As tens of thousands of our brave men and women return home from defending our country in Afghanistan, Iraq, and abroad, they face a staggering 11.7% unemployment rate for veterans. While the job market is improving, there is still a shortage of jobs to cover the rising workload. They have little time to train anyone, so the ideal new hire is someone who has done the exact job in a similar organization.
There is a pressing need for employers to hire these veterans and for their families become integral parts of our economy. Veterans have unique qualities that employers desire, which can give them an advantage in the job search. The problem is getting that message across. Here are some ways vets can use their military experience to become one of the most sought-after candidates in the workplace.
Unique Skills, Unique Environment
Veterans generally have a strong code of ethics. They’ve gone through detailed background checks and character evaluations to even join the armed forces. Now is the chance to utilize military ethics to market a vet job seeker as trustworthy and able to handle high-level, classified information, which can make them an asset to employers.
Veterans come from a culture and workplace that focuses on action and reliability. They have been trained to finish what they say they’ll do in the established time frame. The ability to finish projects in a timely manner is highly sought after in the private sector.
Speak in Civilian Terms
Veterans are a highly skilled and educated group of people. At any length of service, veterans have had hands-on training and education on technical and leadership skills. The problem many veterans face when looking for a job is getting employers to understand the value of their military experience.
The key is to put military terms, jargon, and information into something employers understand and desire. Look at interested companies and openings and research their needs and requirements. Then, tailor the résumé and interview answers to satisfy them. If vets need help explaining their skills, military.com has an excellent tool to translate military experience into civilian terminology.
Less is More
War is ugly. With many veterans coming back from dangerous combat zones, they have stories and experiences of the most admirable pursuits of a soldier. Unfortunately, those kinds of references can make employers uncomfortable and possibly squeamish. It’s best to tone down or remove references of the battlefield when explaining applicable skills from combat.
The office is also a much different environment than that of the military. The military has a strict line of authority and behavioral policies. The civilian workplace varies from employer to employer and is full of different personalities, cultures, and styles. While the “find the problem, fix-it, and move on” attitude of the military is a quality employers seek, fellow employees may be intimidated with military office culture. It’s best for veterans to find an employer that best fits their working style and attitude.
Put Your Résumé Through Civilian Boot Camp
Movin’ On Up has a Résumé Boot Camp to help job seekers make sure their résumé is most effective. Veterans looking to get back in the workplace should put their résumé through a strict regimen of civilian review. If veterans have an industry in mind, they should ask professionals to evaluate their résumé and find out what skills and experience employers in the industry are looking for. Not only will their résumé improve, but it will also give them a chance to network.
Those brave men and women who served our country shouldn’t have to feel frustrated and excluded from finding a job, settling back down, and enjoying the freedoms they fought to defend. As a veteran, what are some ways you’ve used your military experience to help your job search?