Posted by John Reed on Thursday, July 9, 2015 - 08:00
The overall employment picture is improving, and it remains particularly strong in the tech world. This supply vs. demand dynamic is leading many organizations to consider alternative recruiting strategies to fill open roles.
Firms are hiring recent college graduates with limited professional experience, or grooming existing staff members with strong soft skills but few technical skills. Then they’re often investing in training and mentoring programs to “grow their own” talent.
However, companies may be missing out on a talent-rich and relatively untapped community: Military veterans re-entering the civilian workforce. They often have skills that can be a great asset to any organization, including the technical and soft skills required for many IT jobs.
The move from military veteran jobs to civilian jobs
The challenge for employers is matching military veteran jobs and skills with those in the civilian world. However, when you consider the importance of soft skills alone, there are many common themes in the military veteran community, including determination, leadership, teamwork and adaptability. These are all critical skills that are equally important in the civilian workplace. Many military veteran jobs require critical technical skills necessary in civilian IT jobs as well, but it’s important for potential employers not to get too focused on candidates having every single technical skill on their “wish list.” Focus on the critical few instead, and plan on some training.
From a military veteran’s perspective, it can be challenging to match military skills to the equivalent civilian skills and role, and then craft a resume that resonates with the civilian job world. There are great job translator tools for both veterans writing resumes and applying for tech jobs, and for hiring managers wondering who might be a good fit for open tech positions.
Sometimes the transition from military veteran jobs to civilian IT jobs can be as simple as identifying military-friendly employers and getting their attention. Robert Half has created resources for helping veterans find jobs that also make it easier for companies to hire military vets in tech. This website contains some terrific job hunting and job matching best practices to increase the odds of successfully placing returning military veterans in positions that are a good fit for their skills.
In addition, take a look at this Q&A with three military veterans working for Robert Half Technology. You’ll find many insights about making the transition from military to civilian jobs.
Onboarding and mentoring programs are key
After the match is made, employers should take extra time and care in onboarding programs to ease the transition into the civilian world. Mentoring programs could be helpful as well, especially if you have existing military vets in your firm.
I hope this post brings some additional visibility to an underutilized, highly-skilled workforce that can meet the demands of employers while providing job opportunities for those who have served us.
As always, we welcome your comments or other best practices you would like to share.