By Jon Iadonisi
A career in the military can teach you a lot: situation awareness, tactical engagement and adaptable response techniques to name a few. But how does this translate to the technology industry workforce, the fastest growing industry in the world?
Here are five simple ways you can break down the most common military skills and translate them into a benefit for the technology industry.
#1: Before You Even Apply, Rid Your Resume of Military Jargon, Then Translate into Plain English
There’s a high likelihood that a company’s recruiter or hiring manager is not a veteran and doesn’t understand military language. While it may be second-nature for you to speak in terms of tactical operations, combat leadership and executing tasks within highly kinetic environments, it may be hard for a hiring manager to clearly visualize what you can do for his organization and how you will help him achieve a specific or desired business outcome
The solution? Take those skills and translate them into plain English.
#2: Exploit Your Skills By Capitalizing Upon the One Thing Technology Companies Crave Most: Innovation
Technology companies live and die by their ability to innovate, often in the midst of a scarcity of time and financial resources. To your benefit, being solutions-focused and quickly innovating with very little resources was par for the course when you were in the military. Use your resume and the interview as opportunities to highlight your ability to quickly absorb and run with an idea, think about a variety of ways to solve a problem, then overcome obstacles to turn the idea into a reality.
#3: Understand How Important Being Mission-focused is For Tech Companies, then Capitalize Upon It
It’s easy for a hiring manager to focus on the tasks that a potential candidate can complete; it’s concrete and easy for them to visualize how it translates to the immediate hole they’re trying to fill. But a one-trick-pony can only get their team so far in achieving often lofty, complex objectives. Remember: Technology companies live and die by their ability to innovate. To me, that means that technology companies need more mission-oriented employees who can do the tasks but also have the wherewithal and tenacity to do what it takes to move toward the desired end-state of repeated improvement and innovation.
As a veteran, you’re hard wired to be mission-focused. You see there are many different tasks that need to be accomplished, how those can fit together – even if it’s daunting or a bit ambiguous at the outset – and that your role is to complete these tasks in the spirit of building the patchwork that allows the team to achieve the larger goal.
Technology company hiring managers need more mission-oriented employees to repeatedly build and innovate. You were trained for this. Capitalize upon it.
#4: “There’s the Hill! Take It!”: Show How You Own the Outcome
While modern war techniques don’t often involve troops charging up a hill, you know what it’s like to be shown the end goal and to charge after it — and how important it is to be situationally aware, nimble, on-point and own whatever result comes out of it. How well you execute your skill and achieve the objective can be a matter of life or death.
For veterans like you, the ability to own your success or failures through performance-based work is attractive – not a deterrent. Being given a chance to hunt and be accountable for winning or losing is now part of your DNA.
Showcase how you embrace and enjoy a performance-based environment. I guarantee that any technology company worth its salt will find this attractive.
#5: You Know the Value of Relationships, Now Use It to Your Advantage
In the field, military members learn the importance of building relationships early-on. The strength of a relationship you build today with your fellow soldier can be a life or death matter tomorrow.
Through the power of social media, veterans are more connected than ever. One site I personally use is exbellum.com. It’s like a LinkedIn for former military and helps them connect with other veterans seeking employment.
Use offline and online networking to reach out and talk to fellow veterans to learn how they broke into their post-military careers, ask them who they know and if they’re willing, ask for a warm hand-off to better your chances of getting your foot in the door.
So there you have it. This is a great time for veterans to break into the technology industry and you have the benefit of the right mindset and attitude to help a company achieve their business objectives.
Jon Iadonisi is a former Navy SEAL, cyber security expert and founder of White Canvas Group, a technology incubator that creates new companies servicing Fortune 500 companies.