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Hiring Veterans: Why Veterans Make Excellent Employees

Hiring Veterans: Why Veterans Make Excellent Employees

Contributed by Alan Rohlfing

Nearly a year ago, I posted one of my first blogs for Military Connection, one that had a focus on why employers should hire members of the military community. It was called “At Least Ten Reasons to Hire Veterans,” but by the time I reached the closing paragraph, I had parlayed that into 25 reasons. Although I didn’t want to just rewrite that original post, I did want to take a closer look at some of those elements on my list. If you’re an employer reading this, you either already ‘get it’ or maybe my words will encourage you to seek more Veterans for your open positions. If you’re a jobseeker with military experience, once again I encourage you to take inventory of the items on this list and use them to sell yourself…both on your resume and in the interview.

Across the various workforce development groups I’ve been a part of over the last ten years or so, my teammates and I have spoken to and worked with literally thousands of employers. When we’ve had those conversations, here are some of the reasons why Veterans make excellent employees…

Leadership experience. At the top of nearly every employer’s wish list is to on-board someone who can make a sudden and lasting impact on their workforce, someone who has already successfully held positions of leadership. If those positions happened to have involved troops, it might have ranged from leading just a few men and women in the early stages of a military enlistment, to serving at the helm of thousands of warriors near the end of one’s career. The successes and failures, and the subsequent growth from lessons learned, can help develop a maturity that’s hard to find. And those that have successfully led men and women in uniform haven’t always been at the top, so they usually have a keen ability to work as either a team member or a team leader…and they can give or follow directions, depending on the needs of the organization.

Performance under pressure. While I typically avoid blanket statements, I’m comfortable saying that everyone in uniform is trained to do their job under less-than-ideal conditions or in a ‘lives depend on it’ scenario. I’ve been in units that trained at every turn for their wartime mission, taking every opportunity to train in the dark, in the rain, in the cold, and without a second to spare. Every training event is essentially a rehearsal for an eventuality most of us pray will never come. A by-product of that training, for many, is the ability to work efficiently and diligently in a fast-paced environment. A sought-after skill for many hiring managers, for sure.

Strong work ethic. If there’s one attribute that employers seem to assign to military jobseekers more than any other, it’s this one. Whichever branch of service, in whatever part of the world…those in uniform know what hard work looks like. For some, the work ethic comes naturally; for others, it comes after being honed in countless situations and unforgiving conditions. In either case, a strong work ethic, coupled with systematic planning and organizational skills, can do wonders for a workforce.

Specialized, advanced training and technical skills. Whether hiring managers are looking for those with the latest training and certifications in IT or someone who has the transferable skills of a commercial truck driver or First Responder, the specialized job training that military schools provide are world-class. Regardless of the industry in which an employer’s open positions lie – transportation, logistics, intelligence, manufacturing, or any other – there are folks transitioning from active military service or still serving in the National Guard & Reserve that are ready to fill them.

Discipline, with a healthy dose of flexibility and adaptability. One definition of discipline is “training to act in accordance with rules.” Combine that with the ability to flex and adapt and you have a potential workforce all-star who can adjust and excel at whatever the corporate environment throws their way.

Attention to detail. Long considered a hallmark of military Veterans from every branch of service, detail-oriented employees are also on most employers’ wish lists. That soft skill – being able to spot whether things are as they should be or corrections are needed – is one that comes more naturally the more it’s put into practice. It also often comes with a host of similar traits, such as a commitment to excellence, a history of meeting standards of quality, and a respect for procedures and accountability.

So there starts another list…one that goes into just a little more detail about why Veterans make excellent employees. To all you small business owners and hiring managers out there, I highly encourage you to connect with job-seeking Veterans (and those Military Spouses, too) for your open positions…you’ll be glad you did.

Until next time…

2017 Jobs For Heroes Act Helps Servicemembers Obtain Commercial Driving Licenses

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By Debbie Gregory.

A bipartisan bill was introduced by Senators Thom Tillis of North Carolina, John Cornyn of Texas and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts that would streamline the process of applying for a commercial driver’s license for active duty, reservists and veterans.

Previous legislation, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act of 2015 provided similar benefits to veterans applying for their CDL licenses.  The current legislation would permanently extend the same benefits to those who are still in uniform.

