Home > Uncategorized > Why hire a veteran?

Why hire a veteran?

A story about veterans struggling to find satisfying work after leaving the Armed Forces came up in my social media feed.  There were comments about some military trades having no application anywhere else and this idea that you needed a pile of relevant training to have a career.  I felt compelled to comment on it as well and expand on it here.

Let’s start with what a career is.  I believe that a career is work of any type that will be long term, pay the bills, and possibly provide opportunities for advancement provided you have the aptitude.  I believe this is the essence of what we all want in our work lives.  It doesn’t have to lead to a corner office and that’s fine because most careers don’t.

I know more than a few veterans but my experience in having them work under me in industry is limited to just three.  Their relevant technical skills ranged from zero to intimidating with with very different skill sets but they all had these things in common:

  • They could take instructions.
  • They could give/pass on those instructions to others.
  • They could think for themselves.
  • They could stick to a procedure when it was necessary.
  • They were punctual.

There was more but these are the biggies.  Think about that and how rare these qualities truly are.  Think about that:  Each of these guys showed up on time and I could give them a job to do in a specific way and they would do it.  If constraints prevent them from doing it the way I asked they applied a little critical thought to determine if they could work around the problem or needed to get assistance.  If I sent someone to help them they effectively put their help to work.  Nice.

When you hire someone with a degree you can make assumptions about literacy, numeracy, and research skills regardless of their field.  Those bullet points are what I assume a veteran can do regardless of their trade.  There are other transferable skills for certain but these are the big common ones I noticed.

Of course there are screw-ups in every line of work and there is no guarantee someone will be a good fit for working with you but if the qualities I talked about are important to you then take a closer look at any veterans among your candidates.

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