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Russ, at the right, with Scarlett Johanssen

Memorial Day is the holiday where we as a nation, remember those that have given their lives in the service of our Nation. While we are all enjoying our first long weekend of the summer, remember to take a few moments to think about all those who have given what Abraham Lincoln called the “last full measure of devotion.”

And there isn’t any reason why we should wait until Veterans Day to spend some time thinking about the men and women who have spent time in the service of our Nation.  According to the Department of Labor, the unemployment rate for post 9/11 Veterans sits at 10.9% compared to a 7.9% for non-Veterans.

What are some of the challenges that a Veteran faces when he or she transitions from Military life to civilian life? According to Michael Major, SPHR, the biggest challenges for Veterans transitioning from Military life to Civilian are:

*Getting people to understand how their military experience translates to civilian work
*Knowing where to begin, including how to write a resume and where to look for a job

In many cases the job a Veteran performed while in the military has a direct translation into a civilian field.  The military has Active Duty aircraft mechanics, electronic technicians, cooks, medics, administrative professionals, and construction workers.  In other cases the positions in the military do not translate to a civilian job easily.  Many hiring managers would not know the skill set that a Platoon Sergeant has, is the same as a Personnel Manager who is responsible for coordinating all aspects of the lives of 30+ Soldiers or Marines.  Nor would they understand that a Fire Control Technician is really just an Electronic Technician that specializes on a particular type of equipment. In a lot of cases a simple re-write of a resume by someone that is familiar with Military job titles or, who takes time to learn about them will yield immediate positive results

Having spent the last 18 years hiring people for a living I can attest to the fact that at least half of what we call “employability” rests in soft skills. Finding an employee that is punctual, a team player, motivated, and who can follow direction AND lead is one of the biggest challenges that we as employers face. Having spent almost 20 years in the military, I can also attest that men and women who have spent time in the Military have most definitely developed those skills.

The next time you see a resume of a veteran float across your desk, take the time to reach out and talk to him or her. Delve a little under the surface and learn what the true nature of their job is and help them translate the experience into something that’s easier for a non-veteran hiring manager to understand.

Author: Russ Dotson, Brightwing Senior Recruiter