Two Different Employment Languages: Military and Civilian

Posted on
May 27, 2021
Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Camilo Fernan, Department of Defense

For many civilians, their only perceptions of military life are shaped through movies, video games, and news reports of combat zones. As a result, they may think that all veterans have only been trained in combat duties. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Virtually every occupation is represented within the military: construction, medicine, law, human resources, technology, public relations, logistics, nutrition—you name it. In addition, military training includes leadership, accountability, and management skills rarely taught in civilian higher education or entry-level employment. That said, confusing job titles and acronyms can mean little to civilian employers.

Veterans themselves have stated that matching their military occupational specialty (MOS) and specific skillsets to civilian job pursuits is a considerable hurdle. Veterans may also have unrealistic expectations regarding work barriers, opportunities, and pay. They may aim for mid-level supervisory positions while at the same time employers may consider their lack of civilian entry-level experience a deal breaker.

Veterans may also lack civilian licensing and credentialing despite having advanced training and significant on-the-job experience while in the military.  This creates further barriers and deters veterans from pursuing certain careers that they have the experience and skillsets for.

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