I know you’ve heard it before — that the Military makes you SO VALUABLE in the private sector. The truth is, what the recruiter said isn’t false. Sure, the really cool (or really mundane) parts of what you learned in the military may not fully transition well into the civilian world (read: military drill, BRM, digging trenches, or watching the perimeter), but everything you EXPERIENCED in the military prepares everyone to be awesome Project Managers. If you’ve been in operations, you’ve already done Project Management. Here are the top 5 reasons why veterans make great project managers.
1. You’ve done it before: From leading a mission to an equipment overhaul, everything you do in the military is a project. Thinking, planning, performing, controlling, and closing are all crucial steps to project management. You savvy types will already recognize these as the steps in the MDMP process.
2. You value that feeling of mission completion: The mission always comes first. This kind of thinking is what really makes exceptional project managers. Being able to think in timelines, deadlines, project goals, and milestones all for the end result of project completion is at the core of what we do in the military. If the feeling of a job well done is something you loved in the military, you’ll love replicating that feeling as a Project Manager.
3. Project Management involves traveling, and veterans are already used to traveling! And as a certified PMP (Project Management Professional), you can expect to travel all over the world. After all, a project by definition is a temporary goal, so when you’re done with your project in the US, be prepared to jump to wherever they need you next. While some may see this as a negative, the fact that you’re probably well compensated and not staying in austere conditions (for the most part) makes this a great way to gain worldly experience in a much more comfortable way.
4. You'll be working in a team again. Projects are completed by people, and so all the rewards and challenges about working in a team is present in projects. Working well with others, delegating tasks to key personnel, being competitive, and being able to communicate are all essential characteristics of good operational thinkers, and thus great Project Managers.
5. A Warrior Ethos: Mission First, Never Accept Defeat, Never quit and Never leave a fallen comrade. These values that are at the core of all soldiers is also the biggest value to any company who wants to hire great Project Managers. It sets apart leaders and those who can step up when its tough, when deadlines loom, when people need a dressing down, and when mistakes are made and you take responsibility. These values forge focused teams and that is the ultimate goal of a project manager — someone who can bring focus to a team and get them to mission completion.
These five points will help you relay to hiring managers how exactly your military experience will enable you to fill a Project Management role exceptionally. If you'd like to gain more key tips on how to improve your resume and interviewing skills, download out free eBook below!