep you there. Military education and training facilities try to get people in and out as efficiently as possible.

This hyperactive turnover forces the average GI to develop the ability to take in information rapidly, or run the risk of forfeiting a military job, duty station, or security clearance. As a civilian, this is also good for employers. Training employees costs money. Retraining costs more money. Ergo, the less training the employer has to pay for, the better.


2) Teamwork

One of most primitive, integral aspects ingrained from the time you join the military to the time you’re separated is the requirement that you be able to function as a part of a cohesive team. This is drilled into recruits in boot camp, but is touched on from time to time after basic. The whole point of marching, chanting and singing, collective training is not the elimination of the individual’s “identity” (that argument is just stupid) but to establish or reinforce the group’s collective mentality.

While it’s important for people to establish their own sense of identity, it’s not something to be done while working in the military, at least, not unless it’s on the individual’s time. In the military, it can be a terrible thing if one person steps out of line-namely in combat. In the business world, if one person steps out of line, refuses to work with the team, breaks the rules, etc then it often costs the company money, and eventually will cost the unruly person his job. When seeking out employees, HR managers read “military experience” and can often expect the applicant to be able to work well within a team.

3) Functionality Under Stress

College is a hell of a great time. For that reason, it’s rare that people come out of the college experience any better at handling stress than when they went in. Sure, there are deadlines, performance pressures, and student loan stress to factor in. But the frequency and intensity of that stress are almost laughable compared to that of what the average military person learns to cope with. In addition to performance deadlines, deployments, balancing a home life, and insanely long hours, military people learn to cope with the stress of constant exposure to the same people for long stretches at a time, unfavorable working conditions, unfavorable politics, and my favorite-the stress of handling it all with a sense of dignity.

Personally, as a civilian it was actually entertaining first seeing my civilian colleagues get stressed at what I identified as the most petty, negligible things. Naturally, if you actually come out and say something like that you just come off sounding like a self righteous ass, as I found out. I genuinely didn’t understand what the big deal, whatever it happened to be. Ultimately, many military friendly employers understand that prior military applicants will be able to handle deadlines and stress within the workplace without freezing up or cracking.


4) Attention to Detail

Although this may as well be taught in college, it’s definitely something emphasized while in the military to an almost nauseating extent. The military mentality, whether you agree with it or not, is “if we focus on the details, the major issues will work themselves out”. I always got my ass chewed for debating this, and I really shouldn’t have debated it. Not that I admit to being wrong, I just maintain (and still do) that if we focus on the big things, then the little things work themselves out, and if they don’t they’re still little things.

Regardless of my own stance, whether you agree or not, you end up focusing on the details. Even as a pain in the ass sailor who insisted we ignore the little things, I still ended up detail oriented. In the civilian world, employees who are capable of focusing on the details not only do clean, thorough work, but also save the company money in the long run. This is a trait that employers tend to love because it frees them up to focus on the big picture.


5) Punctuality

Every entrepreneur or manager I’ve ever spoken with has complained about this to me as being their largest pet peeve. For whatever reason, people have difficulty getting to where they need to be on time even to the extent that it gets them fired. It happens sometimes, of course, but employers hate it. To them, you’re ‘on their time’ and every minute you’re not where you’re supposed to be, they see that as dollars being spent for nothing in return.

Obviously, the stakes of tardiness in the military are high. Most of the time, it results in some kind of pow wow where you’re saying “yes, Chief…no, Chief… I apologize for being a shitbag, Chief” or something along those lines. Eventually, most people within the military, except the tougher cases, work this way out of their systems. Employers know this, and make decisions accordingly.


Oh college.

I’m not picking on college-it’s ‘very important’, as most people seem to believe. But unfortunately, over the years it seems like what is being taught in a lot of colleges is highly overrated, insanely expensive, top-shelf BS. I don’t know that there are many people left that actually believe the lie that college prepares you for working in the ‘real world’ by providing valuable job skills (that’s what job training does). But many do enroll understanding a degree is necessary to at least land a ‘decent’ job. By decent, I of course mean a job that requires a college degree.

To the military’s credit, the elements mentioned above (except maybe the first one) have little to do with intellect or academic ability, and much more to do with character and things that can be learned, but are incredibly hard to teach. In my opinion, most people coming out the military (though maybe rough around the edges) enter the civilian world with a refined understanding of what they have to offer, even if they don’t happen to be the smartest person in the room.

Join our newsletter received by other visitors who are preparing for their military career!
BJtM hates spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.