5 Traits Every Veteran Has, And Needs to Know They Possess
November 11, 2016
One of the biggest challenges any soldier faces is when the bullets stop flying, the mission has ended and it’s time to transition out of the military.
A civilian might think that would be a time of peace, a time of pride, a time of confidence. Often, the opposite is true.
For proof, look no further than Medal of Honor recipient Florent Groberg. You would think the hardest time of his life would be in the battlefields of Afghanistan, where he almost died tackling a suicide bomber to prevent the man from attacking his unit.
But it wasn’t. Instead, the hardest time of his life was the months after that, recovering in Walter Reed Army Medical Center, away from his men and removed from his mission.
“In the hospital, I spent months beating myself to death over what happened,” Groberg said, reflecting on an action deemed so heroic he received the highest award a solider can earn because of it. “Survivor’s guilt. Angry. Didn’t want anyone around me.”
The injuries Groberg suffered from that blast forced him into medical retirement, ending his dream job in the Army. And that meant a forced transition into the civilian world, which despite his sterling military career, he doubted his ability to do.
“I needed people to believe in me like I believed in them,” he said in his new LinkedIn Learning course, Finding Your Purpose After Active Duty. “But I couldn’t believe in them, because I didn’t believe in myself.”
Eventually, Groberg was brave enough to ask for help, found himself a mentor and realized his purpose again in the civilian world. But the bigger point is that many veterans doubt their ability to transition from the military to the civilian world, despite possessing characteristics that many employers find incredibly attractive.
Five characteristics veterans possess that employers love
Spencer Milo, a former sergeant in the US Army, went through many of the same challenges Groberg did when he also had a forced transitioned to the civilian world, thanks to a military retirement. Since, he’s dedicated his life to helping other veterans successfully transition out of the military, and a big part of that is incepting them with the confidence that they can excel in today’s business world.
In the course, Milo emphasized five traits veterans share that employers love. They are:
1. Entrepreneurial spirit
This doesn’t mean that every veteran wants to start his or her own business. Instead, it means that veterans have the ability to get things done, Milo said.
“Everyone who has been in the military has been ‘hey you-ed’,” he said. “As in, hey you, figure this out. And what do you do? You figure it out.”
That’s an incredibly attractive trait to any employer, as that gives them confidence that they can give a veteran any task, and they’ll get it done.
2. Being a fast, lifelong learner.
Soldiers are constantly being asked to learn new tasks.
“In a six-month period, you are asked to master something that most people will take four years to get a degree in,” Milo said. “The fact that you can learn whatever is put in front of you is a really important skill.”
In today’s economy, where the average shelf life of a skill is 5 years, the ability to learn quickly is more important than ever. That gives veterans a huge edge in the business world.
Someone who joins the military is a fundamentally loyal person, Milo said. After all, it shows the person is so loyal to their country, they are willing to give their life to defend it.
“You can’t tell me an employer doesn’t want a loyal employee,” he said. “That’s something anybody in their right mind would want in an employee.”
Integrity is a core value of the military, as soldiers are taught to be honest, straightforward and accountable, Milo said. It’s also a core value for any business.
“It’s just one of those qualities you can’t take away,” he said. “It’s something people want.”
5. Strong work ethic.
The military doesn’t just teach hard work, it demands it. And, for any business to win, there’s no substitute for hard work.
“If you hire someone from the military, you are never going to be concerned if they are going to show up on time,” Milo said. “You are never going to be concerned if they are going to give you everything that they’ve got.”
A hardworking, loyal, agile, resourceful person, with strong integrity? That sounds like someone worth hiring.
There is a lot more to transitioning from the military to civilian life than what’s listed in this article. For an actionable game plan on transitioning from the military, check out our free course, Finding Your Purpose After Active Duty.