What can job seekers and employers do to bridge the gap between the military and civilian work worlds? A recent survey by Monster Insights called Veterans Talent Index shows that 70% of employers are hiring veterans because they are the best qualified candidates. Over 200,000 service members transition to the civilian workforce each year. They are a diverse talent pool that possesses valuable skills and experience. However, the challenge of getting hired in the current economy is compounded for veterans by the complex issues of transitioning from the military to civilian workplace. The survey suggested steps both veterans and employers could take to improve the hiring process.
Recommendations for Job Seekers
The employer respondents said they are primarily hiring veterans because they are the most qualified for the job. Other top reasons for hiring veterans were for their security clearance, knowledge of government jobs, or because they or a family member/friend were a veteran.
The employer respondents suggested several ways veterans can improve the effectiveness of their civilian job search:
– Veterans need to better convey their skills and experience in civilian terms. They should take time in translating military skills to corporate ones, removing military acronyms and jargon. Veterans should list military skills and accomplishments using civilian or corporate language. See “Related Articles” below for more information on translating skills.
– Veterans need to better prepare for their career transition. The survey showed an increasing percentage of employers who find that veteran candidates are not prepared for a career transition out of the military.
– Veterans would benefit from brushing up on their presentation and selling skills. They need to better prepare for the interview to present their skills and value in a persuasive manner.
– Candidates should tailor their resume and interview responses to the job. Their resumes should be kept free of irrelevant details while emphasizing soft (transferable) skills, such as leadership, team work, and self-discipline.
Recommendations for Employers
The survey recommended several steps employers could take to improve the hiring and retention of veteran employees:
– Employers could benefit from understanding basic military culture, including the values, structure, policies and expectations of the military. This promotes a stronger working relationship among employers and employees who are veterans or family members of veterans.
– Employers should use military language in job descriptions, especially if the job is specifically relevant to a candidate with a military background.
– Employers should make the job description specific to allow the veteran to understand how their skills and experience are applicable and transferable.
– Employers should ask the right questions during the interview process, drawing out relevant military skills, experience, and training. However, the survey recommends avoiding questions about the type of discharge they received, whether they will be called up for duty, or about specific deployments (all of which could be construed as trying to determine if the veteran has any type of medical affliction – e.g., Post Traumatic Stress, etc.).
– Employers should leverage the O*Net’s Military-to-Civilian Crosswalk skills translator to find Military Occupational Classification (MOC) codes for the job they are looking to fill. They can use the codes in the job description to help veterans better understand and relate to the available job.
– Employers should hire veterans for the right reasons. Hire veterans because they are the right candidate for the job, not because it is patriotic or for the tax break. Hiring the right candidate for the job increases the likelihood of employee retention, which is good for the employer and the veteran.
Source: Monster Insights Veterans Talent Index Survey, May 2012
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