How To Become An Operations Manager After Leaving The Military

Posted on Sunday, September 18, 2022 by Faye CoppNo comments

In the military you not only learn how to lead – as well as be part of – a team but you also learn how to make quick decisions and to give clear and concise orders before ensuring that they are carried out. It is for these reasons (and many more!) that Operations Management roles can prove to be an ideal fit for ex-forces personnel who come ready-programmed with high standards and an inbuilt ability to multitask under the greatest pressure. Indeed, the changeable nature of the Armed Forces means that military personnel will have had to make these decisions in a multitude of different environments, including hostile ones, both in the UK and abroad. Experience that their civilian counterparts won’t have under their belts.

Their extensive experience of working within teams and great communication skills combined with their natural flair for project management and knowledge of operations processes and procedures makes veterans ideal candidates for operations roles. In this article we’ll explore that Operations Management is and why ex-military people can make ideal candidates for the role.


Operational management roles are highly responsible roles, often with intense pressure to perform well every day. Ex-military personnel who are accustomed to working in high-pressure environments make great candidates for these roles. But what do Operations Managers actually do?

Well, in a nutshell, Operations Mangers optimise the productivity of a workforce in order to achieve strong results. Operations Managers are an important part of almost any organisation to ensure the smooth running of the business. The role varies depending on the industry and organisation they work for but typically requires developing operations strategies, workflow management, resourcing, enforcing health and safety measures as well as recruiting and training new employees.



Employers will usually look for candidates that are educated to a degree level – or the equivalent – in management, business administration or accounting for an Operations Manager position. However, this is not always the case for ex-military personnel who can bring a host of unique skills and valuable experience to the table.

Though it’s possible that your military experience can get you a job as an Operations Manger, we would also recommend gaining further qualifications such as the Prince2 Project Management certification to help you become a more competitive candidate. Further skills and training can be acquired through SaluteMyJob via our free online training platform.

To help you determine whether you might be well-suited to an Operations Manager role we have compiled a couple of lists below highlighting military experience and transferable skills that are relevant for the job:



Veterans may leave the Armed Forces skilled in the following areas:

  • Commanding and managing a team of fighting specialists and developing their skills to a high level of competence and readiness.

  • Keeping ships, aircraft, vehicles, weapons and other equipment operational.

  • Training and developing subordinates of all ranks and bringing them up to a high state of operational readiness.

  • Preparing or modifying operational strategies and plans after identifying objectives and desired outcomes.

  • Motivating and leading subordinates to achieve objectives, often in difficult and dangerous conditions.

  • Allocating equipment, personnel and resources effectively to achieve clear objectives.

  • Communication effectively with all levels, both orally and in writing through briefings, operational reports and presentations.



There are many reasons why ex-military personnel thrive in Operational Management positions. Below are a few of the skills that make them a good fit for the role:


  • The ability to get things done.

  • Experience of working within and/or leading a team.

  • Strong written and oral communication skills.

  • Analytical and problem-solving skills.

  • Excellent interpersonal skills.

  • Flexibility and reliability.

  • The ability to multitask and prioritise.

  • The ability to understand complex problems, develop practical solutions and implement them.

  • Calmness under pressure.


  • P30 Practitioner/PMP Certification OR Prince2 Qualified.

  • Lean processes and continuous improvement - Six Sigma, 5S, TPM, SPC or SMED.

  • IT skills.

  • Risk and crisis management experience.

  • Strong leadership and people management skills.

  • Be able to maintain and improve quality standards.

  • Be able to maintain and improve health and safety standards.

  • Be able to work to key performance targets.


Ex-Armed Forces are well-used to working within operational roles at all levels, typically in high-tempo jobs with widely varying responsibilities. They are flexible, responsible and communicate effectively with both seniors and subordinates in order to deliver clearly identified objectives and results.

Specific roles that would suit ex-forces personnel include:

  • Site operations managers for house-building or construction companies;

  • Security operations centre managers;

  • Transport operations managers;

  • Logistics or distribution centre managers.

There are, of course, many other positions out there that you could do – so don’t limit yourself by only applying to the positions listed above if your skills are more relevant and valuable to another role.

If you’re unsure about what role to pursue then you could try taking our free personality assessment, which will help you to understand your competencies and working style. Alternatively, you could reach out to one – or more – of the many organisations that can help you to find the right ex-military job.

If you’re interested in becoming an Operations Manager why not browse our latest employment opportunities? We work exclusively with Forces-friendly companies so they understand and value your military experience.

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