Veterans Make Good Hires Though Some Take Months To Find A Job

As America honors its military veterans, there’s news about the difficulties some vets have finding a job. A CareerBuilder (profile; site) survey says 1-in-6 vets report spending six months job hunting after leaving the service. About 1-in-10 say it took them a year to land a job.

Of the 750 vets surveyed for the report, about 20 percent said the biggest challenge to getting hired is the difficulty employers have in understanding just how transferable military skills are. Some of the vets also said they were at a disadvantage because they lacked a college degree, good interviewing skills, or there was just a lack of appropriate jobs in their area.

However, the news isn’t as bleak as the survey might imply. Bill Scott, with military recruitment specialist Bradley-Morris (profile; site), told us, “In our view, we still see this market as strong for veterans.” The U.S. economy has slowed hiring generally, acknowledges Scott, the firm’s VP of marketing and business development. But there are “many opportunities (for veterans). There are employers who want to hire veterans.”

Bradley-Morris is a placement and staffing firm in Georgia, which itself is 60 percent staffed by former military. It also conducts job fairs, operates a veteran-focused job board and publishes a careers newspaper that is distributed on bases throughout the U.S. and elsewhere.

Veterans make great hires, says Scott, because the military emphasizes leadership training, instills a strong work ethic, places a value on teamwork and accomplishment and skills training is about as up-to-date as it gets. Plus, he adds, with passive candidates increasingly reluctant to leave secure jobs or unable to relocate because of the housing market, “This is an excellent opportunity to pursue military.”

The hottest job opportunities for veterans, says Scott, are in manufacturing and energy.

The CareerBuilder survey found employers agreeing with Scott’s list of qualities. Almost three-quarters of the employers surveyed said veterans brought a strong sense of teamwork and a disciplined approach to the workplace.

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So why is it that some veterans are reporting difficulty in finding work? BMI executives believe there is a communications gap, Scott says, explaining that there are all sorts of training, placement and other free services specifically for ex-military. But, he says, “There is no one place for a vet to go to find out about all the free services.”

SimplyHired (profile; site), the vertical search job board, has added a tool specifically to make it easier for veterans to find employers looking to hire ex-military. Announcing the search tool, SimplyHired described it as a way of filtering the “results from DirectEmployers Association’s list of over 400 federal contractors and “vet-friendly” employers, who take affirmative action to employ and advance in employment veterans in accordance with Affirmative Action Programs, the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA), and the Jobs for Veterans Act.”

The U.S. Department of Labor has also organized 120 veterans job fairs to be held in 31 states this month as part of the HireVetsFirst initiative. Find the list here.

CareerBuilder HR vice president Rosemary Haefner, commenting on the findings of the survey, said, “20 percent of employers said that they will be actively recruiting veterans over the next 12 months.

“Employers value the diverse skill set that veterans can bring to their workforce and how these workers can have a positive impact on their bottom lines.”

John Zappe is the editor of and a contributing editor of John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.


4 Comments on “Veterans Make Good Hires Though Some Take Months To Find A Job

  1. I’m on the team to hire Military for Kaplan University. I am acting as official “sourcer” right now. Can you give me some good ideas as to where I can find recent military separatees. Can’t go through an agency as I’m a vet and want to help fellow vets. The position is in Orlando, FL and therefore they must be local residents. Want more info? email me at

  2. Whether you are an established business executive or a employer on the rise, you may want some help to jump start your career to the next level of success. Career consultants can help you with clear decisions and make immediate, positive changes in your attitudes and behaviors that help you reach your full leadership potential. It can make a big difference in your career, your behaviors in and out of the workplace and create a new and improved self-image of yourself. When I was looking for executive coaches on my last career transition I used the services at The site provides great job hunting tips, career consultants, and executive coaches. This site helped me improve my career, so head on over and give it a try. Good luck and best wishes of success!

  3. Tom, thanks for your comment. I am glad you found success using a career coach.

    I can’t tell if you are prior-military, however, our experience and subsequent advice to military-experienced personnel is not to pay for job seeker services like career consultants as there are so many free services out there that are designed specifically for military-experienced talent.

    Between military alumni networks, military-friendly job boards and job fairs and military-focused recruiters, military job seekers should be able to connect with free assistance and advice if they need it.

    The one exception might be in the case of a veteran’s resume. It is so important for a veteran to have a resume that successfully translates their accomplishments into terms a civilian hiring authority can understand. This is a key element of their job search.

    ACAP / TAP programs provide free resume services. However if a job seeker has been out of the service for a while, or if they aren’t finding success with their current resume, they might consider a military resume writing service that has a documented history of success writing military resumes. This can be especially helpful if the veteran is applying for a federal job and needs assistance with KSAs.

    Here is a link to our advice blog for military job seekers:

  4. Two of my clients are staffing agencies that specialize in helping veterans find civilian jobs, and we hope to see more recruiters encourage employers to take a closer look at what service men & women have to offer.

    This is a direct quote from Keith Anderson at Impact Military Talent:

    “We found that both from a specialization and leadership perspective you will not find better candidates than those who have served our country. The intensive training and experience that our veterans have puts them well ahead of comparable non-military candidates, if you stop and think about what a Lieutenant or Captain is charged with in his or her duties — sometimes responsible for tens of thousands fo dollars or equipment, and hundreds of soldiers or airman, how they serve under extraordinary circumanstances, and are tested under combat situations in high pressure jobs — you won’t see this kind of experience in comparable civilian jobs. These are extraordinary people.”

    He adds, “We have also found a number of companies that share our view of the value of veterans, but there are many out there that have not taken the time to understand what these men & women can bring to an employer – in a job market such as the one we face today, our veterans are facing a difficult situation that has put them into competition with others who have spent 5-10 yrs or more in the corporate world. I hope that more companies look at the extraordinatory talents of these people.”

    I hope so too! I also just joined a LinkedIn Group about this topic called “Hire our Veterans!” and I invite ERE recruiters to join us.

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