By Diane Hudson
Many companies recognize, recruit, and use the value offered from veterans entering the corporate workforce. Military-friendly companies value your leadership skills, diversity, commitment/discipline, training, flexibility / adaptability, and "in-the-trenches / can-do" attitude and work ethic.
A number of companies that recruit veterans also have internal veterans' programs.
For example, Booz Allen Hamilton has such a program, as they value the knowledge, experience, and credentials of veterans. They have created a program so veterans are introduced to the "corporate culture," and the non-military employees are introduced to the "military culture," joining the workforce and creating a mutual understanding and respect.
Many times I work with my clients to “think outside of the box” and consider positions of interest, e.g., if a client tells me he wants to be an astronaut and he is past the age limit, then I may suggest looking for jobs in the space industry that complement his skill sets.
For example, an IT specialist in the military could look for IT/systems design positions with NASA or SpaceX.
Other job categories include personal protection, professional trainer, medical field (dental hygienist, physician, medical administrator, assisted living professional, EMT), the aviation field (pilot, maintenance, operations), construction, and so much more.
Below are some examples of where to begin your military-friendly job search.
Government / Department of Defense contractors value and recruit veterans, as oftentimes, the work you performed in the military is directly aligned with the work needed by the contractor. You may even be able to step into the equivalent job, in the same location, you held in the military.
Additionally, many DoD contractors require their employees to hold security clearances. If you have a security clearance when you leave the military, you may want to leverage that credential, and apply for jobs with DoD contractors. If you already have a security clearance, then you are highly desired by many DoD contractors, and your hiring process may even be expedited.
Interest in hiring veterans is not limited to DoD contractors. Many other organizations, companies, and state and local governments are also very interested.
The military defends the homeland against threats from foreign entities. Consequently, as a service member, you are trained in security, anti-terrorism, and force protection, at a minimum. Your skills and knowledge of security may be a benefit to an employer seeking an expert in security operations and / or law enforcement.
However, you do not necessarily have to "walk the beat." Your skills may translate to managing a security operation for any type of company: creating security plans, developing contingency security plans for a company or other organization.
The US federal government offers veterans' preference points to service members who were awarded a campaign badge or expeditionary medal or were disabled. Many federal positions align with military occupational specialties, and seeking federal employment can make for a smooth transition from the military.
Executive Order 13518, Employment of Veterans in the Federal Government, established the Veterans Employment Initiative.
The Initiative is a strategic approach to helping the men and women who have served our country in the military find employment in the Federal Government. The Executive Order states the Federal Government will thereby help lead by example in promoting veterans' employment.
One of the leadership strategies calls on administration officials to "create advocates for veterans' employment within each federal agency." All 24 agencies covered by the order have established a Veterans Employment Program.
Here is a short list of the many Federal Agencies that hire veterans:
These types of organizations seek and recruit military, as you are already well trained with hands-on experience in intelligence disciplines. Many of these organizations will be DoD contractors and require a clearance.
Communications and utilities companies recruit veterans to leverage the skills gained in the military specific to communications and utilities. Specialists in network security (also known as cyber security) are in great demand.
Despite oil and gas industry declines, there is still hiring – and you may want to look at available jobs on Hire Veterans:
The transportation industry is seeking veterans to drive trucks and heavy equipment. Take a look at TMC Careers to look for transportation jobs:
TMC Transportation (http://www.tmctrans.com/drive-for-tmc/military-veterans.aspx).
VetJobs.com, GIJobs.com (which publishes an annual list of the top 100 Military Friendly Employers), MilitaryHire.com, and other veteran-specific job boards and information sites provide comprehensive lists of military-friendly companies.
These employers range from transportation, finance, health care, technology, government, retail, security, defense, consumer goods, logistics, to insurance, industrial products and services, business services, and more.
Here is a short list of Top Military-friendly companies:
Your military occupational specialty may be very specific, i.e., accountant, engineer, veterinarian, weapons specialist, chemical/biological/nuclear specialist, pilot, or logistics manager. However, you may also have gained many skills sets complimentary to leadership and management roles within varied military-friendly companies. For example:
Your leadership skills, discipline, and solid work ethic are very desired by many companies, DoD contractors, and the federal government.
Make a good list of all of the jobs that you performed outside of your MOS to determine your transferable skill sets – and look for jobs in other categories. For example, you may have been an engineer, but were assigned for many years as a logistics specialist; you may have been the budget analyst for the chaplaincy; and so forth. Many Service members take on and execute different responsibilities over a 20-year career.
The DoD's DANTES: Troops to Teachers (http://www.dantes.doded.mil/index.html) provides counseling and referral services to military personnel interested in beginning a second career in public education as a teacher. The DANTES Troops to Teachers office will help applicants identify teacher certification requirements, programs leading to certification, and employment opportunities.
You may also consider internships for veterans, which range from new college graduates to professionals. Internships can be helpful with focusing and further developing transferable skill sets. Some internships pay, others are for experience only. If you need to gain some industry exposure, this may be a great alternative.
Here are some ideas:
To identify military-friendly employers, start with general Google searches, Indeed or Simply Hired searches, and military association searches. You may also look at your alumni associations for mentors or leaders in the industries that are seeking military professionals.
Join groups on LinkedIn specific to military-friendly employers, your alumni, and industries of interest.
To aid in locating companies who hire veterans, you can conduct keyword searches using any combination of these suggestions:
Department of Defense Contractors / DoD
Veteran Friendly Employers
Any keywords specific to your occupational specialty (engineering, health care, human resources / human capital, operations management, clergy, accounting, maintenance, transportation, etc.)
You may also want to look at some tools that may assist you in your job search when determining how to translate your military skills to industry. These sites also offer advice and tips for seeking military friendly employers:
There is a growing appreciation in the civilian world of the value of military-trained employees and executives. The employers and resources listed above are just a starting point.
Job-Hunt's Job Search Expert for Veterans, Diane Hudson is a military transition job-search strategist and career coach. She designs and composes military conversion resumes and helps position service members for employment in corporate or Federal America. Diane holds eight industry credentials including Certified Leadership & Talent Management Coach and Federal Job Search Trainer & Counselor and owns Career Marketing Techniques.