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Military Experience in Finance

How Military Experience Helps a Financial Career

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How Military Experience Helps: The financial services industry has a longstanding interest in hiring people with military experience, making this a highly valuable credential. Many financial services firms have special units within their human resources departments that focus on recruiting former military personnel, both those making an initial transition to civilian employment and those who already are in the general workforce.

Military people are prize hires for a variety of reasons. They are viewed as being much better, on average, than the typical hire across many highly desirable personal attributes, such as:

  • Discipline
  • Focus
  • Work Ethic
  • Adaptability
  • Resourcefulness
  • Coolness Under Pressure
  • Efficiency

The tendency of former military people to excel in a number of different career tracks within financial services reinforces the demand for them. Additionally, within some financial services firms the network of former military people can be as strong as, if not stronger than, the networks of alumni from particular civilian colleges or groups of colleges.

Edward Jones, for example, trumpets the fact that over 11% of its financial advisors (over 1,500 in total) are military veterans, and has instituted a program called FORCES designed to increase this figure even further. Surveys of that firm's individual clients indicate that military veterans among its financial advisors are rated especially highly with regards to goal orientation, discipline and integrity.

As might be expected, there is a hierarchy of preference for former military personnel, based on their rank and training. Roughly speaking, this is:

  • Graduates of the Service Academies
  • Other Officers
  • Non-Commissioned Officers
  • Enlisted Personnel

The U.S. service academies are:

  • U.S. Military Academy (USMA), West Point, NY
  • U.S. Naval Academy (USNA), Annapolis, MD
  • U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA), Colorado Springs, CO
  • U.S. Coast Guard Academy (USCGA), New London, CT
  • U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA), Kings Point, NY

In short, if you have any military background, at any rank (and this can include an abbreviated period of matriculation in a service academy or of participation in an ROTC program) or of any duration, you would be well-advised to highlight it when seeking employment in the financial services industry.

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