Veteran Unemployment

It can be easy to assume that once a service member comes back home from active duty that they’ve already gone through the most difficult part of their lives. 

However, many veterans come home and find that they have a difficult time fitting back into society, especially when it comes to finding gainful employment due to what many employers see as a huge gap in their resume or a lack of applicable skills. Fortunately, there are options available that are specifically designed to help returning veterans hit the ground running after their time in the service.

Challenges Veterans Face

Many veterans find themselves suffering from the stress of transitioning back into civilian life. Most people who join the armed forces did so at a crucial moment in their lives where they were searching for personal meaning and direction which the military provided. However, upon returning home, all of that structure and drive vanishes almost instantly, leaving many veterans listless and depressed.

This tendency toward post-deployment ennui and depression combined with a general lack of structural governmental support systems for veterans can lead to substance abuse, homelessness, and increased risk of suicide. While all of these factors affect a veteran’s ability to find employment, they must also deal with a society that might falsely assume, having gone to war, that they might be inherently violent or incapable of doing tasks without a regimented structure to guide them.

Veterans deserve, at the very least, a helping hand when they arrive back home to acknowledge their service. While veterans returning home from deployment who did not attend college might not have the same set of skills that a recent graduate might have, they still possess many marketable skills that employers can capitalize on. 

To shove veterans to the side when it comes to employment disregards not only the potentially applicable skills that can transfer over from their work in the military, but ignores the fact that they understand how to work hard and are quick to adapt to new work if given the opportunity.

Building Skills

Many veterans qualify for post-secondary education financial assistance through the government thanks to the GI Bill. Attending college, university, or a skilled trade school can be an excellent way for veterans to improve and build upon skills that employers find attractive and also allow for vital networking opportunities that can open career doors down the road. Veteran-specific legal assistance is available for veterans that might need help navigating their eligibility and can make getting back to school that much easier.

There are also many career opportunities for returning veterans that capitalize on the skills that they developed during service. Becoming a police officer or working security in the private sector is a solid option for many veterans, but more technologically-oriented fields like cybersecurity or systems analysis can be great areas where veterans can use the skills that they learned while in the military to great effect.

Even veterans who don’t want to pursue post-secondary education can still take steps to highlight the skills that make them excellent employees. Taking the time to learn how to build a great resume can help veterans often more than they realize by showing potential employers that their time in the military taught valuable skills that can be translated successfully to any number of different industries.

Finding Assistance

Deciding on a new career path upon their return from service can be difficult for many veterans. After having spent years doing hands-on work, developing management, technological, and mechanical skills, many professions can feel unappealing or unfulfilling to a recently returned veteran. Combined with the fact that they are entering the workforce directly competing with people who have spent years training specifically for certain jobs can make obtaining meaningful employment difficult.

Fortunately, there are dozens of groups designed to help military veterans and their families in finding employment across the country. There are government programs like the US Department of Veteran Affairs’ Veteran Employment Center and the US Department of Defense Veterans division that both employ huge numbers of veterans as well as helping them to find jobs outside of the organization. In the private sector, organizations like Veterati, Hire Our Heroes, Hire Heroes USA, and Helmets to Hardhats all work to help retired military veterans find employment in the civilian sector.

Additionally, there are many private companies that make a concerted effort to hire veterans and start them on career paths. Companies like Home Depot, Nike, UPS, GNC, JP Morgan Chase, Cintas, and Office Depot Inc. all have hiring initiatives aimed at veterans that are intended to help place them in the private sector and help them thrive in their transition to civilian life.

Veterans deserve the same opportunities afforded to the rest of society, especially considering the sacrifices many have made at war. Programs that help to build veteran’s skill sets or work to find them employment are essential to helping veterans achieve the American dream.