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Veterans Are a Great Talent Source for Tech Industry


Two years ago, I attended the Team Fastrax Warrior Weekend to Remember (WWTR) in Ohio, an event honoring combat-injured warriors (Purple Heart recipients) and Gold Star families. It’s a three-day weekend for veterans to participate in enriching and fun activities, offering new friendships and emotional healing.

WWTR had a profound impact on how I view veterans and was my first time spending quality, personal time with Vietnam, Gulf War and post-September 11th vets. I listened to Marines talk about their missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. One Marine told me how his platoon fought insurgents for control of the city of Ramadi — one of the most dangerous places during Operation Enduring Freedom.

I learned about the many roles and skills that our service members hold: strategic planning, logistics, IT, telecommunications, contingency-planning, riskmanagement, discipline, team-building, leadership and character-building.

Despite their skills and loyalty, it surprised me how difficult it is for veterans to find quality jobs after leaving the service. Some said it was hard to translate military experience into skills for civilian jobs. Others noted a communication gap between veterans and hiring managers who don’t understand their titles and military experience.

According to the “Military, Veterans, and Society Program,” the Civil-Military Divide — a growing gap between the public and those who serve in the military — negatively impacts veteran hiring and retention. While veteran unemployment is at a record low of four percent, 200,000 service members transition out of the military each year and look for civilian employment.

I learned about the many roles and skills that our service members hold: strategic planning, logistics, IT, telecommunications, contingency-planning, riskmanagement, discipline, team-building, leadership and character-building.

Despite their skills and loyalty, it surprised me how difficult it is for veterans to find quality jobs after leaving the service. Some said it was hard to translate military experience into skills for civilian jobs. Others noted a communication gap between veterans and hiring managers who don’t understand their titles and military experience.

According to the “Military, Veterans, and Society Program,” the Civil-Military Divide — a growing gap between the public and those who serve in the military — negatively impacts veteran hiring and retention. While veteran unemployment is at a record low of four percent, 200,000 service members transition out of the military each year and look for civilian employment.

A Rich Talent Pool

Veterans have strong leadership, teambuilding skills, character and discipline. They also have subject-matter expertise specific to their military training. Veterans are loyal to the organizations they work for and are respectful of management and co-workers. These soft skills are in high demand among employers, especially in the tech industry, where technical skills can be taught on the job. In fact, employers often say it’s harder to teach soft skills over technical skills.

Last year, my team at CTA interviewed a veteran Army sergeant who was an “artillery crew member.” I was looking for a strong writer and project manager, not necessarily someone who managed and transported weapons. I took the time to carefully read his resume.

I asked questions and listened carefully to see if his skills were transferrable. I discovered he was a problem solver, a project manager, an excellent writer and a strong communicator. We offered him a position, but if I had stopped the interview at the word “artillery,” we would have denied ourselves the opportunity to work with a talented individual.

Employers need skilled workers. Veterans are an excellent source of talent and can be reached in many ways, including USTechVets – a hiring platform that connects tech companies with more than one million veteran resumes and provides employers with military-specific hiring tools and tips to help bridge the communication gap.

When looking at veteran resumes, look beyond the military title. Ask questions. Don’t be intimidated by unfamiliar military lingo. And listen to the candidate’s stories, understanding how to translate that experience into skills for the job.

Jennifer Taylor

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