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7 Top Industries Where Veterans Can Work

These paths are ideal for job-seeking vets


spinner image Skills and experiences from military service translate into a variety of industries in which veterans can excel.
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If you think your military experience is like fitting a square peg into a round hole, think again.

Your skills and experiences from your service translate into a variety of industries in which you can excel. What you have learned and become during your military service makes you sought after by employers.

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Here are seven industries worth looking at:

Health care

The health care industry isn’t only recession-proof, it’s an ideal fit for vets, too.

Christina Curtis, founder of Curtis Leadership Consulting, told AARP Experience Counts, “I find that veterans are drawn to health care because it has a bigger purpose. The work has a greater benefit than just a daily task.”

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Seeing how work contributes to the greater good provides fulfillment in a field that offers growth and job security. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, health care is anticipated to grow by 13 percent through 2013.

Defense

Defense is an extremely veteran-friendly industry due to the subject matter but also because this sector leans on integrity, aptitude, problem-solving and teamwork.

“Lockheed Martin, Boeing … all these are areas where they can actually apply some of their background,” Curtis explained. “Some of them have technical skills, mechanical skills and hands-on experience, but they’re drawn again to that greater purpose. And they tend to deliver where they say they’re going to deliver.”

Law enforcement

Working under extreme pressure is nothing new for veterans, so jobs in law enforcement can be a natural fit. Police officers, investigators, detectives and support positions are available at the federal, state, county and local levels. There are additional opportunities, too, such as security guard, transportation security officers, protective service workers, correctional officers and many more.

“They have specialized skills where you think about their training both from a physical and mental perspective,” Curtis said. “The ability to manage stress under pressure is significant to law enforcement skills trades.”

Cybersecurity

Global cybersecurity job vacancies have catapulted by 350 percent over the past several years, according to Cybersecurity Ventures. Currently, the shortage equates to 3.5 million job openings in the industry.

Arun Gupta, CEO of NobleReach Foundation and coauthor of Venture Meets Mission: Aligning People, Purpose and Profit to Innovate and Transform Society, told AARP Experience Counts: “Becoming a cybersecurity professional offers plenty of opportunities for veterans to serve their country again and ensure that the nation and its citizens stay one step ahead of bad actors around the globe.”

Transferable skills include problem-solving, critical thinking, discipline and resilience.

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Technology

From computer programmers to digital designers, the variety of technology jobs are plentiful in this industry that simultaneously leans on team structure and constant change — two aspects that are no strangers to vets.

Trent Hone, vice president of technology and product innovation with ICF International and author of Mastering the Art of Command, told AARP Experience Counts: “Throughout my career, I’ve seen veterans succeed in a variety of IT and product roles.

“In software and solution development, they can work well because of their leadership and discipline. Software today is very dynamic; the most effective methods employ agile techniques which emphasize rapid adjustments and pivots.”

Construction

Jobs in construction are plentiful due to the labor shortage. According to Associated Builders and Contractors, at least half a million workers need to be hired who are safety-conscious, project-oriented workers, not unlike seasoned vets.

Paul Gennaro, Navy veteran and chief brand and communications officer at Voya Financial, told AARP Experience Counts: “Hire a veteran, and your return on investment has a built-in upside. In construction, or any industry where safety or attention to detail is a priority, the veteran workforce provides an ample pool of trained experts.”

Business

Think marketing, accounting, sales, human resources and management — as well as drive, commitment and innovation — and you’ve got the business sector. Skills such as analytics, employee relations, time and task management are key and, as with the military, there’s a focus on mission.

“Beyond world-class technical skills that the U.S. military teaches our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, these men and women are also instilled with work ethic, leadership qualities and team-oriented mindsets that bring value to any workplace,” Gennaro said.

Bottom line

These industries are actively hiring. Lean into the skills and experiences you gained in the military to transition into rewarding, meaningful and lucrative civilian work. 

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