According to a recent census, only 7 percent of Americans have served in the military. Given that small number, businesses do not have much experience hiring veterans.
After being discharged, I quickly found out there are not many companies in need of a tank gunner, and I struggled with translating those skills to a resume a civilian employer would understand. If I could not translate my military skills, how would employers understand my value? Luckily, I received assistance from a nonprofit that helped me identify the skills most veterans can bring to an employer.
It does not seem all that long ago that I was a young man in basic training. Thirty-two years later, that is still one of the most difficult time periods I have had to endure.
As a business owner, you have no choice but to endure the ups and downs. Seek to surround yourself with team members who also have endurance. If you can find people who are willing to stay in the fight during the most challenging times, this will only strengthen your organization.
During my time as a business owner, I have had to endure a lending crisis, a recession and the stress of an acquisition. Throughout these events, I found myself surrounded by the military veterans our company had hired. We pulled closer and fought the good fight together. These business struggles were challenging, but they paled in comparison to the struggles we all faced in the military.
The military is our country’s greatest melting pot. As a service member, you are quickly thrown into an environment that demands you work with people from across the country, representing every race, creed, color, religion and socio-economic status. We quickly figured out how to work together to achieve a common goal. The ability to work well as a member of a team is a skill that easily translates for civilian employers.
Adapt and overcome
Another skill businesses can find value in from a veteran is the ability to adapt and overcome. In hiring a veteran, you have a person who can adapt to most changes thrown their way. They know how to pivot to complete company assignments. This invaluable attribute saves you and the company time and money.
If your hiring candidate tells you that they were an officer or a noncommissioned officer, then that person was a leader. The military is a shaper of leaders. At a minimum, veterans go to school for 30 days to learn leadership and management skills. How many employers can afford that much time and money to train leaders? A veteran comes with the know-how to lead your team toward one common goal.
Winston Churchill once said, “Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never — in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.” That is exactly what you would get in the hiring of our veterans; people committed to your cause who will never give in.
Dennis W. Lejeck is president and founder of Black Knight Security