The Job Interview: How to Make a Good Impression

You’re back from your tour of duty and entering the job market. However, it may have been a while since you last held a job in the civilian workplace. Perhaps you’ve never had a career outside of the military. How do you translate your years of service into relevant attributes and job skills that appeal to hiring managers? Here are some transferable skills and characteristics you might not even realize you possess that can help you catch the attention of companies that hire veterans.


During your years of service, you learned that giving up is never an option. Emphasizing your steadfast determination and backing up this claim with examples from your military career shows hiring managers that you’ll do whatever it takes to see a task through to the end.

Leadership skills

The military is renowned for cultivating leadership skills. You’re taught to be proactive and to take charge when necessary. These are highly sought-after attributes in any work environment. (In fact, many companies send employees to leadership seminars that sometimes are led by veterans.)

Firms that hire veterans boost the value of their teams by adding members well-versed in leadership. Let employers know you will not only voice ideas and opinions constructively but also help propel your coworkers forward.


If you’re a former officer, you’re aware that keeping team morale and motivation high is crucial to obtaining maximum efficiency. By highlighting this attribute in your application materials, you demonstrate the added value companies gain if they hire veterans. Savvy employers will recognize that you’ll enhance their office’s productivity and environment because you know how to be a team player.


Throughout your military career, you adjusted to situations that changed with little or no notice. You’re adept at thinking on your feet and making good decisions quickly. Some employees might take a while to process change and adjust accordingly, but you can keep a project’s momentum going by rapidly analyzing the issue and finding an effective solution. Employers who hire veterans value this trait because when circumstances change, their companies remain productive.

Reputable background

Depending on your specific military duties, you may have obtained various degrees of security clearance. This is a significant benefit that’s worth mentioning in your job applications. The military grants a security clearance only after completing a thorough background check, and these checks are much more detailed than those conducted by most civilian employers.

When you leave the military, your security clearance is inactivated. However, it’s fairly easy to reinstate within the first two years after inactivation, as long as you haven’t fallen into a re-investigation period.

In addition to these skills and attributes, you probably have many more qualifications depending on your specific military experience. The key to success is in creating a solid resume and cover letter explaining how your service experience translates into valuable skills for the civilian workplace and how they benefit potential employers. Use the tools like the one available through Feds Hire Vets for help in translating your qualifications and visit Robert Half’s Career Center for assistance with job application materials, interviewing, networking and more. Then, get ready to impress your prospective employers, and show them how they benefit when they hire veterans.

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