If you’re one of the 200,000 veterans leaving military service in 2020 according to the Veterans Association, you’re probably wondering: what will I do now?
November is Military Family Appreciation Month and in honor of all the men, women and their family members who give so much to protect our country, we’ve outlined some great career options for veterans to consider pursuing as they resume civilian life. From healthcare and insurance to management consultancy and sales, below is an overview on careers that highlight the quick-thinking and teamwork traits and skills ofveterans.
Insurance might not seem like the most natural path for veterans, but there is plenty of aspect about a job in the insurance industry that makes the career path a perfect fit. The stability, challenges and growth opportunities offered are all very compelling for veterans.
The roles are varied – being ‘in insurance’ doesn’t mean that you’ve got to be an agent: from claims and marketing to human resources and underwriting, a career in insurance doesn’t equate to a lifetime in a cubicle.
The great news? Many insurance companies actively recruit veterans, citing vets’ commitment to structure, discipline, and adaptability as key features that are hard to find in other candidates.
Aside from what veterans offer their employers, the insurance industry is, at its core, about keeping people safe and protecting what matters most – just as a veteran does on behalf of his/her country. Many companies, such as HealthMarkets, make it their mission to provide competitive insurance options and a range of choices for consumers, ensuring they can find the protection they need at the right price and with the guidance of a licensed professional.
Another bonus with a role in the insurance industry is that there are opportunities throughout the country with so many different insurers, both large and small.
Consider a career in insurance if you work well in a highly structured environment and you’re passionate about keeping people safe.
Restoration is another great career path for veterans – especially vets who feel a great sense of pride in physically seeing that a job’s been well done. Why should veterans consider the restoration as a career choice?
- You’re helping people in a very tangible way. Most restoration jobs involve coming to a scene where a disaster has struck, whether it’s a residence or structure after a fire or flood or another catastrophe. By fixing the damage and educating the property owners about what they could have done differently, you are offering service and assistance when people need it most. For veterans who really thrived on the hands-on part of their military jobs, this makes a great fit.
- Restoration utilizes a veteran’s ability to think quickly under pressure. Imagine arriving at a site after a flood. You enter the building that’s covered in water and notice that something isn’t right. Stopping your team, you assess the situation and realize that the house is leaning over unnaturally – it’s not safe for anyone in these conditions. In just a few seconds, you’ve saved your team and used the skills that your military service provided.
In terms of training for a career in restoration services, many companies provide that. SERVPRO, for example, touts the importance of attitude, saying “if you are a team player, possess ‘A-level’ talent and are interested in taking ownership of your job responsibilities and future, [restoration] might be the right career choice for you.”
The actual skills for the career will vary, depending on if you decide you want to own and run your own restoration business or work for one. Regardless, the jobs are plentiful, always in need, and offer a hands-on way to restore lives after disaster strikes.
Consider a career in restoration if you like being in a hands-on environment and can think quickly on your feet.
Management consultancy is a well-trodden path for many veterans. It makes sense – veterans’ ability to quickly analyze a situation, motivate their team, drive straight to the heart of the problem, and use grace under pressure makes it a natural fit.
Management consultants are responsible for streamlining businesses, finding strategies that decrease company overhead, and making processes more efficient. Eric Hulbert, a business consultant and former pilot in the US Navy, shared his opinion on this well-trodden path in a LinkedIn article guide for veterans.
For Hulbert, it was easy to see why veterans wanted to become business consultants.
The salaries are generous; there’s certainly a level of prestige that cannot be ignored; and, enticing to so many veterans, you’ve got the real-world opportunity to solve difficult problems every single day, just like you’d do in the service. He does cite the difficulty of the job – the long hours and high-pressure environment justify the salary.
However, very few jobs mimic the on-the-ground problem solving required in the military, so it’s a fantastic option for a veteran with experience managing people looking for a challenge.
Consider a career in management consultancy if you love a challenge and aren’t afraid to work hard in a high-pressure environment.
IT is a fantastic career for veterans, especially because it’s expanding – according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs in information technology and computers is expected to grow up to 11 percent from 2019-2020 – much faster than the averages for other occupations. Salaries are generally competitive, and the best part is there are plenty of roles and opportunities to choose from, depending on your skillset. According to Business Insider, “popular career paths in the IT field among veterans include project management, systems engineering, cybersecurity, data analysis, and information security analysis.”
Consider a career in IT if you’re tech-savvy or tech-curious.
Sales aren’t usually the first thing that comes to mind when we think of careers for veterans. But it should be, as sales positions are unique jobs that allow veterans to draw from every aspect of their time in the service.
From making hard choices in stressful situations and working with a diverse team, sales roles are some of the best opportunities for veterans because:
- Sales allow vets to utilize problem-solving skills. In sales, it’s impossible to predict what will happen. The best salesmen (and managers) can improvise, just like a veteran in combat.
- Teamwork is the glue that keeps a good sales team together. In the military, teamwork is essential. Veterans that work in a sales team will excel because they know how to support their teammates.
- Sales require accountability. One of the first lessons that servicemen and servicewomen learn in the military is that they must accept full responsibility for themselves and their people. Sales are very similar – if you don’t make the sale, you don’t make the sale. Many veterans thrive in this radical accountability environment, which means that hitting their targets is a breeze.
Consider a career in sales if you’re a team player and a natural problem-solver.
The skills veterans bring to their post-military lives make them some of the most competitive and respected candidates out there. No matter what you choose, opportunities await!