The demand for individuals in the sales, advertising, promotions, and marketing fields has surged as the country continues to gradually recover from the pandemic. Individuals who thrive in such positions possess the exceptional abilities to communicate effectively, perform as part of a team, solve problems creatively, and successfully manage stress.
As it happens, many of these skills tend to align with those possessed by veterans after leaving the military. In addition to the skills already mentioned, veterans often have well-honed leadership skills with the ability to motivate others, the ability to give clear and concise directions, and the understanding of when to take orders and when to give them. These additional skills may give veterans a distinct advantage in such highly collaborative and relationship-based jobs as those in sales, advertising, promotions, and marketing.
The strengths of the skillsets possessed by veterans, combined with the high demand for and the perks that come along with positions in the sales, advertising, promotions, and marketing industries, makes such positions potential strong fits for veterans looking to enter the civilian workforce.
While sales is often considered the lifeblood of many organizations, job seekers may be wary of going into the field. Sales positions are often stereotyped as having excessive demands around cold calling and high-pressure sales tactics. While these presumptions may prove true for some sales positions, others are trending in a different direction. These days, more and more sales positions focus on a consultative approach where emphasis is placed on building relationships and determining customer needs and wants. As such, people who succeed in sales tend to have strong communication and collaboration skills.
Veterans often leave the military having acquired similar skills, resulting in them being particularly well-positioned for the highest-paying niches in sales: technical and scientific business-to-business sales. These aren’t conventional sales jobs like selling a car or insurance to a consumer. These jobs involve highly specialized products like medical devices or energy production equipment that are sold to sophisticated businesses. Individuals in such positions are often called sales engineers as they are rooted in technical information and complex analysis. Sales engineer positions tend to exist mostly in manufacturing and commercial segments. These jobs require leadership and the ability to absorb and understand complex information, while also being able to communicate it clearly to others.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for sales engineers is $108,830. Employment of sales engineers is expected to grow 8% from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as average for all occupations. Sales engineers are in demand due in large part to the growth of technologically sophisticated products on the market. Each new product or service needs specialized sales representatives to explain the nuances of the product or service to consumers.
Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing
Advertising, promotions, and marketing campaigns continue to be essential for organizations as they seek to maintain and expand their share of the market. The median annual wage for advertising, promotions, and marketing managers is $141,490 and employment of individuals in such positions is projected to grow 10% from 2020 to 2030 – about as fast as the average for all occupations according to the BLS.
Veterans can be excellent candidates for marketing jobs in part because companies often seek to attract veterans as customers. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were approximately 18 million Americans who were veterans in 2018; as such, they represent a large and attractive customer segment. Businesses understand that veterans share a common bond forged under one of the most challenging circumstances, and that the experiences they’ve gained in the military often drive the decisions they make in their civilian lives. A veteran is in the best position to know how to reach those customers and to understand what products and services have authentic appeal to other veterans.
Additionally, jobs in advertising, promotions, and marketing can be found in almost every kind of organization, whether it’s an educational institution, a non-profit, or a private company. As such, if a veteran is looking to pursue a career in this industry, they are likely to find a position within an organization that aligns with their area(s) of interest.
Lastly, due to the extensive product knowledge and nuanced understanding of the organization required by these roles, it’s unlikely that any of these positions will be impacted by outsourcing or automation and there will continue to be a need for real-life expertise for years to come.
Companies will continue to need to market and sell their products, and as such, sales, marketing, promotion, and advertising positions will continue to be in demand. With the skillsets that veterans have acquired during their time in active duty, they may find a career in such fields to be both satisfying and challenging while also offering continued opportunities to grow.