As a service member, you’ve gained a plethora of hard skills on the job that make you an attractive candidate in the civilian job market. While you might score an interview with your technical know-how, it’s also important to note that many civilian workplaces are putting a greater emphasis on hiring candidates with demonstrated soft skills.
Soft skills, often used as a synonym for “people skills,” are the personal characteristics that affect your ability to effectively interact with others. Since your performance reviews tend to be full of technical jargon, it can be difficult to easily identify and draw out your transferable soft skills.
To give you a jump-start in recognizing your people skill assets, let’s tackle seven soft skills that any service member can draw from and accentuate in their career transition process.
Adaptability & Resilience
In the military, there’s no such thing as a routine day, and the constantly evolving nature of your work has prepared you to adapt to each situation as it comes. No matter how tough things get, you’ve learned what it takes to stay the course, navigate the difficult moments and recover (to turn around and do it all over again).
No matter what job you’ve held during your military career, you’ve had to make decisions about how to proceed with a task, project or assignment. Couple that ability with the often high-pressure environment of the military and you’re readily armed with capacity to weigh your options given the information you have to make the timely decisions.
Troubleshooting & Problem-Solving
Despite your best-laid plans, things come up and problems can (and often do) arise. From the office desk to the hangar to the battlefield, your military training has prepared you to quickly assess the situation and put a plan in place for taking decisive action.
Collaboration & Teamwork
From working within or between squadrons or units to teaming up with other military branches and government agencies, teamwork has always been at the very core of military work life. Thus, at every stage of your career you’ve put your collaboration skills to work toward achieving a common goal.
Your list of transferable skills doesn’t stop here. Depending on the specific nature of your work, you’ve gained many other in-demand soft skills to highlight such as public speaking, strategic planning and negotiation, just to name a few. If you’re having a hard time identifying additional soft skills, ask people you’ve worked with what they think are your best personal attributes in the workplace.
Your Challenge: Using the seven skills above to get you started, think of specific, achievement-based examples that demonstrate your mastery of them in your career to update your resume or prepare for an upcoming job interview.