Hiring Veterans – Skills they bring to the Private Sector

Veterans, back from active duty, looking to build their lives in a civilian world have been known to face some unique challenges. While some in the veteran community have been able to transition quickly into well-paying jobs in the private sector, some have had to wait out a long period before landing a job and still others have been struggling for want of jobs due to various factors. With the US economy being what it is today, veterans have to compete with civilians who have been in the workforce longer and this adds to the list of challenges they face.

After spending time in the war zone, veterans tend to face cultural barriers and have a hard time connecting with civilians who have never served in the military. Most veterans applying for civilian jobs have to constantly deal with a preconceived notion that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is common among veterans, which is not the case. Another common concern is communication. The military has its own set of jargons. This, at times, creates barriers as it can alienate civilians in social interaction.

However, organizations in the private sector are starting to open up to the idea of hiring veterans as a result of some very positive experiences. In fact, according to G.I. Jobs, organizations like Deloitte Federal, GE, UPS, Verizon, USAA, and HP are not the only ones taking in veterans.

Organizations in the private sector have cited several reasons why they hired veterans and continue to do so. In addition to the tax incentives (Work Opportunity Tax Credit), the benefits range from immediate to long term, should you decide to invest in hiring a veteran. New hire veterans bring along with them a set of skills and values that are unique to the military service, which, if transitioned appropriately into the civilian setting, can work wonders.

Noted here are some of the skills and values:

  • Assessing, managing, and mitigating risks are part and parcel of combat training. The ability to plan for contingencies becomes a second nature after living in the combat zones. The concept of security is part of military life. Dealing with human reactions under emergency conditions is not something new for veterans and this experience can be leveraged positively in the private sector. Corporates stand to benefit by hiring veterans in their risk departments.
  • Business management concepts such as planning, organization, problem solving, decision making, and accomplishment of time bound missions or goals are not new to the veterans. Throughout their military careers, veterans have been living and breathing these concepts. 
  • Focus, attention to detail, and handling logistics with a calm and clear mind are critical to having an upper hand in the ever changing environment of a war zone. These abilities are highly valued by companies with a fast paced business environment.
  • Having worked under stress where loss of life is a constant threat, veterans can work under pressure and deliver.
  • A veteran’s ability to be flexible, deal with and adapt to challenging circumstances as they occur can be successfully leveraged in a business environment, which is ever changing.
  • The well-known leadership abilities of veterans can be easily adapted to the civilian management style.

Veterans looking out for jobs in the private sector should be able to articulate these skills not just in their resumes, but also while attending interviews. Understanding the self-branding concept and applying it in interviews will go a long way in landing jobs.

Hiring veterans demonstrates to the community that serving the nation does not translate into lost opportunities in the civil society. Enabling veterans to contribute and integrate into civilian life makes good business sense in the long haul.

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