They Helped the US Win the Cold War. Now They're Helping Vets Find Jobs

An airman looks at a jobs websiste.
(U.S. Air Force/Justin Connaher)

The Rand Corporation brought us nuclear deterrence through mutually assured destruction, the building blocks of internet technology and breakthroughs in artificial intelligence. Now the think tank is working on something less explosive: figuring out how to help veterans get jobs in the civilian world.

Rand, regularly used by the Pentagon to study a broad variety of issues, has started to look at what veterans bring to civilian workplaces; whether a candidate's veteran status hurts their chances of getting a job; and what soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines learn during their service that private-sector employers may be lacking in their workplaces, according to the Rand Corporation’s Veteran Employment Toolkit.

They've even turned some of the findings from studies for veterans seeking employment and for civilians looking to hire vets into a couple of handy infographics

To see the full infographic, visit the Rand Corporation's website.


While the military's technical career fields tend to have straightforward civilian parallels, some military careers aren't so evenly translated. Non-technical skills and personal qualities are still valuable commodities in the modern workplace. Rand not only created valuable tools for veterans seeking jobs, it also created a useful toolkit for employers who are considering hiring veterans to fill vacancies. The idea is for employers and vets, particularly those in combat arms fields, to use these tools to sift through opportunities, enhance resumes and communicate how military-gained experience translates to the civilian world.

Related: Check out the skills translator

Are you a Marine who went through the Corps' sergeants' course? Then you're a mid-level professional who picked up critical decision-making skills as well as oral and written communication skills.

Maybe you just finished your four years in the Army and want to get out ASAP. That's OK, because Army basic training gave you qualities employers are looking for in entry-level candidates. These are things like close attention to detail and being a reliable member of a team. Rand found 19 intangible skills that are just as important to career success as anything else, derived from military training and formal career development courses.

To see this full infographic, visit the Rand Corporation website.

While the study listed these 19 areas, the list is by no means meant to be comprehensive. Although the effort was designed to help combat arms troops advance their post-military careers, there is no reason why the skills listed can't be used for any other military specialty or occupation. The most important takeaway is for the veteran to determine if he or she has actually mastered the skills listed and feels comfortable putting them on a CV.

You can't be a grunt forever, after all. It's time to get a jump on that resume.

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