Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Top 8 Reasons Why Many Veterans aren’t Getting the Job

Today we welcome a guest blog post from Todd Hecht, a Recruiter at Orion International and Navy veteran.

Navy Veteran, How to Get Hired, Todd Hecht

There is no doubt in my mind that the job market is tough overall and even tougher for newly transitioning veterans.  You would be hard pressed not to find blog after blog and LinkedIn post after post that identifies the reasons why the market is so tough for our Nation's Heroes. There is no shortage of people identifying what the Government can do or what companies can do to help our veterans.  

However, as veterans we are taught to adapt and overcome any situation in battle or in life. As veterans, it’s also our responsibility to assess the situation and restructure our approach when things don’t work. Below I outline the top eight reasons veterans aren’t getting the job, some of which may be tough to swallow for many folks and deviate from what you hear in the press.  That being said, it is important to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly, so that we can overcome the challenges presented to us.

Lack of knowledge about what positions are available: I see this time and time again. You go to a job fair, and, as soon as the doors bust open, the line forms at the government contractors' booths.  These same contractors get thousands of online applications per day. While most of these contractors are phenomenal companies to work for, the bottom line is they cannot hire every veteran they see. Not everyone is qualified for these positions. Do yourself a favor and research the multitude of great civilian companies out there, some of which you may have never heard. 

No Relocation Flexibility: Simple enough, right; go to where the jobs are! If you joined the military because the job market in your hometown was not very good, chances are it still isn't. Civilizations since the dawn of time have migrated in search of better food sources. Companies want flexibility, not a stagnant employee. Even if the position doesn't require relocation immediately, will it for advancement?  Head for more fertile ground!

Poor Resume Quality: Okay, so everyone beats this to death. Bottom line is your resume is your sales commercial. It’s your key code to online tracking systems. A civilian resume should never be more than two pages, unless you’re a doctor, author, or scientist that has to list out patents, publications, etc. If you have more than two pages, the first one better have $20 bills stapled to it or most recruiters aren't reading further! Click here for to read more about resume writing.

Inflated Salary Requirements: Review the cost of living in the areas you are looking for work. Remember that in the civilian world Housing Allowance, Food Allowance, Special Duty Pay, Family Separation Pay, etc., does not figure into your yearly salary. Because you made tax free pay last year and brought in $70K as an E-3 does not mean civilian employers are going to match that.

No Understanding of Online Screening/Applicant Tracking Systems: Companies rely on these systems, because they are proven cost savers and turnover reducers. Learn to get these systems to work for you. Experiment and see what works with your resume and application. If you get a call back from a company, immediately change your profiles on other systems with the terms and keywords that got you noticed.

Too many Chiefs: In the civilian world, not everyone can walk in the door as a supervisor. Many companies have Maintenance Managers, Production Managers, etc. that have been in their field for 30+ years and even more now that the economy has faltered. In the military, once you achieve a specific rank, many times you stop turning wrenches. This is not necessarily how it works for civilian companies. 

Lack of Civilian Certifications: How unfortunate is it that a Military Jet Engine Mechanic with 10, 15, or 20 years of experience can’t work for a civilian aviation company because they don’t have an A&P License? Put your GI Bill money to work early in your military career and get the required licensing/education for your comparable civilian job field.  

Underestimating the Recruitment Process: This one is really important. Hiring people is a business decision for companies. Recruiters are often experts at spotting talent and cultural fits for their companies Companies are hiring top talent that fit their organization's culture. Why? Because it reduces turn over and increases productivity, which equals money. According to the Society of Human Resources, on average it costs an employer $4,800 to hire one person. In addition to replace an employee, it costs a company 150% of that persons yearly salary factoring in the recruitment cost, training, and lost productivity. You can see how the recruitment process is ultimately tied to the bottom line.

Keep these eight tips in mind as you transition into the civilian workplace, and you just might find that transition to be easier than you expected! 

Stay tuned for Todd's next guest post elaborating on how to get a recruiter's attention.

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