Veterans gain a lot of valuable skills in the military that they can use in civilian careers, but what should you say on your resume to show the shared experience?
Victor Johnston asks that question a lot. He’s an Army veteran with 11 years of government experience and spends a lot of time coaching military veterans in business and in life. As a government-centric IT expert, teacher and business consultant, he knows a lot about how civilian and government organizations cross over.
Based on his military experience, and verified by friends currently serving in the military, Johnston shared four ways veterans bring valuable experience to technology departments and the skills the IT industry seeks out.
Rapidly Respond and Change Course
First and without hesitation: the ability to respond to rapidly changing requirements (RCRs).
“It’s last-minute notice all the time,” Johnston said. “You have to be agile, able to go from 0 to 100 in an instant, and then switch directions and do the same thing over and over again.”
IT departments need people who can hear and accept change instantly and react in the moment with a high-minded response.
“It’s one of the best assets military people bring to technology,” he said.
Effectively Manage Projects
Military vets know about project management. They develop work breakdown structures and pore over budgets, sponsors, sign offs and key performance indicators (KPIs) just like systems managers and IT security pros. Knowing how to quantify, qualify and show the impact of your work is a bonus in the tech workforce.
“You have to be able to plan things out in a quick and efficient manner. You have to coordinate, collaborate and communicate effectively,” Johnston said. “Even at the officer level, you’ve had extensive project management experience.”
People who initiate, manage and support projects turn to CompTIA Project+ to validate that experience. Military vets have it right there on their resumes.
Ability to Influence People
Veterans know how to mentor and coach their subordinates and sometimes have to influence people in authority from a position of no real power. That communication, counseling and training experience is like gold to IT managers, and it translates well to IT leadership roles.
“Being able to influence people becomes incredibly important in the civilian world,” said Johnston. He extends his own influence as vice chair of CompTIA’s Future Leaders Community and extended Johnston IT Consulting’s services to help groups like the Boy Scouts of America and the Wounded Warrior Project improve their STEM programs.
Strategically Work Toward Long-Term Goals
There’s one more way military members are well suited for IT, Johnston said, and it’s the kind of thing you learn when you get inside. Similar to the military, technology is for upward mobility and promotion, and veterans know how to calculate goals and plans really well.
“Soldiers and veterans have been specifically taught how to map out their career progression, their development plans,” he said. “They’re phenomenal at planning that out.”
ducation opportunities to propel IT pros forward. Want to be a cybersecurity analyst? Show people you’re serious with CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+). Or earn CompTIA A+ to show general computer competency.
Use tools like the CompTIA Certification Roadmap to map out a bunch of different career choices, and take the first step to building a career in IT.
Are you a veteran? See how CompTIA can help you get into IT.
Michelle Lange is a writer and designer living in Chicago.