Decoding Military Occupation Codes for Veteran Hiring Success

As military veterans make the transition from the uniformed world to civilian life, many find themselves faced with the daunting task of translating their extensive military experience and qualifications into terms that resonate with potential employers. If your company is dedicated to being veteran-friendly, this is your chance to simplify this process and bridge the gap.

Understanding Military Occupation Codes and Specialties

While serving in the armed forces, a service member's career is identified by Military Occupational Codes (MOC) or Specialties (MOS). These codes serve as a comprehensive classification system for specific professions within the military branches, each using its distinct coding system. To break it down:

  • The United States Army utilizes MOC.
  • The United States Marine Corps employs MOC.
  • The United States Air Force relies on the Air Force Specialty Codes (AFSC).
  • The United States Navy employs naval ratings, designations, and the NEC system (Navy Enlisted Classification).
  • The United States Coast Guard utilizes a system of ratings.

To attain a military occupational specialty, an individual must complete and excel in the requisite training to earn the certification. Since service members often acquire multiple specialties, the concept of a duty military occupational specialty (DMOS) is introduced to indicate their primary role. While these codes are unique to the military, they can also be valuable tools for employers when assessing veteran candidates for civilian roles with similar job functions.

Why Employers Need to Speak Military Lingo

For many veterans, the job search process post-active duty is their first true exposure to the civilian workforce, except for perhaps entry-level positions they held in their youth. For instance, an astonishing 84% of United States Marine recruits are under the age of 20, highlighting their limited exposure to the civilian job market (Counsel on Foreign Relations). With this in mind, it's essential to recognize that veteran candidates may not be well-versed in the intricacies of the civilian job hunt, which can include challenges like:

  • Navigating unfamiliar career websites and job search engines.
  • Grasping corporate and non-military jargon.
  • Deciphering job qualifications and requirements.
  • Translating their military experience and accreditations into terms that civilian employers understand.

To tap into the vast pool of talent that veterans represent, it's crucial to familiarize yourself with their military specialties and effectively translate them into the specific skills you seek in your hiring endeavors. By doing so, you'll not only show your commitment to supporting veterans but also unlock a wealth of valuable expertise and dedication for your organization.