Veteran Career Advice: Transferring Military Training to Civilian Jobs

Veteran Dan Blasini (RN BSN BC) is one of Monster’s most inspiring success stories. After serving in the Army, Dan was looking for a way he could help injured soldiers lead independent lives after returning from war.

He posted his resume on Monster and soon found his dream job — as a case manager for Hanger Prosthetics, where he began a career helping people adapt to prosthetic limbs.

Dan finds inspiration in seeing his patients overcome their obstacles — and he inspires us.

We last checked in with Dan in 2010, when he was premiered for a success story about his job.

In honor of Veterans Day this year, we wanted to speak to him again — and share his veteran career advice for those who are currently making the transition to civilian jobs.

“Every Day Is a Learning Day”

As a clinical care manager for Hanger Prosthetics, Dan works with people who have suffered catastrophic limb loss: not only battlefield injuries but also work-related, accident-related, and disease-process injuries.  His role has grown in the past year to include helping patients work with insurance companies and handle workman’s compensation claims.

“This is a new area,” he says. “Every day is a learning day; every day brings a new challenge, a new opportunity. … I find satisfaction in bringing people together for a better understanding of how technology plays a role in the rehab process. The fun part is seeing the great outcomes.”

The Military Advantage

When asked how his military service prepared him for his civilian career, Dan lists a number of advantages his service gave him.

“The military is basically an international corporation,” he explains. “It has to deal with a lot of logistical planning, budgets, cost containment — all based around a certain mission or vision, and the delivery of a specific service or objective. So once you understand how that business works, when you come to another business … it really helps.”

He also credits the military with teaching him to multitask, to set goals, to be strategic and organized, and to overcome barriers: “I use those skills every day to work on any kind of barriers — personal and professional,” he says.

“The military also prepared me to work with people who have different beliefs, backgrounds, desires — the melting pot of people you work with,” he adds.

“As I travel and meet new people, I can relate to new situations. … And of course one of the big things is how to handle stress.”

Transferring Military Training to Civilian Jobs

Part of Dan’s role as a case manager is to help people redefine (or rediscover) themselves after they’ve lost a part of their body — and that includes helping them get back to work so they can provide for themselves and their families.

“The military has many jobs that basically blend into civilian employment, ” he says.

“It’s important to work with someone who can translate military jobs and descriptions into civilian description. So the employer can relate to what the veteran has done — it’s two different languages in many ways.” is one place vets can turn to when they need help translating military skills into their civilian equivalents; the company’s Military Skills Translator helps them decode military abilities and connects them to employers seeking veteran talent.

But the job applicant’s skills and background are just part of the story he or she needs to tell a potential employer, and Dan shares some advice we often tell job seekers on  It’s important to tell a potential employer not only what you’ve done, but also what you can do for them.

As Dan puts it, “how you as a team member will help save them money, make them money, and make them look good.”

Then it comes back around full circle.

Dan also stresses the importance of continuing education: “You have experience, but you may have to augment that with education or training to make you a viable candidate.”

And then there’s networking. “If you don’t knock on doors, they won’t open, ” he says. “You’ve got to network with confidence, and you’ve got to ask for help. … It can be hard for service people to ask for help, but the thing to remember is that you ask for help now, and then you can turn around and help other people later on.”

“Suffered for Four Years, to Live Large for Forty”

Dan says that new vets have to keep an open mind when coming into a civilian career — and he believes that the military helps create that adaptability.

“A lot of times in the military you may not know where you’re going, and you have to adapt to any situation, ” he says. “So when you start a new role you have to learn that new environment and what to do so you’re successful.”

He says that, often, success has to do with work ethic. His story of inspiration didn’t come without a lot of hard work: after his military service, he had a family to support and worked full-time while also going to school full time, to prepare himself for a great career.

As he says, he “suffered for four years, to live large for forty.”

And he’s still working hard — his next big step? “I still have goals for my MBA — so that’s the next level.”

Originally posted on The Monster Blog

Link to original postOriginally published on MonsterThinking

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