University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) is proud to be a top-ranked military and veteran-trusted school. This Veteran’s Day, we’re highlighting the special skills and attributes veterans bring to the civilian job market.
Soft Skills Can Set Veterans Apart
When veterans enter the job market, they can have an advantage when it comes to experience and skillset, especially “soft skills.” These soft skills include attributes such as time management, communication skills, professionalism, self-motivation, and flexibility. While soft skills can be acquired with time, veterans already have many of these essential business skills mastered before they even begin their next career.
“One of the benefits of hiring veteran employees is that they are accustomed to completing rigorous training and tasks, and they exert leadership skills and problem-solving that many employers seek from day one,” says Darren Cox, senior director of employer relations at UMGC. “Many employers recruit from UMGC seeking these exact skills and choose our institution when looking for candidates that can be more readily available for skilled positions.”
While veterans can apply many of the skills they learned in the military to corresponding civilian careers, their professionalism can be applied virtually anywhere in the workplace.
“As a retired disabled veteran myself, we can get put in a box sometimes in regard to the kind of careers we pursue,” says Michael Pett, the head of military and veteran programs at Uber. “I thought I needed to be in a management job because that’s what I had done in the military. But what I really needed to do was take a step back and understand that the civilian landscape is different from the military and understand the new role I wanted before moving up to a higher position.”
Kennon Harrison, national director of university partnerships at Revature, which trains and places people in various technology careers, says the level of personal conduct veterans have makes them great candidates for any organization.
“Veterans exhibit a lot of confidence in their personal abilities as well as professionalism,” he says.
Security Clearances Can Help Veterans Land Jobs
In addition to these management skills, veterans also usually bring a higher level of clearance, which is essential to companies who hire employees who will work in cybersecurity or with other sensitive information and data.
“I found in my experience of hiring veterans that veterans are mission-focused,” says Bruce Williams, a talent acquisition recruiter at BAE Systems, which provides technology-led defense, aerospace, and security solutions and has an education alliance with UMGC. “Their military skillsets and security clearances align and intersect well with the scope of work at BAE Systems.”
Beyond Soft Skills and Security Clearances: Tips for Landing the Job
Even with great soft skills and security clearances, veterans still need to showcase their experience and value to potential employers. One great way to do that, according to Pett, is networking.
“The civilian community sometimes doesn’t understand what veterans bring to the table and that’s where the team comes in,” says Pett. “Find that internal connector and grab a coffee with them. Find out what military partners are working in that community and reach out.”
Another great way to do that is by earning civilian credentials, like a degree or certificate. UMGC helps veterans fast-track their degrees with college credit for their military experience and training and offers dedicated veterans advisors as well as lifetime career services.
“UMGC offers current students and alumni one-on-one career advising and access to career-related live interviews with recruiters,” says Cox. “UMGC also provides them with professional development tools such as VMock, which is an interview preparation tool embedded in UMGC’s career platform CareerQuest.”
In addition to credentials, advising, and career services, UMGC also provides many networking opportunities that benefit students and employers.
“Because of our strong alliance with UMGC, we are able to attend UMGC recruiting events, webinars, and veteran programs to connect, interview, hire, and build our pipeline with some of our nation’s best and brightest veterans,” says Williams. “It’s a win-win-win situation.”
Veterans can also research which organizations have established veteran recruiting programs. Uber has an internal mobility program for military partners to advance within the organization. Through the Military Veteran Program (MVP), Uber offers comprehensive onboarding tools and events to bring visibility to the veteran and military communities. UMGC also has alliances with Uber, Revature, and BAE Systems to provide students recruitment opportunities at these organizations. Revature works with both UMGC and the VA to provide more opportunities for veterans and to train employees in general technology for placement in tech-related careers.
Today and every day, we thank veterans for their service and achievements and offer our support as they work toward their next success.