Smooth Transitions: Difficulty of Vets Integrating Into the Job Market


There’s not a more rewarding career than that of serving your country. Some heroes go on to have long-lasting military careers that allow them to retire without the need to work a civilian job. Unfortunately, for our other heroes, they retire and are left to find their way back into society and re-enter the job market.

Almost everyone who has a job knows the struggle of finding one. But just imagine how difficult it is for someone who’s had a career in the military and is rejoining society… You would think that a long and credible military career would be beneficial to any company, but you’d be very surprised at how hard of a time veterans have re-entering the workforce.

So how is it that these decorated war heroes, who put their lives on the line for their country, are having a hard time finding jobs? Well, to be fair, finding a job is hard for many people, whether they’re military or not. The key is to figure out what those reasons are and work towards remedying those challenges for a smoother transition into civilian life and the workforce.

Top Reasons Why Military Vets Aren’t Getting Jobs

Their Resumes Don’t Translate to the “Real World”

In most cases, our heroes joined the military right out of high school, and because of that, they didn’t gain any “real world” experience, like college or other formal education. That’s not saying that their military career wasn’t real, by any means, but when applying to civilian jobs, their resume doesn’t exactly translate to the job they’re applying to; and that can be because they simply don’t know how to put their skills and experience into resume form.

Negative Stereotypes About Military Vets

Stereotypes are all around us, and unfortunately, they follow us into places like the workforce. Military vets have this negative stigma surrounding them the moment they retire.  Some of the most common negative stigmas surrounding them include:

  • Too rigid
  • Strict
  • Too formal
  • Angry
  • “Crazy”

Those stereotypes aren’t fair at all. Retired vets can combat those stereotypes by practicing overcoming them. For example, it’s during the interviewing process that employers begin to form an opinion about you. In that same token, the interviewing process makes most people extremely nervous, especially if you’re just re-entering the workforce.

A great way to overcome this obstacle is to practice being on an interview. Answering questions and being cognizant of voice tone, confidence, and mannerisms will go a very long way in helping a military vet snag the job they want.

They Have the Skills and Experience but Lack the Degree, License, or Certification

Based on the job a military vet had, certain industries are always hiring but in order to work in that field, you have to be licensed or have some type of degree or certification, regardless of how much experience you have. Luckily, this is an obstacle that’s an easy fix. For the job you want, determine what the credential requirements are. Once you know that, you can then start making efforts to earn the credentials you need.

For example, there will always be a need for nurses and construction contractors. Getting the job as a contractor could be as simple as taking the time out to view course details to ensure you pass the licensing exam. Once you’ve passed the exam, you not only have a credential to add to your resume but you also have THE credential needed to get the job you want in construction.

Transition Stress

Oftentimes misdiagnosed as PTSD, transition stress occurs in military vets after undergoing a life-changing event, such as retiring from the military and re-entering civilian life. The military is a career field that gives you a sense of purpose, there’s order and structure, there are well-defined roles, and great responsibilities. That can be something that’s hard to find in civilian jobs, especially if you don’t have the necessary credentials… Without a sense of purpose in a job, it can make anyone feel lost or feel like they’ve lost a part of their self-identity.

The best way to help a veteran on the hardships they face when transitioning from military life to civilian life is to get educated about their hardships. The more people know the challenges veterans face in the workforce, the more people can help them better prepare for a smooth transition.


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