also posted a LinkedIn request to connect with any
veterans who had transitioned into project management careers, asking to meet them for informational
interviews. One veteran who responded—the CFO
at Tacoma Public Schools—happened to be looking
for a project manager. A few weeks later, he o;ered
Mr. Hoal the position.
When Mr. Johnston left the military, he got his
;rst project management job when a veteran at a
consultancy ;rm recognized the skill set he would
bring. “He understood that an o;cer would have
necessary and fundamental project management
skills and insights,” he says.
Building relationships with other ex-service
members will help veterans not only get that ;rst
project management job, but also navigate the
transition into the civilian project environment. In
the military, an o;cer understands that in order to
complete missions that often have life-or-death consequences, the team will do
whatever it takes. ;at isn’t always the
case in the civilian world.
“When I came out of the forces, I
had to understand very
quickly that just because
team members are told to
do something, you can’t
assume they will. You have
to follow up,” Mr. Hood
says. “;e hardest skill I had
to learn in the civilian sector was how to bring people
along on a project journey.”
Negotiating that cultural
shift is more challenging
than learning new technical skills, Mr. Johnston says.
;e key is to respect individuals’ unique abilities and
value diversity, he says: “Veterans have to learn how
to deal with people who don’t have a military background, who don’t speak the same language—and
who don’t show up to meetings ;ve minutes ahead
of time.” PM
have to learn
how to deal
have a military
speak the same
Source: Armed Forces Project Management Talent Survey, Richardson, T., Earnhardt, M., and
Marion J., Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Worldwide, 2016. Methodology: 620 U.S.
military veterans were surveyed.
of surveyed U.S. military veterans say
they have experience in managing a
project life cycle.
say they have experience in A Guide to the
Project Management Body of Knowledge
(PMBOK® Guide) Knowledge Areas.
have experience in personal
Among veterans who have served in the military
for 15 or more years…
Among veterans who served in the military for 10
or more years…
80% have experience in planning.
77% have experience in quality
77% have experience in
74% have experience in risk
77% have experience in execution.
78% have experience in monitoring and controlling.
Strongest skill: Project execution
Areas most experienced in: quality management,
risk management and communications
Strongest competencies: communication,
leadership and professionalism