The proposed legislation will make permanent a two-year exemption issued by the Department of Transportation that allowed states to waive the commercial driver’s license knowledge test for current service members, Reservists, and National Guardsmen, if, within the last twelve months, they completed military training programs and were regularly employed in a military position requiring the operation of heavy vehicles.

This will help remove barriers and legal obstacles to make it easier for those who serve to obtain commercial licenses.  It will also assist them in gaining good jobs using their skills and expertise, regardless of where in the nation they are seeking employment.

MilitaryConnection.com is one of the most diversified directories of resources and information for military, reservists, national guardsmen, veterans and their loved ones.  Employment is a major area of focus.  There are a multitude of resources for those seeking jobs and we encourage users to check them out.   Military Connection has been named a Top 100 Employment Web Site and in 2015 won the prestigious Users Choice Award.  When the next tour is back home, it’s on MilitaryConnection.com, the Go To Site.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Best High Tech Jobs for Veterans

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By Debbie Gregory.

High tech jobs for veterans are a natural transition, given their abilities to take initiative, problem-solve and make decisions, skills that they honed during their military service.

Those who have served are also well-versed in computers.

For employers, hiring military veterans makes perfect sense. If you’re wondering what some of the top high-tech jobs for veterans are:

  • Project Manager is probably the most natural transition point for most service members. They are in charge of the planning and execution of a particular project, and the foundational skills required are quite similar to what many learn in the military.
  • Solutions Architect is a great position for problem solvers. Solutions architects work with their company’s clients processing feedback on their company’s product, and providing solutions based on that feedback.
  • Software Development Manager is a managerial position, a good use of leadership skills. There are a number of responsibilities, but the primary ones are to get a product out the door or deliver results to the customer.
  • Data scientists are in demand, and the position entails knowing how analyze and interpret complex digital data, such as the usage statistics of a website, especially in order to assist a business in its decision-making.
  • Analytics Managers design, configure, and maintain a data analysis tool that allows them to analyze data and make conclusions about it.
  • Software Engineers apply the principles of software engineering to the design, development, maintenance, testing, and evaluation of the software and systems that make computers or anything containing software work.
  • UX Designers enhance user satisfaction with a product by improving the usability, accessibility, and pleasure provided in the interaction with the product.
  • Mobile Developers will work in the development of mobile applications.
  • QA Managers monitor software testing processes or test new products.

If you have a technical background, consider one of these great career paths.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

 

How the Federal Job Freeze Could Affect Veteran Jobs

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By Debbie Gregory.

A federal hiring freeze imposed by President Trump will no doubt have a massive effect on veteran job seekers. But jobs in the military, as well as jobs at the Department of Veterans Affairs that are deemed necessary for public health and safety will be exempted from the freeze, according to acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Snyder.

“Right now, the system’s broken,” said White House press secretary Sean Spicer, adding that the freeze is meant only to “pause” hiring until further analysis can be done and a plan put in place to fix things.

“What we need to do, whether it’s the VA or any other agency, is make sure that we’re hiring smartly and effectively and efficiently,” Spicer said.

The hiring freeze has come under fire from dozens of Democrats, including every Democrat in the Senate, who say it disproportionately affects jobs for veterans, as the VA won’t be able to hire support staff and veterans won’t be able to apply for federal jobs. The Democrats wanted Trump to exempt the entire VA from the order.

“And I think the VA in particular, if you look at the problems that have plagued people, hiring more people isn’t the answer, it’s hiring the right people, putting the procedures in place that ensure that our veterans — whether health care or mortgages or the other services that VA provides to those who have served our nation — get the services that they’ve earned.”

Not mentioned is staff to handle benefits claims, which are ideal government jobs for veterans. Hundreds of thousands of appeals for disability benefits claims are pending, and critics of the hiring freeze have said it could cause back-ups that would impact those who have served.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Calling All Veterans for Employment Study

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By Debbie Gregory.

In the past several years, quite a bit of effort has gone into helping veterans successfully transition from service to civilian employment. Hiring commitments from the public sector, the private sector and nonprofits have resulted in improved training and support and have helped reduce the veteran unemployment rate.

