By Nick Busse and Sean Loboda
Last year, the patriotic men and women who joined the military to defend the U.S. after the 9/11 attacks and remained in the service as a career started becoming eligible for retirement. Many are now seeking private sector jobs, along with veterans who served for shorter periods.
Whether you’re a veteran who spent three to five years or two decades in the military, companies are now looking for skilled employees up to the challenge, and your service qualifies. Here’s a look at why it makes sense for you to prioritize companies that recruit and retain veterans and some tips to help you find a civilian job where your skills are recognized and valued.
Why You Should Focus on Companies that Prioritize Hiring and Retaining Vets
Our company, Skillbridge Program connects veterans who are looking for a post-military career path with companies like ours that value veterans’ skillsets and have strong veteran recruiting and retention programs. It’s worth exploring opportunities for career training and development that are available through programs like SkillBridge. The Transition Assistance Program (TAP) from Veterans Affairs also provides valuable resources to service members.
What Veterans Need to Know About Private Sector Work
When making the transition to the private sector, some veterans find it difficult to adjust to the ambiguity inherent in civilian jobs. If that’s your experience, it’s understandable because military jobs are more highly structured, with clearly defined roles, paygrades, ranks, career paths, etc. You may wonder how to map your military job to civilian roles.
One solution is to focus on the skills you acquired during your service rather than the job you did. As a veteran, you have incredibly valuable skills, such as the ability to adapt and change direction quickly and the discipline to follow through on difficult tasks. So, that puts you ahead of the curve if you’re able to convey those skills to potential employers rather than focusing on the specific job you did in the military—unless it’s directly relevant.
LinkedIn, the social media site for professionals, is a great way to get that skills message across, so setting up a LinkedIn page is a must. Finding mentors through programs like Veterati or the K.E.Y. Mentor Group can also be valuable. Both are excellent groups for professional networking, and veterans who are reentering civilian life can get tips on setting up a LinkedIn account, building a résumé and presenting their skills in civilian-friendly terms during job interviews.
Bringing Veterans and Jobs Together
As a veteran, you have a unique skillset, so virtually any private sector organization should be able to find a role that is a good fit for you. That said, not all companies have made the commitment to put the assets in place to support veterans. To identify the ones that have, talk to veterans who are already in the organization if possible. Ask corporate recruiters about their veteran recruitment efforts and employee resource groups that focus on veterans.
Successfully transitioning from military duties to the civilian workforce requires commitment and flexibility from you as an individual. But it also requires a commitment from prospective employers. When you’re looking to get hired after your military service, find a company that expresses an obligation to extend a helping hand to veterans. You’ve earned it.