Author: Paul Han

5 Reasons Why Veterans Make Great Project Managers

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 w
orking 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.

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!

From a Vet To a Vet: Your Best Civilian Job Options

Transitioning from the military to the civilian world is full of difficult challenges, but probably the most difficult aspect is the job hunt. How do you explain what you did to civilians when they’ll have no clue what any of what you did means or its value in the military?

Bottom line: Your service is one of the biggest differentiators and a primary advantage that a lot of companies highly value. Leadership, integrity, and the tenacity to get the job done are some of the prime examples of ‘soft skills’ that can be applied when you exit. And if you have technical training combined with these soft skills, you have the background necessary to excel in any workplace situation. Below are a few industry-agnostic skillsets and career opportunities to look into.

Here are some top civilian job options for veterans when you get out:

Operations Manager/Team Leader – You’ve been in operations from the day you got out of Basic Training. Whether it was a rifleman in a line company or as a mechanic fixing vehicles, the basics of timelines, priorities, and leading a team is core to the military experience you have. Applying it as an Ops Manager or Team Leader is one of the key career opportunities you can jump into. There are too many industries that have operations roles, but if you can think of the industry, chances are they will have an operation that you can jump into.

Project/Program Manager – For those of you that have worked at HHC or higher levels leading a staff or as a staff NCO, you may have what you need to be a Project Manager. Getting a Program Manager certification is pretty easy now that there are both free courses as well as programs offered online. For those in the Army, remember MDMP? This is Project Management. The key focus with Project Management is being able to break down the timeline and think strategically in understanding the key tasks and team members who will each handle different tasks. Keeping the team focused and on timelines is key to this as well as reports.

Sales Manager/Business Development Manager – Ever briefed the commander on a possible course of action and what’s needed to make things happen? Ever had to get the buy in of your team or leadership that this new way may improve the team or operations? Do you like to extend your influence outside of your command structure, building relationships for a more smoother running organization? Guess what: you’re already exercising everything you need to be a great sales or business development manager. The key here is understanding customers as well as building relationships for long term business relationships. If you’re a people pleaser, natural networker, and someone who enjoys high-intensity (as well as high payoff), consider a career in Sales.

Business Intelligence Operations – Intel Analyst? Or an S2? Maybe you’ve had to research local enemy operations in theater or are just really REALLY good at research and intel gathering. Business Intelligence is somewhat hand-in-hand with sales and business development. Being able to research competition, industry trends, as well as potential business partnerships for the company and industry you’re in are all valuable skills.

Technical Fields – Fixed a tank? Worked on a nuclear submarine? Underwater welding? These are all valuable skills that are highly specialized (Read HIGH PAYING) jobs that require a good amount of training. Thankfully, you’ve been given the technical skills by Uncle Sam to go into these jobs and excel in them with your leadership and work ethic that are prized by the industries that you apply to.

The first and most crucial step is translating your military job experience into something that your civilian counterparts and hiring managers can understand. Spend less time on your veteran resume and get a head start on your civilian transition NOW by subscribing to our blog to stay on top of the latest tips!