The men and women of America’s armed forces certainly contribute a lot to our nation during their service. But it’s misleading to believe that the skills and knowledge they gain can’t carry over to civilian life. Veterans from all branches of the military have a lot to offer after their tours of duty end. However, the fact that many veterans report having trouble finding work after their military service ends speaks to a larger problem. Part of that might be due to many employers not being aware of the contributions veterans can make in the private sector. Or they may be reluctant to hire veterans for other reasons based on misconceptions about them. If you’re an employer unsure about how veterans can become valuable members of your business’s team, here are some things you should know about hiring veterans.
Veterans Are Talented
If you think veterans re-enter civilian society having learned nothing during their service other than how to clean a rifle or march in a straight line, you’re wrong. Today’s military is extremely sophisticated, and many veterans receive training that can be applied to numerous industries. They may have experience that can translate in areas such as health care, logistics, engineering, administration and many others. The training they receive in these areas through their service may put them toe-to-toe with any other job candidate out there in terms of qualifications. In many instances, veterans will even be head and shoulders above others. Employers shouldn’t assume that everything veterans learn in the military is combat-related.
Veterans Are Creative Thinkers
Many employers need people who not only are skilled and talented but also capable of thinking on their feet and being creative problem-solvers. Unfortunately, one of the most persistent stereotypes about servicemen and women is that they are only good at following orders. Although it’s true that veterans have learned how to work well with their teammates in a highly regimented environment, that doesn’t mean they are unthinking robots. The truth is that the military values quick thinking and creative problem-solving as much as any other entity that operates in a high-pressure environment, if not more. Employers who hire veterans quickly come to understand that veterans can think for themselves.
Veterans Are Just Like You
Another one of the most hurtful and persistent myths surrounding veterans is that most of them suffer from some type of post-traumatic stress disorder related to their time in the military. Although it is true that many veterans return home from overseas bearing psychological aftereffects of their service, the fact is that the majority of veterans are just as well adjusted as anyone else in the workforce. Employers who worry that veterans will be prone to mood swings or be psychologically fragile must remember that most veterans do not experience the types of traumatic combat experiences that lead to PTSD or other mental health issues. Most veterans spend their time in the service fulfilling support roles and in non-combat positions.
Veterans Are Team-Oriented and Results-Focused
The military teaches servicemen and women to function as a team that is working toward a common goal. There’s little doubt that any workplace could benefit from that. Veterans who return home to the workforce bring with them a team-oriented attitude and a results-focused mentality that can translate easily into the workplace. Whether the position is on a factory floor or in a sales office, a veteran is likely to be at home and ready to make a positive contribution to the team’s goals.
Our nation’s veterans already have given more to their fellow Americans than could be reasonably expected of anyone — and yet they still can give so much more. If you’re searching for strong candidates for open positions at your workplace and you haven’t actively considered hiring veterans, give them another look. They deserve the chance to continue contributing to our country in more ways than one.