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From my background in Human Resources and being a Recruiter for the Army, how well will these skills be in the civilian organization?


Dontay Glover Gastonia, NC

In terms of recruiting for the Army and having a background in Human Resources, how much does it differ from a civilian organization?

13 December 2018 13 replies Military to Civilian Transition



Mitchell Kotler Morristown, NJ

You HR experience should be very transferable. Also consider the different specialties within HR - recruiting; onboarding; benefits; talent review/management; and performance management.


Paul Trejo Austin, TX


Thanks for your years of service. In my experience, Human Resource services are standard throughout all industries. There are differences between HR Reps; personality, style and so on; but pretty much the service standards are the same.

What you may find is this -- the US Military is a gigantic organization. The closest system that you will find in the civilian world to what you've seen so far, will also be the gigantic organizations.

This works to your advantage, because everything else is so much easier. Nothing is slower than a gigantic organization, since there are often several levels of management needed to approve a major decision.

In smaller companies, those levels of management are fewer -- obviously -- so matters can proceed faster. For HR Reps starting from smaller companies, when they move into giant companies, they are often frustrated by the slow rate of speed.

That will probably never be a problem for you.

Also, since you were trained by the US Military in HR procedures, your HR training is top of the line, the latest and greatest. You will fit into any large organization very easily and smoothly. Your success is assured.

Best wishes,
--Paul Trejo


Steven Rosenblum Schaumburg, IL

Donaty, I have been in the corporate world for over 30 years, of which over 20 have been in HR and recruiting. I have recruited directly from the military on bases and through the DOD. Those in the military HR and military recruiting not only have very transferable skills in civilian HR and recruiting, but military personnel are very strong in areas of work ethic, professionalism, leadership integrity, and hard work. All of these things will be welcome by ANYONE. Like someone else wrote, avoid using military acronyms on your resume or in an interview. Concentrate on the company(ies) you may be interested in and how you can contribute to them.
Best wishes for an awesome 2019!


Lowell Summers Cordova, TN

It is relevant. Just don’t use any military acronyms or terminology on your resume or in interviews.

Make your resume highlight the basics of interviewing, selecting, selling, evaluating, using applicant databases and software, and desire to learn and advance your career in HR.

Good luck!


Alexander McCreary Kennesaw, GA

It’s not your title that is necessarily transferable, it’s what you do/did with it.

If you want to pursue HR/recruiting for Corporate America, illustrate how and what made you effective in the military. Companies don’t really care what your title was, they want to know what made you great at it; organizational skills, communication, research/analysis, etc.

If you have the skills they’re looking for, then your military background is generally regarded as a plus (we show up, and on time, we’re respectul, diligent, etc.) so, showcase the skills they’re looking for to fill whatever position you’re applying for.

Understand terminology may be different, research it, then apply it to your resume, e.g. quotas = reqs.

I was in HR/Career Counselor in the Navy, and now I work in cybersecurity (completed my degree while I was in). Everything we do in the military is transferable in some form or fashion.


James Morrison Mission Viejo, CA


Coming from the military and having a background in HR, some skills will align with any civilian organization. You will find a company that will take you, but the most important question to think about is "is this the company I want to work for?" Not only is the organization important, but it is important to look at what the market is demanding. When exiting the military, we believe our years of experience trumps almost everything. However, if the educational requirement is not fulfilled, if the company does not have a veteran-friendly hiring process, meaning the recruiters don't have their eyes set on Vets, you most likely will be looked over. Go in Indeed and LinkedIn Jobs and look for positions that you are considering to apply for. They will help you gauge what is transferable and what is not. Look at companies you would like to work for and in LinkedIn search up the company and look at the individuals who sit in HR. That will help you gauge where you need to be. I hope this helps and if you need anything else, please do not hesitate to reach out.


Beth Oneill Lombard, IL


Your military skills will transfer so well. Plus as a sergeant, you have leadership skills. Companies are always looking for good talent and skills. One thing you must add is an upbeat positive attitude. I would say you have good interpersonal skill, sales skills used recruiting, leadership, dedication to country, time management, a can do attitude to mention a few. So write stories of times you demonstrated your skills to prepare. Build up your feeling of self worth and begin a search. Quality over quantity, but numbers count too.
Thank you for your service. Best of luck. Beth Oneill


Rob Gasperetti Locust Valley, NY

Hello Dontay,
I went from HR and applicant investigations with the NYPD to HR generalist in the hospitality industry. The hard thing was learning the laws as they apply to the civilian world are different. We didn't have workers comp in the government sector, for example. The skills I got from there are knowing regulations and dealing with people. I recommend joining SHRM and going to meetings or networking at groups such as Whine and Dine. Doing that made life easier when I retired. I'm happy to chat about my experiences. I can be reached at 516.470.9689.
Best of luck and Merry Christmas!


