Leaving the military and entering the civilian workforce can be scary and stressful.
The veteran unemployment rate is reported to be at 3.2% as of September 2019.
How can we improve this rate? There are several things that need to be improved, but let’s tackle how we can make the job search easier with a few tips.
Veteran Employment Issues: The Facts
Some civilian employers avoid hiring veterans despite their strong work ethics and experience. There are often some stigmas and oversight when veterans apply for employment.
Statistic 1: Some employers fear to hire US Veterans due to the stigma of mental health.
- About 11 to 20% of veterans who served in operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom have PTSD in a given year.
- 12% of Veterans who served during the Gulf War
- It is believed that 30% of Vietnam veterans have had PTSD in their lifetime.
Statistic 2: Skill translation
In a 2018 report, it stated that nearly 200,000 service members return to their civilian communities. These military members have a lot of experience and education behind them. However, the skill translation from the military work experience to the private world is often misrepresented on resumes. Hiring managers cannot relate to or understand the jargon used.
Statistic 3: Job Retention
As a veteran, you go from leading, managing, and making life or death situations. You are trained to take charge of the current situation. The culture is different and can be a shock and struggle to adjust to. Often veterans find themselves starting at an entry-level position, the pay is lower than expected and pretty much starting all over again. The expectations
In a survey by My Vet Advisor they found that:
- 43% of respondents stayed at their first job outside of the military for 12 months.
- Only 15% of respondents are currently working in their first post-military job.
Officers reported longer average job tenure than enlisted personnel.
Nearly 1,500 veterans completed this survey.
Statistic 4: Unknown Resources
As our young veterans process out of the military, there are classes and support. However, knowing where to and how to land that first job out of the military is challenging. There are many resources, but know where to begin can be challenging.
Some Employers Feel That There Are Disadvantages to Hiring Military Veterans
Disadvantage #1: Directness/Rigid
Here’s what employers think:
In many cases, Veterans do not mix words. They are direct when it comes to work. They can be intense and rigid in the way they interact with others.
Disadvantage #2: Fear of future deployments
If a military member is a Reservist, some employers fear their new employee may need to deploy, leaving them to fill that position until the employee returns.
Disadvantage #3: Skill Translations
Many private companies do not understand the skillset obtained by the veteran during their time of service.
Turn Those “Disadvantages” Into Your Strengths
Do not let your military experience go now as you enter the civilian workforce. Take those “disadvantages” and turn them into an advantage.
Highlight your work ethic and leadership skills. Let companies know that you are the go-to, get the job done and motivator of others to complete the tasks, and complete it well.
Advantage #1: Ingrained leadership qualities
The military has trained you to get the job done and get behind others to work as a team to complete the mission. This is a quality needed in a team environment, and you are the one to bring it!
So, so, so many private companies struggle with leadership. They struggle with having a team ACTUALLY operate as a team. You will solve this problem for them.
Advantage #2: Independent and dedicated
Veterans get the job done. It’s as simple as that.
Did you know that many employers struggle with employees…
- Showing up on time (this is HARD for employers to get employees to do! To you, it probably sounds ridiculous)
- Employees spending more time on Instagram than working
If you were hired, your employer wouldn’t have to worry about these things.
Advantage #3: Education and skills
Many veterans have received advanced training and/or degrees. Hence, the service member brings a lot of knowledge to the table.
3 Tips To Simplifying Your Job Search and Landing Your Dream Job Faster
Now that we have talked about why it may be hard for Veterans to find a job let’s talk about what we can do to land you your dream job faster.
Ok, time dig into these 3 tips to help get you in front of the hiring manager at your dream job.
Tip #1: Know Exactly Which Companies You Want To Work For
Your initial job search may begin with an online job search site, such as Indeed.com. But do not stop there. Take a moment and think of your top 10 DREAM companies you have always wanted to work for.
Do NOT get bogged down wondering if you qualify to work for your DREAM companies.
After you determine your DREAM company lists, search their site for open jobs.
And, even if your dream company isn’t officially hiring right now, that doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t be interested in taking a quality candidate. Every company is open to hiring if it serves their business.
Tip #2: Connect With Veterans Within Those Dream Companies
Begin networking with other Veterans who already work within your dream companies.
You can begin building those connections at any phase of your military career. The sooner, the better. Stay in touch with people from duty stations; you never know. They may be able to help you connect when it is time to look for that dream civilian job.
Set up a LinkedIn account. Fill out your profile, highlight that you are a Veteran, and include your military experience, duty stations, and skills.
Search for and connect with others to build your network.
Tip #3: Do Something “Outside The Box”
Companies get hundreds or even thousands of resumes for one job.
Do something that can help you stand out amongst the other candidates.
- Create an infographic resume
- Connect on social. Comment on the company’s social media post showing your knowledge of the industry
- Send a thank-you note or email after the interview. Highlight some of the skills discussed during the interview
- Attend networking events or job fairs. Have personal business cards that you can hand out.
- Have a personal website like “www.johnsmith.com
- Don’t be afraid to ask. Ask the recruiter questions and say, “I am the right person for you”