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How have military officers translated their transferable skills when seeking an industry outside of their military expertise?


Caleb Gowan Odenton, MD

As an intelligence officer in the Marine Corps, many would consider it a given that I would work as a civilian intelligence officer after my transition. However, I'm not interested in working as an intelligence analyst unless I needed something to fall back on. Officers tend to be generalists, specializing in "leadership" and management, operational planning, etc. However, we don't possess many of the hard skills and certifications that most of our enlisted counterparts develop.

How have others successfully translated the skills and aptitudes that make for a successful military officer toward landing a position as a management consultant?

3 January 2019 5 replies Career Exploration



Jerry Welsh Middleville, MI

Caleb first you need to decide what you wish to do. Your other question is about entering the counseling field? Quick answer for that, most states require an MSW to counsel people directly, and many times you will need to work under a Psychologist or Psychiatrist. This depends upon the state. Of course there are many avenues to work, i.e. public schools, college/universities, states, VA,.... Your leadership and analytical skills will be an asset to your ability to connect with people, I think you need to be sure and watch USMC stereo type and lead with your people skills.
I took a peak at your LinkedIn profile, the first thing recruiters look at or search is the TAG line, which is the line following your name. Be specific, this statement needs to define the CAREER AND VALUE you could bring to an organization. LinkedIn is a search engine, put more than just what you do or your selected career; tell them what you offer. Your current TAG line will not be reviewed, as it will pop up with too many potential positions-recruiters will not chose your career for you. That TAG line needs to be what you want to do. Look at my profile, down further you will see what I did for 30 years, I NEVER receive requests for connections for the GPO industry, also search Google for Jerry Welsh veteran transition. You are found by what you list up top in the profile. LI profiles are an invitation to see your resume.
Your summary is 2,000 characters that companies via LinkedIn’s algorithm will search for key words. Start researching your career on line and use civilian career keywords that is what the companies will be searching for. Sounds like tough talk, companies want to see value early in the profile. The profile is way too long and much to philosophical. My priorities in life are God, Family, and Work(now I just volunteer)-but you do not see that in my resume, or my profile. Stay away from politics and religion, just like you do in the Marines.
Your experience. Target the CAREER or more specific employment area you are looking into. Quantify results and accomplishments, a few of these will catch attention. LI profiles do not need to be a book, in fact you do not need to qualify your entire career, especially the pest control, save that for the application. Think quality targeted accomplishments versus documenting a career.
A couple of recommendations that speak to your career specific talents help. Try to have recommendations speaking to your career. These are very important on social media, unlike a resume where you do not list references. See the attached article for a summary of what civilians want to see and do not want to see in a profile.
Again, TAG line concise to a career field, short summary of your qualifications, and a couple of accomplishments with #$% to accent value. Again, LI profiles create connections to a request for the resume. Remember that you are part of the 0.5% of Americans who serve their country. You are very well respected, but the chance civilians have been part of the 0.5% simply means they will not understand your language or experiences-without translation. The previous answers gave you good recommendations for research, you need to decide what avenue you want to take and then research and then speak the civilian language and use civilian #$% for your accomplishments. Thank you for your support and sacrifices. God Bless.

7 January 2019 Helpful answer


Bryan Lee Ewa Beach, HI


I'm in a similar boat in that I'm an army pilot, looking to make a hard pivot into the business world. One incredibly helpful resource I've come across while navigating my transition is the Beyond the Uniform podcasts.

In the link below, Kristen (who also happens to be a former USMC intel officer) describes how she translated her military experience to the consulting industry, specifically as it relates to case interviews and her day-to-day role as a BCG consultant. What's most impressive is that Kristen was able to transition directly from the military to one of the BIG 3 consulting firms, bypassing the traditional M7 MBA path.

Give it a listen. I think it will be worth your time. Lots more to explore on the Beyond the Uniform website as well.

Good luck!

4 January 2019 Helpful answer


David Andersen Alexandria, VA

How you tell the story varies greatly on what industry you are interested in.
I noticed in your profile that you are interested in management consulting. As an intel officer, that is a perfect fit. Things you have to talk about that matter to management consultants:
- Extensive experience conducting detailed analysis over compressed timelines.
- Routinely led workshops to determine market entry opportunities and conduct competitor analysis.
- Built and led task organized teams of specialists responsible for creating actionable business intelligence from high volumes of disparate data.
- 9 years of organization and process optimization.
- Experience in finding common ground between culturally diverse groups with disparate goals to reach unified solutions.

That is just a starting point.
Spend some time with people in the industry that interests you and learn about what they do. Get them to really dig into the details. This will allow you to look back on your career and look for common threads. Trust me they are in there. Then you have to put those threads together with a cohesive story, that doesn't use any USMC jargon. Learn the key phrases that the people in the consulting industry speak in and learn to tell your story with them.
Feel free to reach out. I am not far away.

4 January 2019 Helpful answer


Caleb Gowan Odenton, MD

Thanks David and Jerry, I've appreciated your engagement beyond your post and have found it all very helpful. Emanuel, thanks for the article, it's a good place to start. Bryan, thanks for putting me onto the podcast, that definitely was some good insight and I branched off that podcast into many others that seem to be useful. Really appreciate everyone taking time to share experience and resources.


Emanuel Carpenter Atlanta, GA

This article will help:

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