Thomas Poulin Chesapeake, VA

The skills are likely to be largely transferable, but not all will be. The ability to communicate effectively, marketing the organization in a positive manner will be transferable. However, some of the processes might not be. For example, I once interviewed an applicant for an HRM-related analyst position in local government. One applicant stressed her ability to work with a DOD proprietary software system. She could explain how that system worked, but not the underlying concepts. Being able to explain the underlying concepts will help to show the relevance of your experience (I suspect it is there, but you need to be able to articulate it). Some have mentioned education. Most HRM positions in local and state government will require a BA. You also should consider a professional HRM certification such as the SHRM-CP (see Most military personnel have the ability to document effectively their experiences, and this is a portfolio-based certification based on experience. Such certifications - there are others - are wonderful way to show employers in the public or private sector that you have mastered requisite, relevant skills related to HRM. Good luck.


Henry ("Dr. Hank") Stevens Fort Lauderdale, FL

When I served - Army Security Agency Personnel Procurement and Processing Department 1963 - 1966 - I embraced their decision to put me in a situation where I was separating human wheat from the chaff. That is, not that recruits are chaff but . . . . , it was my job to decide who went into the ASA.

The Army was right: I had a TALENT for making those kinds of decisions and relished my time in the Army because of their assessment. Indeed, it was the foundation for ALL of my employment in human resources for the next 40+ years.

Point being, for good reason, the military thinks well enough of you to be a recruiter - and as an employer's representative over the next many decades, if it was good enough for them, it is good enough for me. I would go out of my way to employ vets whose TALENTS and experience matched the needs of my employers. I think there are many like me out there. Seek them out.

It is with great purpose that I capitalize the word TALENT. Since no longer working for the man in human resources, I have morphed into a vocational counselor - helping folk identify and play to their TALENTS. Which of course, baits the question, just what are YOUR TALENTS? Identify them and play to them. Doing so will help you with target acquisition.

Given the full-employment nature of our economy today, a resourceful and TALENTED recruiter is a much sought-after professional. Indeed, I think the greatest need is in the healthcare arena. Go to your local hospital, ask for an "informational interview" and speak with their H-R leadership about what it is their recruiters do, how your kind of TALENT and experience would fit in, and how best you can qualify for one of their future job opportunities.

If you need a little free help identifying your TALENTS, here is a website I have all of my clients go to for preliminary help. Feel free to contact me if you need help with interpretation - always willing to help a fellow Vet:


Shannon Vattikuti Flowood, MS

As a lifetime US civilian and current PhD student, never being in the military, I can say from a varying perspective that, "Often, companies of all work-force sizes, local and regional, will go out of their way to recruit and hire prior military veterans."
A business (and the differing roles) is much like a branch of our great US Military; in order for it to succeed, all parts of the company's personnel- staying together, disciplined, and actively attentive to details- makes the company work as a singular entity.
Always Remember, You are not only a major benefit for any Human Resources recruiter, Staff Sargent Glover, you're a benefit for the whole company and its extension(s) in external affairs.
You have the intelligence and discipline, I would definitely portray those skills Sir.

Best of luck to you my friend,

Shannon V.


Jerry Welsh Middleville, MI

Dontay I agree with the gentleman above, also do a deep dive into requirements for many levels of HR. I think to equal the pay you are making now, you will need to have a BS in business or HR. You will find specialist positions, but may not meet your salary requirements. Recruiting may be different, especially if you can locate a company wanting to start a veteran hiring program. First let them know your #$% accomplishments, value is what everyone wants, whether recruiting or HR. Also look into SHRM, and a local chapter. Many local chapters have lunches and like new blood-great way to network. Your LinkedIn profile is ok, but I am sending you an article on a transition profile. If you look at my profile, you will see that I spent 30 years in the GPO industry, but no one connects to me for that, it is for the very top of my profile. In fact if you google me, with veteran or transition behind my name, I will be on first page.
Keep in mind the fastest way to find talent is to search by computer and using keywords. So if you want to work your way in, let them know what you are and what you have to offer, up top. I would spend some serious time on Indeed looking at job postings for HR or recruiting positions. You can set a salary range, that will drop off lower jobs. First learn what the key words are then attack the area you are looking for. Your resume needs to target the position opening, do not make them work to find out what value you bring, hand it to them very quickly. Remember only 0.5% of Americans will serve-so finding someone speaking your language from the Army is slim-look into that veteran hiring program avenue. Thanks for you years of service and dedication. God Bless.


Louis Schwarz Somerville, NJ

Hi Dontay, HR is a tough carrier to break into. A lot of people want to get into the industry, while companies are reducing their HR staff and outsourcing a lot of HR functions. Look into the HR outsourcing companies for opportunities. Your Army recruiting experience is valuable, because you had to achieve goals, very similar to industry as well as evaluate candidates and recommend enlistment or not. The only item you did not have to do was negotiate compensation. Try some of the HR firms to break into the industry and then develop contacts inside of companies to provide future opportunities. Keep your sense of humor, because you and everyone else will need it. Good luck..

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