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Transferable Skills from the Military to the Workplace

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The distinct military men and women of the world are sometimes (not always) recognisable in public. Even out of the camouflage and unarmed they prowl like panthers through crowds, sit upright at bars and on buses, back straight, eyes busy and always alert. These people have their backgrounds etched into their aura, the rigorous training regimes and schedules lay the groundwork for this unique personality type. The more obvious connotations of the military are ones of combat and action yet there are skills you learn along the way that are useful in any environment.


Depending on service and rank, leading the pack can be discouraged in basic training where doing exactly what you are told with no variation is what is drilled into you. The reason: to teach you how to follow orders. If you yourself can’t follow an order, how can you be trusted with one or set orders for others yourself when the time is right. To comprehend respect and faith of those more senior (role wise), is to understand leadership, the importance of a chain of command, taking orders and receiving them and being in the military serves to educate you in both aspects. Leadership means direction and in an office, for example, if everyone is reading from the same hymn sheet, work can be produced more efficiently.


Teamwork makes the dream work as they say. This is as much about leadership as it is about anything else. While one or few leads, others follow but whether it be 2 people or 200, listening and respecting fellow workers is paramount. Most situations in life require a team element. As humans, we survive with a group dynamic and go mad totally alone. However, good teamwork is a skill in itself. It’s as much knowing when to be lead and knowing when to lead. Sitting back and waiting for someone else to take leadership of a situation is not teamwork, equally, disregarding someone else’s leadership is disruptive.


Remaining adaptable to challenges is what is required as military scenarios are by no means run of the mill. Situations are volatile and prone to change at speed lurching you into a place you don’t recognise, full of hostility. Making sure you are prepared for these changes will make you invaluable to any team you are a part of. The boss launches you into a sales pitch unarmed? Being flexible means you don’t panic, you coolly assess the situation and logically find a reasonable solution.


Before any task or mission, an element of planning is involved. This should be second nature to those who have been in the military. You may remember the 7 P’s: Prior planning prevents piss poor performance. It pretty much says it all.

Problem Solving

This is about identifying problems, perhaps by pre-empting them before they become problems and finding a solution to the issue. Problems could be tactical, environmental or social. Being able to spot a problem shows that someone is awake and paying attention to what’s going on around them. Being able to solve a problem requires skill. This shows diligence.


The military often requires you to work in scenarios where life and death are juggled along with a whole host of other objectives. Remaining clear-headed and explaining lucidly what is required of your colleagues is needed if objectives are to be completed. Being goal-orientated means being communicative. With phonetic language and code being part of many training programmes in the army, navy, marines or air force, you will know how to communicate in many different forms and sometimes even learn a language. The importance of clarity will remain with you on the outside.


Some of the most extreme environments imaginable are ‘another day at the office’ for those who work within the armed forces and situations that seem impossible that are worked through by the teams, work as evidence that there is nothing that can’t be done. Problem solvers are born in the training camps of the army and situations that are most dire need a hard head and a steady hand if they are to be ameliorated and crises avoided. Doing this on the outside becomes second nature as does remaining on task against mounting odds and pressure.


Having served in the military will likely outline you as a person who should have integrity. Being trusted in life and death situations brings a noble quality to your resume. Being able to organise yourself and others and deploy discipline and order will only further add to this. This can be displayed in subtler work tones, turning up to work on time, being presentable and orderly are all great qualities to possess.

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Thanks !

Thanks for sharing this, you are awesome !