Despite this success, a great deal remains unknown about veterans employment. Questions remain, such as: what does a veteran career path look like after the first post-service job? How does veteran retention compare to that of civilians? How do employers view veterans in the workforce? Can we estimate the contributions of veterans to the economy, to make a case for hiring veterans?

It was recently announced that the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) has been commissioned to conduct a study and produce a report on veteran employment, retention and economic performance.

CNAS needs volunteers to take part in this study.  Participants will be asked to take three anonymous, online surveys. Contributors will help illuminate how veterans and firms perceive employment and retention issues. If you would like to volunteer for this study, click on the link that pertains to you. Your participation is needed if you are:

  • A Veteran (including anyone who has served in the military, including those who may fall into the other groups)
  • In Human resources (including anyone who works primarily on recruiting, talent acquisition, human resources or related issues)
  • A Business manager/business leader (including anyone who manages personnel, business functions or business units, from first-line supervisors to executives)

Participants may skip questions they do not want to answer. Results from this study will be published in November 2016. Further information and the survey can be found on the CNAS website.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

When Seeking Jobs for Veterans or Military Spouses, What Should You Wear to the Interview?

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By Debbie Gregory.

When looking for jobs for veterans or military spouses, there is one question that always comes up: what do I wear to the interview?

A good rule of thumb is wearing a suit or an outfit that is a higher level than the job that you’re applying for. By dressing a notch or two above what’s standard apparel for the position you’re interviewing for, you’re demonstrating that you care about getting the job.

Additionally, dressing on the conservative side is always the safest bet. The last thing you want to do is stand out for something other than your personality and qualifications.

While a suit isn’t always required, it’s usually alright to inquire about the dress code when you set up the interview.

Even if the dress is casual, make sure your footwear is not. Closed toed, closed back shoes are the best choice for both men and women.

If you’re on a budget, make sure to take a second look at what is already hanging in your closet. While you may think what you have is outdated, often times your look  can be updated by accessorizing with a nice handbag, earrings or necklace for the ladies, and a nice briefcase, cuff links or tie for the men.

If you must purchase something to wear, stick to basic colors such as blue and gray so that your pieces will be timeless. Although black and brown can be worn, they are not as good of a choice.

Don’t rule out consignment shops that specialize in higher end clothing, as well as outlet stores.

The most important take away is make sure that whatever you buy fits properly. You don’t want to look unprofessional is a suit that hangs on you, and you don’t want to distract your interviewer with buttons that are pulling because the shirt or blouse is too tight.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Paying the Debt We Owe Our Veterans: Military Connection

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By Debbie Gregory.

VA Launches Community-Based Employment Service for Homeless Veterans

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is dedicated to giving Veterans the opportunity to return to healthy, productive lifestyles within their own communities. The VA has announced a new program aimed at helping at-risk Veterans secure stable, long-term employment and housing.

The new program, Homeless Veteran Community Employment Services (HVCES), relies on those who know their communities, and can work with local employers to identify suitable jobs based on a Veteran’s skills and abilities. These Community Employment Coordinators (CECs) will be responsible for connecting homeless and at-risk Veterans to appropriate VA and community-based employment services.

“Securing long-term, stable and fulfilling employment is important for Veterans who are exiting homelessness or are at-risk of becoming homeless,” said VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald. “We know that finding gainful employment can change the life of a Veteran. This new program is a key component of the overall strategy to prevent and end Veteran homelessness.”

The VA offers a variety of additional services, including health care, to increase the likelihood of on-the-job success.

An important function of what CECs do is the development of relationships with employers who may be able to hire Veterans. They are assisted by the VA, which provides the necessary support services to ensure each Veteran’s transition back into the workforce is successful.

Veterans have a proven track record of dependability, teamwork, and individual problem solving from their military experience.

If you are or know of a Veteran who is homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless, homeless coordinators are ready to help. Veterans and their families can also call 1-877-4AID-VET to get connected to VA services.

For a list of the CECs in your local area, visit www.va.gov/homeless/cec-contacts.asp.

More information about VA’s homeless programs is available at www.va.gov/homeless.

Veterans have served our country well. Employing them and securing homes for them and their families honors their many sacrifices.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their families. We are the go-to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go-to site.

Paying the Debt We Owe Our Veterans: Military Connection: by Debbie Gregory