How Do Army Officer Duties Relate to the Civilian Workforce?

by David Lipscomb

When many think of the work military officers do, they have problems understanding how those duties and traits migrate to the civilian workforce. Military officers have highly demanding physical and mental requirements to not only serve well in their occupational specialties, but to lead others in their roles as well. Military officers bring highly marketable skills to civilian life after they transition from military service, sought after by employers who understand what types of people the five branches produce.

Interpersonal Skills

Although there are of course exceptions, most military officers have a high level of self-confidence and ability to communicate with others. These men and women are not generally timid nor lacking in assertiveness, resulting in confident, authoritative workplace leaders. Combat officers from the infantry, for example, are used to issuing orders under high-stress conditions to individuals displaying varying levels of receptiveness to that instruction. Officers routinely provide instruction to subordinate officers and enlisted personnel -- many of which come from highly diverse backgrounds. Officers -- regardless of branch -- must be able to effectively disseminate instruction, making their desires and commands clear.

Technical Ability

The military spends a lot of money and time providing highly specialized technical training. The various branches need highly competent electrical engineering and networking talents to maintain fire control, navigation and communication systems in everything from fighter jets to aircraft carriers. These talents mean that any company hiring individuals into similar positions -- among others -- have prequalified and trained individuals who require very little ramp-up into their new civilian careers.

Resource Management

It's not uncommon for military officers to have thousands of individuals and pieces of expensive equipment under his direct control. Moving into civilian life, the management skills developed from proper utilization of these resources results in competent experts in logistics, planning and plugging the right people into the right jobs. Any officer coming from the transportation, logistics or infantry branches -- although certainly not limited to these -- are particularly well-versed in taking large numbers of assets and using them to best effect. Military officers are trained to improvise and adapt, making situations that might handcuff those not similarly inclined just another challenge to overcome.

Specialized Skills

Military officers are trained in scenarios that, ideally, are never or rarely encountered in civilian life. In many ways, these men and women are overtrained for civilian counterpart careers. Pilots, for example, are used to landing fighter jets on moving and undulating aircraft carriers, while others are accustomed to piloting huge C-130 transport craft. Officers commanding transportation troops in the motor pool are ready to leap into mechanic or shop steward careers, having dealt with complex vehicles in potentially adverse conditions. Taking these talents and using them for civilian applications should be seamless and confidence-inspiring for prospective employers.

About the Author

David Lipscomb is a professional writer and public relations practitioner. Lipscomb brings more than a decade of experience in the consumer electronics and advertising industries. Lipscomb holds a degree in public relations from Webster University.

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