Work experience isn’t the only way to prove your worth. With Veterans Day just around the corner, we wanted to spotlight some of the incredible veterans in our community who are using the skills and experiences they gained during their service to take their careers to the next level. These veterans prove that the military prepares you for professional success.
From learning how to become effective leaders to developing strong communication and interpersonal skills, the veterans we talked to all agreed that their time in the military helped them learn a lot about themselves and about the world at large. As they embark on the next phase of their careers, they’re using these experiences to craft new paths for themselves and to apply their knowledge in different ways.
Andrew Morris, a Marine Corps Infantry Veteran and aspiring social media marketer, also credits his military service with helping him develop skills and interests that he may not have otherwise developed. “It makes you good at soft skills like team management, project management, organization, and communication,” he explains, emphasizing that he developed these skills while learning how to lead his own team and how to communicate effectively with different people across the chain of command.
Now a marketing major at California State University San Marcos, Andrew is passionate about pursuing a career in social media marketing and compares the day-to-day work involved in marketing to his previous work as a Marine. “During my service, when a mission was assigned I had to make sure that everything was in place and I had to tackle problems along the way to get to a final result,” he explains. “Marketing is a lot like that. Checklists are key.” By applying his skills to a new field, Andrew has been able to use a lot of his knowledge about project management to develop the types of campaigns that deliver results to clients.
A former ROTC cadet and current member of the National Guard, Hillary Esposito also emphasizes how important military service has been to her personal and professional development. Referring to her training, she explains that it taught her how to be confident in her decisions and how to be an effective leader. “They’re constantly putting you in environments where you don’t know how to react,” she says. “You find yourself leading people and you have to portray yourself as if you know what you are doing, and then figure it out.”
During her time in the ROTC, Hillary also worked with a medical unit which led to her developing an interest in the medical field. As a result of her experiences, Hillary has decided to pursue a Masters of Health Administration at Rutgers University with the goal of becoming a hospital administrator. Her driving force? A passion for helping others and the desire to do so on a large scale.
Taylor Davis, a former marine and current education major at Salt Lake Community College, explains that military service helped to prepare him for the next phase of his life and his career. “It was an eye-opening experience,” says Taylor, referring to many of the intense moments he encountered during his time in the military, including being involved with the rescue of Captain Phillips and his crew when the captain’s ship, the Maersk Alabama, was hijacked by Somali pirates in 2009.
Now studying to become a special education teacher, Taylor is using the skills he picked up during his military service to develop his career, and credits the Marines with giving him perspective, teaching him to be patient and giving him the skills to mentor others. With two years left before graduation, Taylor is working as a teacher’s aide to get hands-on teaching experience while still in school. Once he graduates, he looks forward to starting his teaching career.
When it comes to military service, individual experiences are as varied as they are in any other field. However, all of the veterans we spoke with had one thing in common: they emphasized how much those experiences had shaped them and helped them to build a diverse skill set that has set them up for success.
The skills that students pick up in the military are incredibly valuable across a number of different fields and roles. Whether you’re a student veteran with little work experience or any student or recent grad with limited professional experience, remember to consider your volunteer work, hobbies and side project to show employers who you are as a person.