Here at Monster and Military.com, our ultimate goal is to get veterans to work in meaningful jobs that put their hard-earned skills to work in a civilian setting while giving employers access to a pool of largely untapped and highly valuable talent.
Our just-released Veterans Talent Index more than supports the notion that veterans bring a unique set of skills and added value to the employers that hire them.
Employers we surveyed overwhelmingly agree that hiring veterans just makes good business sense – nearly all (99%) employers who had hired a veteran felt their work experience was about the same or much better than non-veteran workers.
Of that, 69% of employer respondents felt that veteran workers perform their job functions ‘much better’ compared to non-veterans.
Bottom line: military veterans make excellent employees.
Arguably, the biggest challenge military veterans face as they transition into a civilian career, however, is finding that common ground among the skills they garnered while in the service, and translating them into relevant civilian workforce skills. No matter what a military veterans’ role was while in the service, there are many skills that translate directly into civilian jobs, it often just takes more digging before those skills become readily apparent.
For example, a military veteran with “combat experience” on his or her resume as their primary role while in the service may have had a secondary duty that falls into program management, logistics, IT, maintenance or even career counseling; all skills that are in-demand in the civilian workforce today.
Contrary to popular belief, less than a third of military vets’ primary job skills while serving is front line combat; the majority of military vets’ primary role while in service tends to fall into the management, operations and support realm instead.
The skills translation issue comes from both sides of the table though; veterans often have a hard time translating their own skills and shifting their mindset out of military culture and into civilian culture when talking to a hiring manager.
For example, a big part of military culture is the concept of teamwork – so veterans often have a hard time taking full credit for their accomplishments when in an interview. It’s switching from the “we accomplished this project” to the “I accomplished this project” mindset which isn’t second-nature to veterans when speaking about their experience in the service.
This is something we’ve heard from employers pretty often – that veterans who want to make that transition into a civilian job, need to learn how to compete in and acclimate to the environment they’re transitioning into.
Veteran Talent: Advice for Hiring Managers
Take the Time to Understand the Vast Array of Skills that Veterans Possess:
Use the skills translators out there in reverse. Do your own interpretation if the veteran you’re interested in hasn’t quite figured that out on his or her own yet. The extra time invested will be worth it; there’s a lot of hidden talent out there.
Don’t be Standard in Your Approach:
Explore not just the primary job the veteran held while in the service, but dig into the vast array of secondary experience they gained. Take the time to coax it out of them, helping them to get out of the “hey I was just doing my job” mentality to truly get at the skills, experience and talent that veteran possesses.
Talk About Your Company’s Mission:
Mission and vision are very important in the military. Talk about your own company’s mission and vision – veterans often don’t know whether they want to work for a particular company or not, but tend to focus more on the job opportunity with tunnel vision. However, a lot of veterans leave their first job out of the service quickly if they aren’t engaged in what the company’s vision is all about.
Veterans are outcome-focused – so the more you can talk about the job and how it relates back to the company’s mission and how their job will impact the team and the company, the more engaged that vet will be in the long-run.