Highly skilled and dedicated, military veterans have traveled the world and have unique insight and specialized experience to offer employers. Positions in the military encompass many skills, roles and industries, just as they do in the civilian job market.
When veterans return to civilian life and begin searching for jobs, they often face stereotypes and other challenges in finding positions with employers who understand the quality of their experience and their true needs. Companies should not overlook the veteran workforce and instead implement hiring initiatives focused on giving veterans renewed purpose and making the most of their valuable skillsets.
Benefits of Hiring Veterans
Choosing the right fit for the job and the company’s work culture is important to the success of all. Beyond stereotypes and assumptions of experience based on resume bullet points, consider these benefits to hiring veterans:
Veterans are dedicated, coming from a culture built on accomplishment and achieving a mutual goal
Veterans possess strong leadership qualities
Veterans know when to trust their intuition and make informed decisions
Veterans are honest and responsible
Veterans are highly independent yet work extremely well in teams
Veterans are hard workers who are extremely focused on meeting company goals in specific detail. If veterans are seeking or requiring further education, the government has initiatives for continuing education while they return to the workforce as civilians.
Employers may also receive excellent tax credits for helping veterans return to work, serve the community and gain a valuable employee. A Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) exists for hiring veterans that have received short-term or long-term unemployment compensation and credits for wounded warriors, for example.
The fact is that veterans are capable of being successful in many industries, from customer service to teaching or management. Veterans are well-positioned to thrive in business careers, particularly because of their dedication to hard work, perseverance and ability to adapt, among other traits. The multicultural exposure and multiple roles veterans have served offer unparalleled value to employers.
Are You a Veteran-Friendly Employer?
By 2023, it’s estimated by the Department of Veterans Affairs that more than 3.5 million veterans will be returning to the job market as civilians. This creates an opportunity for employers and veterans to give back to the community, as companies seek to hire veterans for diverse roles.
Employers looking to hire veterans must ask: Is this a veteran-friendly company and culture? This means providing support from entry to executive levels as a veteran hiring program or initiative is brought to life. When veterans return to the workforce, they want a vocation that closely aligns with their values and commitment to service. Does the position offer a deeper or clear purpose? Are the values and mission of the company well-defined?
Employers need to advertise and share with their communities that they’re beginning a new hiring initiative for veterans. Closely target veterans by creating a specific landing page that lists job opportunities, outlines values and describes resources the company has established for veterans. Examples of such programs will offer ways military spouses and family can contribute to the community and spend time with the veteran. Programs and resources should offer a sense of appreciation and sensitivity.
There are specific groups and popular job search websites that focus on veterans, particularly ones that have “GI” or “vet” in the title and are accessible with a quick internet search. These areas are where employers may post job ads or provide networking opportunities for veterans, such as LinkedIn groups for veterans. These groups help veterans provide tips for job search success: how to get the most out of their profiles, how to use relevant keywords, how to list transferable skills and how to find businesses and industries they are interested in.
Employers should be proactive and reach out to veterans, as their respect for authority may make them appear distant at first. Employers should encourage veterans to embrace the flexible nature of a civilian job role and realize how their skills are truly transferable.
Most veterans are used to straightforward roles with clearly defined responsibilities and controlled cultures. So, employers should be prepared to keep their promises to veterans as advertised in job descriptions and in terms of benefits and supportive programs.
The benefits of hiring veterans will continue to reward the employer, as veterans aren’t afraid of challenges and offer a wide variety of skills and traits to earnestly do their very best in a job role.
Sarah Landrum is a career expert and the founder of Punched Clocks, a career and happiness site for young professionals. Want more advice on keeping employees happy and engaged? Follow Sarah on social media and subscribe to her newsletter.
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