Are you an unemployed veteran? You’re not alone. A recent study by CNAS, the Center for a New American Security, found that in 2009, the unemployment rate for veterans aged 22 to 24 was almost 22 percent. That’s three percentage points higher than non-veterans.Why? Why would veterans have trouble getting hired?
Some businesses in the study cited concerns about future deployments for reservists. Some worry about the effects of combat stress: PTSD, anger management issues or violent tendencies. Some fear veterans may be too “rigid” or need an adjustment period. Civilian employers also have trouble understanding what you did in the military and how it could benefit them. The Department of Defense, the study recommends, needs to better assist former service members in promoting themselves.
Good news: You can use this study to make yourself more attractive to civilian employers. When you describe your military experience, add specifics on how it can help the company. And focus on characteristics like the following, which businesses say are reasons to hire veterans:
1) Adaptability. You’re accustomed to performing and making decisions in dynamic and rapidly changing circumstances.
2) Character. You’ve demonstrated trustworthiness, dependability, and a strong work ethic. You’re drug-free.
3) Effectiveness. Veterans are known for “getting it done.”
4) Leadership and teamwork skills. You have probably led colleagues, accepted direction from others and operated as part of a small team.
5) Proven success. Some organizations may hire you because other veterans have already succeeded in the organization, shared company values and fit the organizational culture. Use your contacts to find companies that have hired veterans in the past.
6) Structure and discipline. Companies, especially those emphasizing safety, should appreciate your experience in following established procedures.
For a complete read of the study and its recommendations, please visit the CNAS website. You will also find lots of BBB resources to help veterans and active duty service members at the website for BBB Military Line: http://www.bbb.org/us/military-line/