Posted on Dec 30, 2014
SFC A.M. Drake
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5 Reasons Why Employers Are Not Hiring Vets

Business people meeting.
Department of Veterans Affairs, by Lisa Nagorny and Dan Pick

Why are many Vets still unemployed? The Center for a New American Security conducted interviews with 87 individuals from 69 companies to find out why from an employer perspective. Keep these factors in your hip pocket while you search for jobs!

1. Skills Translation

Unless you're applying for a defense contracting job, you have to translate your military skills into civilian terms. Civilians don't understand your acronyms, MOS, or military terminology, and they aren't going to take the time to learn. Seek out someone from your desired industry and have them review your resume. Or, use a job skills translator such as the one on Military.com to turn your military lingo into civilian, work-friendly keywords. Large companies tend to use programs that screen resumes for proper keywords, so it's important that yours includes these terms. If your resume doesn't contain the right key words, you most likely won't make it through the screening process!

2. Negative Stereotypes

Some employers believe that Veterans can be too rigid or formal, but it's easy to overcome these stereotypes by preparing for your interview. Have a civilian play the role of an employer and ask you questions about your background, experience, and qualifications. Consider recording the interaction on your smartphone or camera, and the interviewer can debrief you on your presentation. Other stereotypes include problems with anger management or post-traumatic stress. If you are faced with these challenges, help is available at VA facilities and Vet Centers. You can also reach out to Give an Hour or other related organizations. It may take some help to get back on your feet, but don't let that stop you from furthering your career.

3. Skill Mismatch

The military helped transform you into a leader with an excellent work ethic. But most employers are looking for specific skills, not just general potential. If you don't have the skills you need, look for ways to build them up like taking classes at a community college. Check out job listings in you industry of choice to identify what employers are looking for, or ask someone you know in that industry, then hone in on the skills you need to improve.

For example, take a community college class and approach the professor about doing a side project or independent study in which you can demonstrate the application of the skills you are learning. Look for volunteer opportunities in which you can demonstrate those skills. You may be able to help out in the business office of your church or local community. Or, you may be able to run the fundraising or marketing efforts for a local charity event. Temp agencies are another consideration; sometimes starting in a temp position may help build relevant skills and lead to permanent employment.

4. Concern about Future Deployments

Guardsmen and Reservists face this challenge, especially if they are seeking employment with small businesses. Be familiar with the laws protecting reservists and be honest about your continuing military commitment. Recently, I became aware of a situation in which a reservist may have misled a company to secure a job a couple weeks before deploying with his unit. The employer was unaware of his iminent deployment. Actions such as this not only tarnish the reputation of the reservist, but also make it difficult for other vets trying to secure a job. Be candid and upfront!

5. Acclimation

Employers are concerned that Veterans don't completely fit into corporate culture. Interview prep can help you practice interacting in a less military, more corporate way. Finding out about the corporate environment is also helpful. What terms are used? How do people dress (business or business casual)? How formal is the culture? Connect with someone in that industry, or better yet the company you are applying to, to find out about the cultural environment and norms.
Posted in these groups: Imgres Employment
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CSM Brigade Operations (S3) Sergeant Major
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Very good points and I agree with all of them, I would also add a few.

- Many veterans have reached a certain rank in the military and are unwilling to start over again. They want the same status/pay they were receiving in the military regardless if they are qualified or not.

- Many of my friends that have retired say the "PTSD" really kicked in once they left the service. A lot of them give an example of staying after work for a short period to finish something when their co-workers are all about packing up and going home. Trouble adapting both from the veteran and the civilian co-workers.

- SMSgt Minister Gerald A. Thomas hit it right on the head. The lack of structure, no matter how long you serve there is always institutionalization that happens.

I am about a year or so from retiring. I will have 30 years of service under my belt and I am scared of the civilian world but, I learned a trade before I joined that I can always fall back on temporarily until I find something. Looking forward to the new challenge ahead and truthfully I can't wait to take off the boots.
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MAJ Multifunctional Logistician
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What concerns me about this is 1, the military seems to have an image problem with the outside.
2, the military prides itself so much on being about leadership and adaptability/flexibility, but this article leads me to believe some of us might not be able to hack it on the outside...kinda like, in the military, everything is a nail, and we made ourselves into some great hammers.
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SPC Terence Q Burns
SPC Terence Q Burns
12 mo
I agree with this statement. Having a career in construction worked best for me and I even started at the bottom. My only regrets was my age...SMDH Not my experience or foresight into any given job.
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SGT Nia Chiaraluce
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Watching my husband transition out of the military after 9 years of service was very eye opening for both of us. He had a very well put together resume and was only lacking technical certifications in his field. He was over qualified for the majority of jobs he was applying for based on job experience alone. The ACAP program needs to focus more on the resume aspect and interview process in my opinion. Today’s job market is very contingent upon selling one’s self, but not as to intimidate the person interviewing you. I have had to take my general resume and cut it down into 3 one page resumes, with a cover letter. The other big part of the process that I think is key is the thank you letter after your interview; telephonic or face to face. Lastly networking yourself before your transition on website like this, linkedin and other job networking sites will set you above your peer group when applying.
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