Roy Lopez on pivoting out of the military

Industry leaders discuss initiatives and ideas at SHRM 2022 Annual Conference & Expo – Cause the Effect

When returning to civilian life, veterans need to be able to articulate their military experiences to civilian employers, says Roy Lopez, senior military and diversity talent advisor, USAA.

He says, “Statistically, there’s no debate that one of the biggest demands in the hiring force is soft skills – those professional leadership abilities that are ingrained in military training programs. However, it’s hard to articulate those soft skills onto a piece of paper, a two-dimensional resume, and hope that someone can glean out all the goodness that you can bring to an organization.”

WorkingNation sat down with Lopez at SHRM 2022 Annual Conference & Expo in New Orleans.

Lopez says separating from the military is very difficult. “I’d say on a scale of one to 10, it’s probably a 10 when it comes to career pivots. It’s really one of the most daunting tasks that any service member can do other than getting into the military. Arguably, it might be more difficult to get out of the military and continue on with a new career – a new pivot into a new field –than it is to actually join the military.”

Lopez says military personnel should start preparing for their departures well ahead of the official transition training programs that happen within three to six months of separation. “It’s important for them to own that portion of it and understand that moving forward, they have to own their career, which wasn’t a challenge for them in the military. They didn’t have to own their career or nor could they in many instances. So, a year to a year and a half out, they really should start reaching out to those who have already come before them.”

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