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Friday, November 11, 2011

Many Employers Unaware of Veterans’ Skills

Many prospective employers have little appreciation of the strong skills that military veterans bring to civilian organizations. In my experience as a military veteran and talent consultant, employers sometimes think military experience is narrow or not easily transferred to a business setting. But veterans have a remarkable range of competencies and abilities of great potential value to today’s organization. The challenge has become one of changing some perceptions, or communicating with civilian recruiters and hiring managers the facts about veterans’ transferable skills.

Veterans generally have the inherent and learned ability to adapt to any new work setting. They tend to possess exceptional communication and leadership skills, a strong work ethic and the positive expectation they will function efficiently and effectively.

Based on the work we have been doing in helping to transition veterans to employment in the U.S. and Canada, we see that employers have a number of reasons to hire veterans:

  • Work Ethic – Companies want men and women who work hard and have a service-oriented attitude, and most ex-military candidates find this easy to do.

  • Accelerated Learning Curve – Veterans have a proven ability to learn new skills and concepts rapidly, entering the workforce with identifiable and transferrable skills, proven in real-world situations. This background can enhance an organization’s productivity.

  • Respect for Procedures – Ex-military have gained a unique perspective on the value of accountability and can easily grasp their place within an organizational framework, becoming responsible for subordinates’ actions in relation to higher supervisory levels. They know how policies and procedures enable an organization to function.

  • Performance Under Pressure – Veterans understand the rigors of tight schedules and limited resources and have developed capacities to know how to accomplish priorities on time, in spite of high stress.

  • Leadership – The military trains people to lead by example as well as through direction, delegation, motivation and inspiration. Veterans know the dynamics of leadership as part of both the hierarchical and peer structures.

Veterans seeking civilian employment to identify transferrable skills and abilities that can be applied equally from one job to another and communicate these to prospective employers.

As the corporate world continues to struggle with a looming leadership shortfall, shifting demographics and a growing gap between needed and available skills it makes sense to take a close look at returning veterans.

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