In recruiting reels, military service looks like three activities: 1) Jumping out of things. 2) Jumping into things. 3) Doing cool tech stuff that will surely lead to big money. If you are in the middle of a military transition, you might be wondering if all that jumping around led to the 21st-century tech job you were looking for when you were 18. In fact, it can.
The military can help you get a job in tech in at least eight ways.
1. Marked for Greatness
I would be sinning against military sociology if I did not point out one thing to you: You started out different. I know you do not quite believe this, but the minute you joined the military, you outed yourself as different from your civilian buds.
Even if you and your besties were the same age, race, weight, religion, gender and sexual orientation, in the same income bracket and from the same neighborhood, you were markedly different.
At that young age, you were the kind of person who firmly believed you could take a job and stick with it for the next four or five years when they could not decide what to eat for breakfast. Your military service was the path you would take to achieve future goals.
That kind of future thinking is adaptability and self-efficacy at work -- two things employers like. A lot.
2. Cool Transition Tools
Since you are naturally more adaptive than your civilian counterpart, you are probably thinking you could probably take on a job in tech -- if only you knew what that job was. That is why we set up our free transition master class for how to get the perfect job in tech for you on Thursday, Oct. 26, at 4 p.m. Eastern. Sign up today for Tech Jobs: What Do Those People Really Do?
I'll be talking with information technology (IT) experts from Western Governors University about how to know where your strengths fit best in tech, how to get the education you need to get the job you want, and how you can be sure you will be happy with that choice.
3. Your Rating or MOS or Job Experience
Do you remember clicking on the recruiter website to find out what job you would do in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Space Force or the Coast Guard? Or to find out about enlistment bonuses? Do you remember wanting to transform your life and become part of something bigger?
If you joined and got a job as a cyber warfare technician, computer/detection systems repairer, cyber electromagnetic warfare officer, a cyber network defender, a cyber operations specialist, a human intelligence collector, a cyberspace operations officer, a spectrum defense operator, a space systems operator, a human factors engineer or any of those other cool cyber, intelligence or nuclear-power jobs, there are civilian recruiters who are now looking for you for a tech job.
4. Early Riser
Success in tech is greatly aided when team members have a habit of showing up to work every day, too. Civilian employers struggle with employee absenteeism. The total cost of employee absences, unplanned and planned, can be more than twice the average employer's cost for health care. Knowing you have successfully taken part in a culture that requires your presence is a boon.
5. Systems-Thinking Guru
Tech jobs require a lot of what they call "systems thinking" -- the ability to use strategic, big-picture thinking to break down difficult problems into solvable pieces for many stakeholders in a complex organization.
In the military, you do that all the time. You break down problems into steps and execute them one at a time. That ability to finish things in order on time is a killer tech skill.
6. Inner Skeptic
I don't know what it is about military service, but when I coach transitioning military members, I am always struck by their natural skepticism. They don't believe everything just because it says so on a website or spreadsheet. They want proof.
This especially is a great trait in cyber. You might think of a job as a cyberanalyst, a cyber systems engineer or as a network and systems engineer.
7. Collaboration Is Thy Name
"In modern business, collaboration is next to godliness," said Sean Lannan in The Economist. Whether you are a coder working with a software team or a systems architect interfacing between the client and the development team, the ability to work civilly with many different kinds of people is essential.
In the military, this is called teamwork and leadership. These skills are hard for a lot of people who work in tech. Your ability and experience with collaboration is a selling point.
8. Internship and Educational Opportunities
One of the benefits of military service is that employers are really interested in hiring you later. See the reasons above. That is why they set up many opportunities to help new veterans land a job in tech.
Think of everything from internal veteran recruiters at tech companies to veteran service organizations, such as VetsinTech, focused on helping you land the tech job. Then there are SkillBridge internships, Hiring Our Heroes Corporate Fellowships, as well as Onward to Opportunity or Salesforce or Amazon opportunities. Think of accredited coding boot camps and IT programs for veterans. These outward invitations are a sign to you.
Start by signing up for our newest master class, Tech Jobs: What Do Those People Really Do? And check out our past master class, Tech Jobs Without a Tech Background, that you can watch now. It is an easy way to explore what really is available for veterans and whether you can transfer your skills to a whole new area of opportunity.
Jacey Eckhart is Military.com's transition master coach. She is a certified professional career coach and military sociologist who helps military members get their first civilian job by offering career-level Master Classes through our Veteran Employment Project and on her website, SeniorMilitaryTransition.com. Reach her at Jacey.Eckhart@Monster.com.
Find Your Next Job Fast
Transitioning military, veterans and spouses may be qualified for the job, but they are missing the secrets of civilian hiring. Find out everything you need to know with our free master class series, including our next class. You can view previous classes in our video library. Questions for Jacey? Visit our Facebook page.