ring of peopleA new national survey from the University of Phoenix suggests that military personnel leaving the service may end up underutilizing their skills when transitioning to civilian careers. Even though 90 percent of current active-duty service members anticipate using their skills learned in the service in a civilian job, less than one-third of past service members reported using a great deal or a lot of their military skills in their first civilian jobs. And nearly two-in-five (38%) said that they didn’t use any of their learned skills.

“Service members acquire skills during their military careers that bring value and diverse experience to the workplace,” said University of Phoenix Associate Regional Vice President and U.S. Army Colonel (ret.) Garland Williams. “But some men and women leaving the service may not know how to market their skills as they transition to civilian jobs, and may therefore take jobs that do not leverage their unique experience.”

Active-duty and former military members identified the marketable skills that could help them in civilian careers. Those include:

  • Responsibility (79 percent)
  • Teamwork (75 percent)
  • Ability to work under pressure (72 percent)
  • Accountability (69 percent)
  • Leadership (68 percent)
  • Problem-solving (68 percent)
  • Communication (58 percent)
  • Critical thinking (54 percent)

The survey of more than 1,000 current military workers and veterans also revealed that 8 in 10 active-duty service members face substantial challenges when searching for jobs and managing their careers. Respondents specifically reported needing help with:

  • Interviewing (43 percent)
  • Networking with other professionals (38 percent)
  • Career planning (36 percent)
  • Finding available positions (34 percent)
  • Connecting with employers (33 percent)
  • Developing resumes and/or cover letters (30 percent)

Survey results also suggest that military members may not be prepared to face the above challenges with just one-third (33 percent) reporting to have made a transition plan for returning to civilian life upon leaving the military.

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