During the month of November, the U.S. traditionally celebrates Veterans Day, focusing attention on those who have served our country through military service. It is a time to reflect not only on their contributions but also on their post-service needs, which have evolved over the years. One key challenge today, for example, is how to successfully seek employment after service.
Veterans represent an elite and diverse talent pool available for hire. Most veterans possess transferrable skills, professional discipline and positive attributes identifiable in today’s evolving workforce. According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, by hiring veterans, employers can leverage the U.S. military’s $140 billion per year spent on education and training and tap into the 200,000 service members that transition to the civilian workforce each year.
The current job market in this post-recessionary economy is a challenge for everyone. But, for veterans, that challenge is compounded by the complex issues of transitioning from military to civilian life. Many veterans currently in the job market enlisted in the military right out of high school or college. By doing so, they grew up and matured within the culture of the military, which is different in many ways from civilian life. Their perspective, language and measures of success are different. Thus, when service men or women leave the military environment and begin the transition to civilian life, they find the adjustment difficult. Their confidence is shaken, which, in turn has an impact on how veterans look for jobs.
According to T McCreary, President of Military.com,”Veterans often have a hard time translating their own skills and shifting their mindset out of military culture and into civilian culture when talking to a hiring manager. For example, a big part of military culture is the concept of teamwork – so veterans often have a hard time taking full credit for their accomplishments when in an interview. It’s switching from the ‘we accomplished this project’ to the ’I accomplished this project’ mindset, which isn’t second-nature to veterans when speaking about their experience in the service. This is something we’ve heard from employers pretty often – that veterans who want to make that transition into a civilian job, need to learn how to compete in and acclimate to the environment they’re transitioning into.”
In addition to what civilians encounter when looking for a job, the pressure on a veteran can be compounded, particularly if you factor in things like life-altering injuries, post-traumatic stress or homelessness. There is a need beyond the federal government to help the veterans who have made sacrifices and served our country well. As employers and as corporate citizens, we must provide solutions and tools that will help veterans succeed in their job search and transition to civilian life.
Monster has had a history of support for the military and their families, especially through its Military.com website. Established in 2000, Military.com is the largest military membership organization with more than 10 million registered members, connecting the military community to all the benefits of service. Most recently, the company, in partnership with government and industry, launched the HireHonor™ program as part of its commitment to helping our nation’s veterans find civilian positions that utilize their experiences and skills. HireHonor is a focused, multifaceted effort to meet the employment needs of the men and women who served our country in the armed forces and to support the organizations that hire them. Some of the elements of that initiative include:
- Launching the first Veterans Talent Index (VTI), a groundbreaking report disseminated quarterly to media and veterans employment stakeholders. This ongoing series of reports will provide an accurate and actionable picture of the veterans hiring landscape – not just the veteran unemployment picture. It will highlight the requirements of today’s employers and the needs of transitioning service members, illuminating the gap that is responsible for the high unemployment rate rampant in today’s veteran population. Monster will track and analyze this gap by providing reports to be released on Memorial Day and Veterans Day. These reports will provide insight and recommendations to help both the transitioning service members and their employers.
- Partnering with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in support of “Hiring Our Heroes,” a day-long series of events featuring First Lady Michelle Obama and Gen. Martin E. Dempsy, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The November 10th event served as a forum to announce the new Advisory Committee on Veterans' Employment, Training and Employer Outreach, of which Monster is a founding member. The keystone of the Chamber program is a new web portal for veteran employment that is powered by Military.com and Monster.
- Hosting, in conjunction with the Non-Commissioned Officers Association and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the first-ever Veterans Virtual Career Fair that took place November 14-18.
As long as men and women continue to serve our country, the need will exist to have resources they can leverage when that service is behind them and they are ready to carry their skills into post-military lives. Our common goal as employers and corporate citizens is to work together to ensure those resources are available.