The military gave you some incredible experiences and life skills that can’t be found anywhere else. Unfortunately, civilian employers don’t always value those skills as highly as might be deserved. Instead of hanging your head and letting the game play you, you need to play the game by identifying which skills and certifications for veterans like you to help you land that job interview.
This list brings together some of the most sought after abilities civilian employers are looking for. As a veteran, the first two are skills you probably already have. In fact they probably won’t come as a surprise, but you can’t afford not to include these hard-won skills on your resume.
2 Skills & 5 Certifications for Veterans that Civilian Employers Want Now
Skill 1 – Problem-Solving
Every company out there is faced with unique and challenging problems EVERY DAY! That’s what business is all about – identifying problems and solving them by offering products and services for the benefit of paying customers. So that’s what they’re looking for in you!
When faced with a challenge, do you shut down or hope someone else will solve it? Or do you rise up and meet the challenge with creativity and solid reasoning? Your military career gave you real-life experiences (some that everyday civilians will never get to have) and skills that set you up to see potential problems and solve them effectively.
Skill 2 – Teamwork
Next time you’re in an office building, check out some of the more upscale companies, specifically the layout of the office workspaces. A vast majority of companies trying to compete in today’s tech, engineering, and creative industries are adopting open atmosphere layouts. This facilitates and encourages a community of collaboration. Why? Because companies are desperate to cultivate teamwork skills in their employees. As you bring your teamwork skills from the military, you provide exactly what these companies are searching for.
But skills aren’t enough these days to sell an employer on your resume. They want to see training and certification that you know your stuff. The five certifications listed here are in high demand these days. It pays to have one of these on your resume.
Certification 1 – Human Resources Management
One of the most important roles in any business is Human Resources. HR provides the structure and backbone of any organization that wishes to find and retain great talent. Think about it. By serving the needs of the employees, whether through benefits selection and implementation, or by providing framework for on the job safety and compensation, a good HR department turns a job into a future.
Companies today are searching high and low for qualified and certified Human Resources Managers who know how to work for both the employee and the company with balance and effectiveness. As a veteran, look for a certification program that offers topics in compensation, performance management, recruiting, Affirmative Action, health & safety, and employee rights. A bonus is a certification that includes training on outsourcing as American companies continue to seek help from service providers in foreign markets.
Certification 2 – Digital Technology Integration
Do you bring technical skills from your time in the military? Are you trained in technical or electrical engineering? Telecommunications, construction, and media companies are looking for people with certifications in digital technology integration to help bring technology into homes, businesses, and more.
As the economy continues to improve, there is increasing demand in home and business upgrades and innovation. Offer your skills to companies searching for employees with certifications that include telecommunications installation, lighting and climate management, home security, and smart home technology solutions.
Certification 3 – Medical Office Administration
You got into the military for many reasons, but perhaps the most important was to serve your country by helping others. Veterans and military spouses alike are able to help others by seeking valuable certifications in the medical field. Hospitals, doctors, dental, and specialists are actively seeking people skilled in medical office administration, and a certificate moves a resume to the top of the pile.
Medical care is under lots of scrutiny these days as the insurance business continues to work out it’s woes. But you can stay above the fray by proving your abilities in insurance processing, medical billing, medical codes, patient records, and policies for services like Medicare & Medicaid. For spouses of active duty members, the medical field provides excellent mobility for the family that moves around a lot.
Certification 4 – Pharmacy Technician
Like medical office administration, pharmacy tech careers are excellent options for veterans and military spouses. There’s a pharmacy in every town you land in. And no matter what, they are looking for trained and ready certified pharmacy technicians.
Mercedes, one of the military spouses I helped get started on her Pharmacy Technician certification writes, “I’m now going from being a stay at home mom for four years to getting my first job in a pharmacy.” (Read more of her story HERE.)
“I’m now going from being a stay at home mom for four years to getting my first job in a pharmacy.”
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employment in the medical sector is expected to increase faster than others. So many amazing job opportunities await people certified in medical terminology, pharmacology, over-the-counter medications, drug classifications, and inventory management. Look for a certification that provides excellent training in pharmacy law and ethics to take your education up a notch for employers seeking the most trustworthy staffers.
Certification 5 – Project Management
Saving possibly the best for last, project management is one of the most ideal careers for military veterans. Your operational management experience is nearly a one-for-one transition from military to civilian careers. But you try to tell that to an employer without “Project Management” in your previous title and your resume might not get a second look.
By including a project management certification in your resume, companies will sit up and notice. Not all certifications for veterans are the same, so find one that gets you up to speed with the complete project life-cycle, scope management, work breakdown structure, and time management.
As a veteran or military spouse, when you pair your military experience with one of these excellent skills and certifications listed clearly on your resume, employers will take notice. And don’t be surprised if you get the call, the interview, and the job of your dreams.
Want a job with a company that appreciates your military background? Check out our list of the Best Companies for Veterans.