35M: Human Intelligence Collector

"What the heck does a HUMINT collector do on the civilian side?"


I asked myself that question for months before I got out of the Army and for months after I graduated college--I really needed to piece together how I was going to leverage my unique (and hard won) military skills to maximize my chances of getting a civilian job--the process is long from over.

So, how have I used my MOS? (If you don't know, MOS is Army for "Military Occupational Specialty"--what folks in the civilian world call a "job.")

Well, for me, it's been quite a challenge. Mostly I've just relied on the fact that I'm Semper Gumby, though that's hardly in the official job-description (and should apply to any military job for that matter).

For people looking to get back into defense, for example, citing HUMINT jargon is acceptable. For a dude who wants to leave defense entirely in the rear-view and (eventually) move into actuarial science--well, it's a bit of a challenge.

Let me give you a real-world example of how I'm having to use my MOS in my civilian career...

This was/is my grand networking plan:

Step 1: Network

Step 2: Keep Networking

Step 3: Get Creative About Networking

I think I pretty much have Steps 1 and 2 down; but, it's Step 3 for which I'm really going to need to leverage my MOS. 

How Being a HUMINTer Will Help Me Get Creative About Networking

Being a natural born bullshitter is what got me through Steps 1 and 2--but, being a trained HUMINTer is what's going to get me through Step 3. 

One of the things we learn in the HUMINT world is how to find people (basic research, really), determine if they are useful (for whatever purpose we may have in mind), and bring them into our little world of "help me help you."

Not much seems different from the job world--it's all about connecting with (the right) people and giving them a reason why they'd want to talk to you.

The Plan As It Stands 

A) Use open source data (mostly LinkedIn, the actuarial directories, forums, Facebook, Twitter, and blogs to determine who would be the best person (people) to network with in the field that I want to get into.

B) Become very familiar with each potential "lead" and put together a networking plan. (Right now I am just using Google Docs/Spreadsheets to keep a running list of leads and their various attributes--nothing fancy).

Here's an example of what the headers in my lead tracking spreadsheet might look like:

Name | Company | Industry | Job Title | LinkedIn Account | Twitter Name | Facebook | Contact?

Obviously that's just a small sample of potential headers; but, you get the idea.

C) Rank order each lead based on compatibility and other various subjective factors.

D) Initial Contact

E) Rank order based on initial contact

F) Set appointment for information interview (phone or in person--often this will be lunch or coffee).

G) Prepare for interview

H) Conduct interview (take notes)

I) Review interview notes

J) Send note of thanks and suggest second contact

K) Follow up in regular intervals

L) Repeat

Anyway, I'm just spit-balling with all of this; but, I think one can see how techniques that I've learned through my military training have the ability to greatly assist my creative networking strategy.

The "So What?"

You don't have to have an intel background to leverage your military skills during a job-hunt. In fact, I didn't really even use the military jargon that we HUMINTers learn in the schoolhouse to describe my creative networking process; I could just have easily written this from the viewpoint of an MP or an Infantryman.

Face it y'all, we learned a lot of good stuff in the military that may not always be readily obvious; but, it's there . . . the military is full of SOPs and systems--systems thinking is excellent for developing any kind of plan. So, whether you're intel or supply, whether you're looking to create a networking plan or a solution to a personal conflict at work, try and think back to your MOS and the things the Army taught you.


There's a reason people want to hire vets--we've got some pretty dope skills. Anyway, that's all I'm gonna say about my networking plan and my MOS. What kinds of things have you used your MOS for on the job or during the job hunt? I'd love to hear your story in the comments below!


In the future I'll come back to this networking plan that I'm working on and share it with the community--first I want to test it out and work out the kinks. Until then, good luck and keep on keepin' on.

About the Author: Anton Rasmussen is an Army veteran and George Mason University alum. Presently he works as a writer, researcher, and actuarial student. He’s also on a quest to complete seven major life goals at http://doamazingshit.com

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AuthorAnton Rasmussen