The unemployment rate for former military is reportedly more than 10%, which higher than the national rate. This is a tragedy. One of the factors contributing to this high rate is that folks in the civilian world fail to understand the background, skills, and abilities of former military.
A recent cartoon shows a former marine with a resume that lists “Killed bad guys, 1992-2012.” This is an exaggeration, but it does illustrate the problem that employers have when looking at the background of former military. This is why it is important for ex-military job seekers, when composing their resumes, to use wording and functional job titles that are more understandable for employers.
Another reason that a company may overlook hiring a veteran is that it may feel that the rigor and discipline of military life is a liability, particularly in a more creative and laid-back work atmosphere.
Yet there are sound and compelling reasons for hiring a veteran among which is a simple thank you for their service to our country. Militaryleader.com lists the following eleven reasons to consider and hire a veteran.
Loyalty. “Recent studies show that our military community totals about 49 million US citizens. They possess a fierce loyalty to the institutions, organizations, and companies that service the community.” The majority of veterans view their military service, or the military service of a relative or loved-one, as a “positive force” in their lives.
Computer skills and training. Service members are graduates of the world’s largest system of professional and technical training schools operated by the Department of Defense. Some of the best training in the world is provided by the US military. Often veterans possess experience with telecommunication systems, hardware, software, as well as excellent technical and leadership training.
Highly motivated. The rigors of military training produce highly motivated individuals who set high goals for themselves. One of the more important concepts is that military training and experience instill a mindset oriented to working towards an objective until it is achieved. Now there is a concept that is highly attractive to employers.
Higher educational standards. Over 97% of all military members are high school graduates, and over 36% have graduated or attended college. I have just begun working with a veteran with two master’s degrees as well as a bachelor’s degree, and another with an MBA. Impressive educational backgrounds!
Lower relocation costs. The government covers most, if not all, of the moving expenses for transitioning military members.
Increased productivity. The nature of today’s military demands an individual who is quick to learn and ready to adapt to any situation. They have a shorter learning curve and have more experience leading people and building teams than their civilian counterparts. Further, they are accustomed to learning and functioning with little supervision.
Work ethic. Veterans are dependable and reliable. They seek careers, not job- hopping from one job to the next. Military life instills discipline, respect, loyalty and commitment. They know the value of teamwork and being resourceful. Over 70% of Fortune 1000 Executives are former military members.
International experience. Many veterans have lived and worked internationally, often functioning under the most difficult of circumstances. Further, many speak more than one language.
Diversity. Highly skilled, well-educated female and minority candidates are included in the military pool. Further, they have often functioned successfully on the international scene in a huge variety of diverse cultures and languages. According to the Wall Street Journal, “...the military represents the single largest pool of diversity talent available.”
Pre-screened. Today’s military thoroughly screens its candidates and accepts only the best. A thorough background check is performed upon entrance, and frequent, random drug testing is a face of military life. Additionally, the security clearances held by some military personnel requires an even more intensive background check before that clearance.
Management, communication, and interpersonal skills. Veterans have a higher level of management and communications skills than the average worker. They often brief senior officers on the status of their areas of responsibility. They readily manage multiple and sometimes conflicting priorities. They are trained how to resolve problem and conflicts. They usually have superior interpersonal skills.