“The line between disorder and order lies in logistics.”

~ Sun Tzu

During your transition from the military, it is important to take time to reflect on your capabilities, personal desires and passions.  Fred Smith realized this when he studied delivery problems and created a company called FEDEX after he got home from Vietnam.

Military Experience Uniquely Equips Veterans for Logistics

The military missions you have participated in are complex logistical efforts that require significant understanding of supply chain and transportation management. As a service member, you are required to have some logistical knowledge. Whether moving a unit to a new location, planning, or executing training, all military personnel are intimately familiar with the execution of not only their personal military mission, but also the associated logistical operations. Even the youngest of soldiers must know how to execute procedures to keep ammunition, water, and food available. Regardless of primary duty, most service members are competent in shipping, stocking, and receiving due to their military experience.

high-level military logistics Increases your Skills Sets Even More

Further, many of you are already very skilled and trained in the art of high-level military logistics. Military logisticians support integrated operations with ever increasing transportation and supply requirements and challenges. As in the civilian world, military missions require a sophisticated understanding of complex interrelationships from setup to completion. Global military logistical operations are often resource constrained and are performed in potentially contested environments. Every military requirement necessitates operational and logistical competency to meet the mission goals and optimize resources effectively. These demands make many veterans like yourself, capable and ready for the commercial logistics community.

Soft Skill Advantage of Leadership and Teamwork

Service members generally have superb leadership experience, coupled with communication and teamwork skills. They know how to work a multitude of simultaneous requirements, how to talk to senior managers, and how to get the job done. All of these acquired essentials are critical attributes for logisticians, enabling military service members to quickly grasp an understanding of commercial logistics. In other words, military men and women around the world perform logistics every day but are simply using different vernacular.

There are many military friendly companies that understand the linkage between military and commercial logistics. Many of the top 100 military friendly companies are logistics corporations. These companies understand the military is a tightly integrated logistical environment. They continually seek out service members because they understand that once you have the proper training and operational experience, you become a natural fit for commercial logistic work. Companies know your discipline, ingrained military values and work ethic will pay huge dividends for the organization.

The Gap

Many who have served have no idea how well-suited they are for civilian logistics. Despite experience with daily military planning and logistical operations, many find commercial logistics methodology and terminology challenging, if not foreign. When looking for civilian work, some will have difficulty translating and applying military experience. Consequently, without an understanding of military vernacular, terminology, and jargon, hiring managers will often take the path of least resistance and move on to a more familiar and understandable resume.

Repackaging Skills

With an understanding of logistics and supply chain management concepts commonly used by corporate industry, you can transition smoothly and successfully to this career field. Know your military experience has prepared you for professional logistics. You just need to translate, repackage, and certify your skills so hiring managers can spot them.

A great way to achieve these capabilities is through networking with civilian logisticians. You will quickly understand that you perform military logistical tasks, like your corporate counterparts, just using different concepts and terminology. Conversations with logistical professionals enhances your capability to translate skills onto your resume, enables your desire for certification, and increases your ability to explain the value of your experiences to civilian hiring managers.

Engage commercial and supply chain organizations, like the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), American Logistics Association (ALA) and the International Society of Logistics (SOLE). These organizations educate and connect logistical and supply chain professionals through local and virtual roundtable events and chapter meetings. There are many individual professionals that are willing to assist you in your transition. Seek out these professionals. Let them provide knowledge and encouragement.

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Jay Hicks is an author, instructor and consultant. With a special kinship for military personnel, Jay provides guidance on successful civilian career transition and has co-authored “The Transitioning Military Series”. He is the co-founder of Gr8Transitions4U, where advocating the value of hiring military personnel is the key focus. More about Jay and his passion can be found at Gr8Transitions4U.com.