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Veterans are valuable in today’s job market: ‘Highly adaptable to change’

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Veterans are valuable in today’s job market: ‘Highly adaptable to change’

When veterans return to civilian life, one hurdle they face in finding a job is demonstrating the relevance of their military skills to the civilian workforce. 

While veterans bring diverse experiences, a variety of skills and their military training to the civilian workplace — all of which are assets, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs — the challenge is making that clear to hiring managers and being given the chance.

“We’ve seen time and time again the barriers that service members face in transitioning to civilian life and the next step in their careers,” said Joe Sharpe, director of veterans employment and education at The American Legion, based in Washington, D.C. 

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“Unless a hiring manager or recruitment team also served our country, [then the] roles, terms and the ever-changing responsibilities of military milestones and experience are hard to translate or understand,” he also said. 

That’s why The American Legion has invested in learning about the barriers that emerge during transition — and advocating for additional resources to prepare service members for the next phase of their careers. 

Veterans bring diverse experiences, a variety of skills and their military training to the civilian workplace — all of which are assets on the job, says the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.  (iStock / iStock)

The American Legion is also helping veterans navigate the intricacies of entering the job market and accessing continuing education, Sharpe said. 

“Transitioning to the civilian world is a life-altering, often overwhelming experience for our nation’s service members,” he noted.

The public and private sector must make meaningful strides to understand the value of veterans joining their ranks. 

“This impacts every member of a veteran’s family and every facet of their lives — from mental health [issues] stemming from service or emerging financial stressors to navigating health care, housing and a spouse’s career.”

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To provide the support that veterans deserve when they enter civilian life, he said, the public and private sectors must make meaningful strides toward understand the value of veterans joining their ranks. 

Man fills out job application online

To reap the benefits of the skills and experiences that veterans can offer a company, human resources departments should have processes in place to successfully incorporate veterans, said one jobs expert.  (iStock / iStock)

Also, stronger investments and a greater awareness of existing programs must be prioritized for vocational training, apprenticeships, education resources and more, he said.

The preparation of service members before transition must be a strong area of focus, too. 

“HR teams can help bridge the gap between military and civilian life and foster a more inclusive work environment.”

Veterans are an asset to American companies, he said — and to reap the benefits of the skills and experiences that veterans can offer a company, human resources departments should have processes in place to successfully incorporate veterans.

‘Unique perspectives’ 

“Veterans bring unique perspectives and skills to the workplace, which can make them invaluable to any business,” said Carlos Lamogliachinchilla, supervisor, corporate talent acquisition with Insperity in Houston, Texas. 

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Lamogliachinchilla himself is a veteran. 

“I spent over 21 years in service with the U.S. Navy, with the majority of my career within the Navy recruiting enterprise,” he said.

Resume issues

Employers should provide training opportunities for upskilling and professional development to help veterans integrate with their teams and grow within the company, said one corporate talent professional.  (iStock / iStock)

To integrate veterans successfully into their employee base, HR teams can consider these three strategies, Lamogliachinchilla recommended. 

1. Understand military culture 

HR teams should take the time to learn about the structure, values and challenges faced by veterans during their service, said Lamogliachinchilla. 

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“In doing so, HR teams can help bridge the gap between military and civilian life and foster a more inclusive work environment,” he said.

2. Be flexible 

Policies that support veterans’ unique needs and promote better work-life balance, such as implementing flexible work schedules or allowing extra time off for transitioning veterans, can help cultivate a supportive atmosphere that facilitates the shift to civilian life, according to Lamogliachinchilla.

3. Offer training and support 

Employers should provide training opportunities for upskilling and professional development to help veterans integrate with work teams and grow within the company, he also said. 

Man speaks to woman at interview desk

“Discipline, motivation and innovation are among the core skills instilled in every service person during basic training,” said a corporate talent professional, “and in today’s workplace … these attributes are invaluable.” (iStock / iStock)

HR teams should also consider establishing mentorship programs and/or employee resource groups (ERGs) that can serve as a platform for veterans to network and share experiences, he said. 

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Additionally, it’s important to consider the benefits of hiring veterans, especially in a competitive labor market, Lamogliachinchilla told FOX Business. 

“Discipline, motivation and innovation are among the core skills instilled in every service person during basic training, and in today’s workplace landscape, these attributes are invaluable,” he said.

“Many veterans are natural leaders who had to quickly learn new skills on the job.”

“By investing the time to cultivate a veteran-friendly workplace, organizations position themselves to acquire a diverse workforce that consistently exceeds expectations.”

Recognizing military qualifications for today’s jobs

Recognizing and translating military qualifications into the civilian workplace comes down to training recruiters and hiring managers, according to Amy Mosher, chief people officer at isolved, based in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

She has over 20 years of global human resource experience and was raised in a military family. 

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Military members “are taught integrity, teamwork, adaptability, flexibility, problem-solving, dependability and other skills that make for awesome employees,” said a chief people officer.  (iStock / iStock)

“They need to understand that a job description and a resume don’t need to match line for line,” she said. 

“They should have the autonomy to translate skills like leadership, project management, training and more to what they are hiring for.”

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She added, “High-trust organizations provide this level of autonomy to think outside the box with translating qualifications.”

The hard truth about ‘soft skills’ 

Veterans are pivotal to today’s job market for two main reasons: soft skills and a tight labor market, said Mosher. 

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“Soft skills are skills that military members have in spades,” she said. 

“They are taught integrity, teamwork, adaptability, flexibility, problem-solving, dependability and other skills that make for awesome employees. Additionally, it’s a tight labor market and civilian organizations and the military are competing for talent.”

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Lamogliachinchilla with Insperity added that veterans, often overlooked and untapped as a resource by business owners and managers, bring a wealth of valuable skills to the workplace that can prove to be an exceptional fit for many organizations. 

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“Many veterans are natural leaders who had to quickly learn new skills on the job,” he said.

“So they are highly adaptable to change.”

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