Although military roles have defined responsibilities with pay grades to match, civilian jobs aren’t nearly as specific. When you as a veteran start on a civilian career path, it’s important to know your worth so you are paid according to your true market value. Here’s how to do it.
Your military experience has value
If you’re pursuing positions that aren’t an exact replica of your military experience, that’s OK — your experience counts. Employers need all of the tangible skills you possess such as leadership, time and project management, and teamwork.
“Never discount your vast experience, even when there is not a direct correlation between the specific things you have done in the past and what a new job might require,” Heather McGowan, Future of Work keynote speaker and coauthor of The Empathy Advantage: Leading the Empowered Workforce, told AARP Veteran Report.
“Military experience is wide-ranging, just as most future jobs will be. The mental and physical discipline to learn and adapt, the ability to react quickly to rapidly changing environments, the experience working with and depending on diverse team members — these are all fundamental and valuable skills that every job now requires.”
More often than not, salaries won’t be disclosed in job descriptions, but once you start interviewing you can ask employers what the job pays.
Chris Shipley, business transformation consultant and McGowan’s coauthor, told AARP Veteran Report: “Recruiters should be able to provide a direct answer to the salary question without asking you to disclose your current or recent pay or salary expectations. Ask them, ‘What is this work worth to the company?’ rather than answering what you expect to be paid for the work.”
Research salaries online
Kimberly Stiener-Murphy, an Air Force veteran and senior regional director at employment consulting firm Robert Half, told AARP Veteran Report, “Your military pay should be irrelevant to the position that you are looking for and you should make sure that you have explored different salary guidelines to make sure that you are ‘in the know.’”
For instance, the Robert Half Salary Guide provides insight into annual wages for specific positions. “Researching salaries will help you get to know and understand your worth,” said Stiener-Murphy.
Conduct informational interviews
Determining your worth includes having meaningful conversations with people in your network.