Kicking in doors may not seem like an obvious skill set to lead to a career in the PR industry. However, top communications firms are hiring select special op forces veterans and find that their backgrounds are perfect for the field.
PR Week interviewed Chris Erickson—a former Green Beret who now works for Ketchum full-time. Part of Erickson’s job in the Army involved developing messages for cultures. Thus, his background in cross-cultural communications serves him very well in his new career.
Veterans from the special forces bring a new mindset and strong time management skills to the table. With their highly demanding training, these veterans have a highly determined mindset that they will get something done, no matter what.
In addition, these veterans have been trained to look at issues from various angles. Also, being used to life and death situations, they tend to stay calm under pressure.
Denise Bottiglieri, who had the idea for recruiting these types of veterans for the Omincom Group of PR companies, noted that the special ops veterans have trained communications leaders in the importance of debriefing after every initiative, program, or project.
The program for recruiting special ops veterans launched in January 2015. The Accelerate Exbellum program in the Omnicom Group recruits and screens 10 Special Ops Forces candidates and then helps them prepare for interviews. The program selects one candidate to complete a yearlong residency and then guarantees the opportunity to transition into a full-time job.
The company assists veterans not chosen for the program to find a job within the holding company. Omnicom firms involved in this program include:
- Cone Communications
- Porter Novelli
Other major PR firms also have programs specifically for veterans including:
- Hill+Knowlton Strategies
- Ogilvy Public Relations