There is a certain culture found in the special operations community. These guys are considered to be some of the toughest, strongest, smartest, and most capable individuals in the U.S. military. It is common knowledge that if you need to make a bad guy disappear or to rescue someone from a hostile environment, that one of the special operations groups will certainly have the tools and knowhow to get the job done. But, how do all of these tactical skills and special abilities translate to the real-world? The answer: very well!

Believe it or not, operators spend a lot of time NOT shooting guns, jumping out of airplanes, or working out in the gym. There is a huge behind-the-scenes administration and planning role that all operators have to take part in. These guys are usually as familiar with their computers as they are with their M4 rifles.

In order to conduct training and real-world operations often long PowerPoints, risk assessments, and extensive planning have to be taken care of before anyone gets to do anything “cool.” These planning and management skills used on a day-to-day basis along with the natural capabilities of a special operator make for quite a marketable profile even outside of the military.

If you search the web and look at management level job postings with big-name companies, you will begin to see there is a clear pattern. They want project management experience, leadership skills, the ability to communicate, and frankly, someone who is going to do an awesome job and not just flake. Do these traits sound familiar? They should.

By constantly having to create and present briefings to high-ranking individuals, operators quickly have to adjust to public speaking. Because teams are normally small, each person is given a great amount of responsibility. Everyone is expected to be a leader and to hold others accountable — this is no place to be a sheep.

Communication is huge, without it everything fails. Whether it’s a training or real-world operation, there are many moving parts and many people involved. Usually, many different assets are in place to assist and support one small team. Because of this, special operations personnel are forced to conduct extensive planning and de-confliction to ensure that all entities understand their roles and responsibilities. Not to mention, everything a special operations unit does is expected to be nothing short of perfect.

There is one catch to all of this: education. There are still many great jobs to be had without a college degree, and if someone has a special talent, they very well may be successful. With that being said, many companies want to see a college degree. Not only that, but an operator coming out of the military would probably like to have a nice chunk of change.

Having a college degree allows individuals to demand a higher salary. The combination of special operations experience and a college education is lethal (in a good way). There are many ways to obtain a college degree. Active duty members can take advantage of tuition assistance and earn a degree online. There are programs that allow individuals to take time off from active duty to earn a degree at a university. And of course, there is the Post-9/11 GI Bill. This is the greatest hookup of all time. It’s a scholarship on steroids. Anyone getting out of the military should make every effort to take advantage of this great opportunity.

Employers recognize the valuable skill set that a special operator can bring to the table. They know they’re tough, hard-working, and capable of handling stressful situations. Being able to manage, communicate, and lead are just some of the inherent skills that operators learn along the way. It is important for these operators to exploit their skills and experiences to become just as elite in the real-world as they were in the military.