How Speaking Project Management Solves the Military Transition Mystery

Manager pushes hire button

Many organizations say they love to hire Veterans, and I am sure that they do. However, I am also sure, based on years of experience and hundreds of conversations, they struggle doing so. One of the primary reasons is that they have extreme difficulty categorizing a Veteran and his or her experience, so they don’t really understand how or where to place us.

This problem is exacerbated because a large majority of us Veterans don’t know how to help employers place us either. Since we don’t know what we don’t know, we can’t translate our experience and talent into knowledge, skills, and abilities that civilians can understand and more importantly, can act on.

Presenting one’s military experience in terms of project management instantly solves this problem!


1) They know what to call you

When a Veteran shows up talking about their ability to initiate and plan projects, their skill in forming, developing, and leading project teams, their ability to manage risks and quality, and their commitment to driving schedules and achieving project deliverables, the hiring manager recognizes she’s talking to a project manager! BOOYAH! She now knows exactly which title to give you now!

2) They know where to put you on the organizational chart

Now that she knows you’re a project manager, she also knows exactly where to assign you within the organization, who you’ll report to, and what they can expect from you in support of the organization’s mission. They see you as a team member!

3) They know how much to pay you

Knowledge of your familiar title and position also helps the hiring manager figure out what salary band to place you in! Your market value is easily assessable now, for both of us, the hiring manager and the Veteran! You can research what project managers in your desired industry and company should start at; and rise to. She knows how to assess your performance and what size raises and bonuses to pay you.

4) They know how to develop and promote you

Speaking of bonuses, since I, the hiring manager now know what you do, how you do it, and how you should do it, I know when and where to promote you! You sit in a project management position, delivering success and value project after project, and I promote you through levels one through three, then senior, then into the project management office, and then into associated roles you might like. Or whatever internal career track we have laid out for project managers.

5) They understand and appreciate the value you bring them

This one actually precedes the others as it’s the culmination of them. They are the details I derive when back planning from the foreknowledge gleaned by knowing you’re a project manager! When you show up and sound like a project manager in your speech, use projects to reference your performance and success, and show me examples of your project management mindset when problem solving, our interview is much more focused, clear, and sound. For both of us! Since I recognize you as a project manager, I understand the incredible value you bring to our organization, and since you understand how I’ll see you, I can continually reinforce it during our time together.

Sum Up

In summary, when your resume depicts in the lexicon of project management, and you think and talk like a project manager, civilians immediately recognize what you can do for their company! This means:

  1. They know what title to give you
  2. They know where to place you when they hire you
  3. They know what salary to give you
  4. They know how to develop you as a professional within their company
  5. They can hire you, because they recognize you!

Dr. Eric Wright is a two-service, two-era Military Veteran; Co-Founder and CEO of Vets2PM; an experienced, credentialed project manager and mentor; and an entertaining instructor/public speaker on project management, PMI’s PMP and CAPM exams, and on project manager development. He helps Military Veterans become Project Managers through inspiration, training, preparation, and presentation to the PM hiring community. For more information, please visit