Military and Civilian Experience, All in One

There are over 11 million former military personnel in the active civilian workforce today (according to Besides the nearly 200,000 who are transitioning out of the military each year, there is a huge pool of veterans already in the workforce and may be interested in changing jobs. What do you get when you hire someone who has been out of the military for a few years? Well, really you get the best of both worlds. From the military you receive an employee who has an outstanding work ethic, knows the value of a job, takes responsibility seriously, and possesses many of the character and leadership qualities much needed in today’s workforce. In addition, because they have been in the corporate world for a while, they will have gone through and become quite comfortable with the civilian life differences. There is a markedly different culture in the civilian business world compared to the military. So that transition does take a little time and adjustment. By tapping this group of veterans, companies are also more apt to hire someone who may not need as much training. Many companies have had success in hiring military applicants since it has been proven repeatedly that they tend to pass at a higher success rate than non-military applicants as a whole. It also helps when they have already been trained on similar equipment used in the military or at other corporations. In addition to technical knowledge, leaders from the military who have some experience in the civilian world as a manager or supervisor will be savvier to the corporate culture of business operations vs. a “military culture” only. Since businesses are designed to be “for-profit” ventures, experience adhering to a budget is indeed valuable. While so many service men and women will tell you how they optimized efficiencies (i.e. how they did more with less), actual hands-on experience with the “bottom line” is desired. Combining ingenuity with practicality is a valuable experience that will serve both the organization and applicant well. Some will say they will only hire those who have civilian experience, because the military has a poor leadership style, however that is a wrong assumption. Over the last year and a half, I have written much on how the military leads its personnel. In a nutshell, leaders must lead by engendering the respect of their followers. Sure, there are ranks and levels of command which have to be followed, and must be obeyed. But that does not preclude the due respect that should be given to those who follow. If not conveyed, then a leader should not expect high morale. People are people and respond in similar ways ? whether inside or outside the military structure. Bottom line ? inflexible, command-and-control stereotypes are not what the military trains nor promotes. Given that, is it any wonder that former military make great managers? With their prior experience in the military coupled with an adjustment to civilian operations under their belt, managing a profitable business becomes second nature. You’ve also heard me talk about the free relocation benefits that transitioning military receive after being honorably discharged. This benefit is allowed one time, and if not used immediately, may be extended up to one year after discharge. While someone who has been out of the service for a while may have already taken advantage of this privilege, I can surely say that their breadth and depth of knowledge and experience (technically, managerially) will far outweigh any free move benefits. That kind of experience always translates to the bottom line as former military personnel perform effectively for your corporation. Hiring former military is an all-in-one package that provides the skills and experience that all companies desire of their new hires. What more can you ask for than a ready-made employee who understands the business world in which we live today! <*SPONSORMESSAGE*>

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Bill Gaul ( is President and CEO of The Destiny Group, an Internet-based recruiting tool that utilizes the latest patent-pending technology (including audio/visual) for organizations to use to source men and women departing the military services. Endorsed by all of the U.S. Service Academy Alumni Associations, and three times selected as one of the "50 BEST" by CareerXRoads, this online system is the easiest and lowest cost method to reach transitioning military worldwide, without a per-head fee.

Bill's articles are Copyright 2001, The Destiny Group.


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