In today’s Chicago Sun-Times, Francine Knowles reports on the plight of military veterans in finding work after their service. Experts identify three major factors that limit veterans:
1. They tend to think and talk in military language, which doesn’t translate well to the civilian workplace.
2. Veterans don’t know how to market themselves outside of the military.
3. Private sector employers do not take part in programs that integrate veterans into the workforce.
Many returning veterans have skills that employers need, but in the words of T. McCreary, former admiral and President of Military.com, veterans and employers are “communicating past each other.” In my practice, I’ve worked with a few veterans of the Iraq War, and I agree with McCreary. My biggest challenge was translating military language into a civilian resume. At the same time, I urged my military clients to practice describing their skills in language that a civilian employer would understand during an interview.
Another factor impacting this problem is that returning veterans do not know about or take advantage of resources that are available to them. Both federal and state agencies offer special services to help veterans find jobs. Private groups also offer support. We are in a difficult employment market for everyone. Every job seeker needs to take advantage of any resource that is available.
Every Memorial Day we honor veterans with parades and ceremonies. This year, the best way we can show respect to returning military personnel is to help them find work. Three cheers to Francine Knowles and the Sun-Times for this great article and the resource list that accompanies it.
I did not provide links to the articles because I could not find them on the Sun-Times website. Below are links to web resources listed in the accompanying article: