If you are mid-transition, you probably have been told to hone your resume for the job you want. Concerned about relating your military skills to the commercial world? No worries; help is on the way!
Here are three great career fields for your career after the military. We have also provided suggestions to get you started down that track.
1. Logistics / Supply Chain Management – It is not just for the loggies anymore! The outlook through 2025 indicates 21% growth for the logistics industry, which is far better than the national outlook average of 11%.
How many inventories have you been involved with? Have you worked in the NBC or arms room? You know how to order supplies, stock, and issue repair parts, clothing, and gear utilizing the supply system. You have been responsible for proper transaction follow-up and receipt procedures, how to enhance warehouse layout and storage, and the proper operation of the Government Purchase Card Program. You have driven countless miles; performed duties associated with hazardous material control and management and maintained inventory databases for material stocked in warehouses and storerooms.
You may not have realized it, but you have already received expert training from the military for the career field of commercial logistics. Your leadership, planning skills, and adaptability enable you to successfully transition into this great career field as a logistics manager. So how do you get started?
First, your skillset needs to be translated and repackaged so that hiring managers can quickly understand who you are. Second, you may need to get a certification, but not necessarily a four-year degree. A minimum of a High School (HS) Diploma or Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is required. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM), Institute of Certified Professional Managers (ICPM), Institute of Hazardous Materials Management (IHMM), Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP), and Mail Systems Management Association all provide logistics certifications for Veterans interested in getting ahead in the commercial supply career field.
If you decide to take a deeper dive into commercial logistics, read “The Transitioning Military Logistician,” which is part of the “Transitioning Military Series” available on Amazon and at AAFES.
2. Project Management -You may be unaware, but you already are a Project Manager! If you enjoy planning, scheduling, and executing operations, your future career path could be project management. Your leadership and planning skills and your adaptability, ingrained during your military service, will enable you to successfully transition into project management. Action officer, training officer, operations planner, commander, and platoon sergeant are all military terms that equate to project manager in the commercial world. Best of all, project management spans all industries.
Why else should you consider project management? Project management pays well, provides for a definitive career ladder, and has a very positive future. Nearly 12 million, project management-related jobs will be added globally by 2022. Further, the average salary in the U.S. for project managers with 5+ years’ experience is nearly $100,000. You can expect a 16% bump with the coveted Project Management Professional (PMP)® Certification.
The Project Management Institute (PMI)® is the certifying body for the PMP®. It is a great organization to belong to during your transition and certification process. You can enhance your network with project managers in the commercial industry while attending monthly meetings and learning about the career field. Further, many local chapters have a PMI Military Liaison that can assist you with your certification process and link you to mentors.
You do not need a degree to be a project manager, but you may need experience and certification. If you lack experience, get certified as a Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)®. The PMP® is the major project management certification but requires demonstrated experience, skill, and performance in leading and directing projects. An excellent resource for learning more about this exciting career field is “The Transitioning Military Project Manager” part of the “The Transitioning Military Series”.
3. Information Technology (IT) - The outlook for the IT career field is very positive. The IT industry continues to enjoy unfettered growth, as the IT career field will grow 13% over the next 4 years. Glassdoor states the national average for IT salaries is currently over $69,080 per year. Computers and information systems managers should expect a 15% growth through 2022, with a median salary over $120,000 per year.
Your IT skills from the military are transportable and desirable! There is an increasing demand for skilled IT professionals; enabling you to launch into a lucrative career. You may start out as a technical support technician, i.e. Helpdesk, but as you develop, you may end up as the CIO, Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), or Chief Operations Officer (COO). Another lucrative path is cybersecurity, which is needed for all functions and jobs within IT. Either direction, you will be heavily rewarded for years to come.
An additional way to gain a more in-depth understanding of the IT career field is by checking out online training sites like Cybrary or simply searching for videos on YouTube for information technology, technical support, troubleshooting, cybersecurity, etc. You can also read “The Transitioning Military Information Technology Professional” or “The Transitioning Military Cybersecurity Professional”, which are both components of the “Transitioning Military Series,” both available at AAFES and on Amazon.
~ Author Jay Hicks
If you're interested in developing additional skills, career resources, certifications, or transitioning into a new career, the Apex Veteran Redeployment Initiative offers numerous resources.