Good news for military technicians transitioning into the private sector: we have more roles than we can fill right now. Manufacturing organizations, field engineering forces, technical service groups, research facilities, and training departments are all asking us to find candidates with your skill sets.
Candidates I work with are often unsure just what types of technician jobs are available in the private sector or which jobs they’re most qualified for given their current skill set.
Candidates who worked on electrical systems in the military will find plenty of similar jobs in the private sector. Manufacturers, engineering companies, energy companies, IT companies and many more need electrical technicians, and you will find that many of the systems you worked on in the military are applicable.
Work that you’ve done on communication or navigation equipment in the military is directly transferable to equipment used in the private sector. As I mentioned in a previous post, any experience with computer technology, including programmable logic controllers, robotics, and human-machine interfaces, is particularly in demand right now.
Maintenance mechanics work with large production machines, monitoring their performance and condition. Even if you haven’t worked on the exact machines in the job description, if you have maintenance experience in the military, then you have the core skills you need along with the aptitude to learn machine-specifics on the job.
These roles involve maintaining all the mechanical systems at a facility, monitoring their compliance with safety regulations, coordinating repairs, and maintaining the appearance of facilities. Again, those with general maintenance experience from the military will find their skills naturally translate to the civilian sector here.
Field Service Technician
Field service technicians go on-site with clients and perform installations or repairs on an ongoing basis. These technicians are needed across a wide variety of industries, including some that you may not have previously considered. I recently placed a candidate in this role at a company that makes water purification systems, for example.
This is a similar role to field services, but you are more of a representative of the company. You act as a point of contact for clients, from doing the initial installs to ongoing maintenance and troubleshooting. When upgrades become available, you sell them to clients. Sometimes you are even embedded on site with the client.
These roles require strong communication skills, but I find that anyone coming out of the service has learned how to communicate effectively. If you are already looking at field services roles, you should consider broadening your search to include customer services as well.
Planners/Schedulers are responsible for developing production plans and coordinating work flows to help companies meet customer demand. Work that you have done in tactical operations and mission planning can be relevant for these roles.
Test technicians are responsible for the quality control of their company’s products. They perform tests to make sure that products function, meet established standards, and are not defective, as well as monitor the testing equipment itself. Technician work in electronics and electrical systems in the service prepares you well for these roles.
When you’re starting your private sector job search, keep an open mind. There are plenty of jobs you may never have known about or thought you would qualify for. A recruiter who specializes in military candidates can help you identify new opportunities.
This is the final post in a six-part series on transitioning from the service to the private sector. I encourage you to check out my previous posts in this series for tips on everything from how to structure your military resume to what salary you should expect after the military.
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