Veterans can overcome barriers to employment through diligence and a few modern tools. While the unemployment rate among veterans from 2001 through 2011 was significantly higher than that for non-veterans, the good news is that veterans’ unemployment rate has been dropping since then, a sign that initiatives for helping veterans find employment are working. The Federal government website VAntage Point indicates that the unemployment rate among veterans was 8% in December 2011, but steadily declined to 6.3% by June 2013.

When veterans translate experience gained in the military in terms easily understood by civilian employers, a job offer often follows. One resource, the Veterans Job Bank, links veterans with employers through an initiative created by the Obama Administration, with more than 500,000 job listings from employment agencies and employers in the program. The National Resource Directory for veterans also links veterans to initiatives for each individual state with Employment Network programs, Transition Assistance, Education and Training links, and Veteran’s Small Business Development initiatives.

Bridging the Communication Gap Between Military Experience and Civilian Employment

Employers might not understand how a veteran’s specific skills obtained through active duty translate into something practical in terms of workplace experience. Veterans might have a difficult time translating military skills or training and putting it on a resume. By detailing specific skills obtained while on duty in terms adapted towards non-military employers, employers will find it easier to understand how military skills and training will benefit their business objectives.

Use social networking sites, especially those with a professional work-related theme like LinkedIn, to translate experience in the field into terms that can easily be understood by those not familiar with the military. Social media is an excellent job-hunting tool, one that will help both veterans and employers who are likely to search social networking sites in evaluating job candidates. Make every effort to communicate the practical value of skills learned and leadership skills obtained while on duty and how these will benefit an employer. Utilizing social profile sites not related to the armed forces can help prospective employers get away from stereotyping veterans. Highlight specific skills as opposed to general experience. If using technology to search for jobs, utilize the VFW page for protection against identity theft.

You can be successful in obtaining civilian employment after serving in the Armed Forces. Be diligent and positive, and translate the skills obtained in the military into terms easily understood by civilian employers.

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