Throughout our military careers, we were trained non-stop. The only time that we weren’t being trained is when we were carrying out missions. After a four-year enlistment, most Veterans have service records filled with certificates of completion. I know that my own service record has certificates from courses ranging from radars to radio-telephone communications, to weapons, to leadership, to firefighting, to detainee operations, and even driving a bus.
When Veterans separate from active duty, they feel confident, well-rounded and capable of accomplishing any task, or at least capable of learning how to accomplish any task. I know that I did.
But the harsh reality is that many Veterans find employers aren’t willing to take a chance on individuals with only military work experience. The reason for an employer’s hesitancy to hire Veterans is not entirely clear.
It’s possible that employers view military Veterans as lacking transferable skills and experience needed to work in a corporate environment. To be fair, most Veterans didn’t spend the last few years learning how the copy machine works, or how to fill out an Excel spreadsheet. And Veterans might not have experience following the policy for processing civilian paperwork, or filing and storing data.
But what many employers and hiring managers don’t seem to grasp is that Veterans possess the skill of trainability. These ordinary men and women, who were once your neighbors, friends, and family were trained to perform tasks and functions that only exist in-and-for the purposes of combat. They understand that they might someday need to use these skills at the risk of bodily injury or death.
If a Veteran can be trained to watch a radar screen and report their findings, surely they are trainable enough to work in your office. If a Veteran had the attention to detail to survive uniform and housing inspections, surely they can be given a chance to learn a company’s method of operations.
And any Veteran who ever requested to go on leave (vacation) while on active duty knows how to properly utilize a chain of command and follow proper company procedures for processing paperwork.
What it boils down to is that Veterans, regardless of their service branch or their military occupation, have accumulated a wealth of skills and experiences. But the most important skill that employers should be looking at is that Veterans are trainable. They can do anything… if given the opportunity and a little training.
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Military Connection: Trainability is a Skill: By Joe Silva