Top Jobs that Capitalize on Vets’ Training, Skills

By SHRM Online staff Feb 10, 2014
Administrative services manager, construction program manager and emergency medical technician are among the top civilian jobs in 2014 that match the skills military veterans acquired during their years of service, according to, a job-search portal for job openings across North America.

“Enlisted personnel leave the various branches of the military with training as diverse as graduates of a university,” said Tony Lee, publisher at, in a Feb. 4, 2014, news release. “Finding the right type of job is key, especially since veteran hiring will get a boost from the Final Rule, an addendum to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which mandates federally contracted employers strive to hire 7 percent of their workforce from a pool of candidates with disabilities, specifically veterans.”

Annual salaries for many of these jobs aren’t bad, either. Administrative services managers can earn an average median salary of $81,080. Construction program managers—many of whom are hired from the U.S. Corps of Engineers—can garner, on average, $82,790, according to

Emergency medical technicians make an average annual median salary of $31, 020, reports Military medics have extensive experience giving care in high-pressure situations, according to a February 2013 reportprepared by the National Economic Council and the President’s Council of Economic Advisers.

Among the other positions and salaries the job site highlighted were:

  • Heavy and tractor-trailer driver ($38,200).
  • Industrial engineering technician ($50,890).
  • Industrial production manager ($89,910).
  • Paralegal and legal assistant ($46,990).
  • Software engineer ($85,430).
  • Telecommunications equipment installer and repairer ($54,530).
  • Training and development manager ($95,400).

But though veterans have skills that can apply to the civilian world, it can be a challenge for employers to “fully comprehend how [a veteran’s] real-life experiences translate into value within a business organization,” noted Ritch K. Eich, Ph.D., author of Leadership Requires Extra Innings: Lessons on Leading from a Life in the Trenches (Eich Associated, 2013).

“Young Marines and soldiers, in order to achieve their missions, have to multitask by assuming such diverse leadership roles as distributing food, leading patrols, negotiating among feuding neighbors and engaging in major firefights,” he said in a Feb. 3 news release.

He offered employers the following tips for recognizing and applying veterans’ work experience to their business:

Evaluate the various assignments the veteran has completed. The junior Marine or soldier can often organize, analyze and execute tasks quickly, efficiently, and with scarce resources and little oversight.

Examine the detail-oriented roles the veteran has performed and for whom. Similar to city managers, mayors and business executives, those with a military background often conceive of strategies and implement tactics when collaboration with others is required.

Scrutinize the financial numbers of the assets delegated to the veteran while she was deployed. The individual may have valuable experience handling equipment that’s worth millions of dollars.

In the interview, ask the veteran how she was able to lead a large contingent of soldiers, sailors or Marines. Now, more than ever, this kind of management experience is invaluable for developing innovative methods to beat the competition.

Explore how the veteran has dealt both with ambiguity and structure. Veterans often bring a greater maturity, self-confidence and stronger work ethic to the business arena than many MBAs with no prior military or civilian work experience.

Ask the veteran to explain unfamiliar formatting or military terms on his resume. Knowing these terms will help in screening other applicants with military backgrounds, and the explanation will provide a greater sense of the candidate’s communication skills.​


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