Why Is It Still So Challenging For Veterans To Find Work?

Why Is It Still So Challenging For Veterans To Find Work?

Current support for veterans has never been as strong or as relevant since the return of the Greatest Generation from World War II.  During the peak of the Global War on Terror, this support manifested itself as donations for troops, contributions to those families of lost loved ones or simply by buying a beer for a service member in the airport.

Yet veterans’ employment has become a hot topic in recruiting circles, radio advertisements and most importantly, around the dinner table. People both continue to want to support our military and see that a need exists.

Challenging For Veterans To Find Work

Now that the wars are winding down, the military is downsizing, thereby creating a flood of veterans looking for work. Yet, after all the support they received while in service, most feel like the corporate sector is turning their back on them. Why is this?

Information Age

Corporate recruiters use powerful search engines to filter to those exact specifications their client needs, rarely does one of those filters ask for a veteran. With less than 1% of the population serving in the armed forces, it is difficult to find a hiring manager who has experience working with veterans. People tend to choose what they know, and a traditional college graduate is a known entity that in many managers’ minds seems like the lowest risk possible.

Poor Transition Programs

To be frank, the current military transition programs are failing. The White House dedicated an entire review of the program. Typical to most bureaucratic processes, the overhaul of the government-sponsored programs is slow moving and any substantial improvements are yet to be seen.

Dispersed Efforts

How many of us have heard radio ads for the numerous organizations that are meant to help with veteran’s employment? Essentially they collect government funding or corporate donations, set up booths or job boards and partner with “veteran friendly companies.

” If you look at their job postings, you’ll see that they are advertising the EXACT SAME jobs as a one of the big name job boards! While their flashy events and celebrity spokespeople certainly create the appearance that progress is being made, overall, programs of this type aren’t making much of a dent in veteran employment.

It’s Not Plug and Play

It is not uncommon to see a job ad stating that a company is looking for a veteran with 5+ years of Java development experience. All of the unemployed and underemployed veterans out there understand the absurdity of this. While veterans bring an abundance of skills to the table, it is unlikely that even the most technically proficient veterans were exposed to many of the systems, programs, coding languages, etc., that are commonly used in corporate America during their military careers.

Don’t get me wrong, veterans are of the most hard working and adaptable groups of people out there, who are more than capable of succeeding in corporate environments. Companies need to recognize that if they truly want to hire veterans, it will require more than adding veteran to a job ad.

Bridging the Gap

At Genesis10, we are trying to break the paradigm that prevents veterans from getting hired.  It is not an easy task, but by partnering with companies to identify roles where veterans can succeed, recruiting high potential veterans and providing on-going training and mentoring, we can achieve this goal.


The typical recruiter is working on anywhere from 5-25 jobs every day.  Our days consist of sending out emails, reviewing applicant resumes, making cold calls, coordinating interviews, conducting interviews, chasing candidates, reviewing more applicant resumes, catching up with our consultants, attending meetings, attending networking events.  We are busy, very busy.

Along with the steady stream of resumes we receive directly from applicants, our databases pick up thousands of resumes a day from job boards. As a result, we receive a very large number of resumes to review.  From the candidate perspective, I know and understand that it can feel like your resume is being sucked into a black hole as soon as you click “apply.” I believe I can speak for most recruiters when I say, we don’t want that; we don’t intend that.  It’s just that we are human, and we are outnumbered by the vast amount of resumes.

If you are a good fit for a certain job – we want to find you. We want you to be the star that you are, because that makes you happy and it makes our clients REALLY happy.  With that said, here are some simple and effective tips on how to get your resume through the clutter and in front of a recruiter or hiring manager.

Be Qualified

Make sure you understand the job at hand.  Thoroughly read the responsibilities and the basic requirements.  Only then can you honestly assess if you are qualified for the position.  Have you performed the required responsibilities listed in the job description in your current role or previous roles?  Is this a job that you are ready for now – or one you would like to have but honestly could use a couple years of ripening?   Be qualified for the job to which you apply.

*This also means appearing qualified.  Make sure your resume reflects the requirements of the specific job.  If you need to, update your resume with more details that highlight your relevant experience.  Save multiple copies of your resume that focus on different aspects of your skill set to save time in the future.

Tell a Story

Clearly and precisely demonstrate how you’ve performed this role in the past or how your past has left you with a strong and obvious aptitude.  How have your prior experiences prepared you to make this leap? Show progressive responsibilities and a career trajectory.

Make It Easy

Use keywords.  If you’ve used a specific technology, methodology, approach, technique, whatever – tell us!  We’re not mind readers.  We can assume you used a specific tool based on the position, but if you used it we wonder why you didn’t say so.  The keyword is not the end of our understanding of your resume.  It is the beginning.  It piques our interest and makes us read the surrounding content.

Be Found

With technology these days we are cutting through HUGE amounts of data – let yourself be found.  Not only do keywords make it easier for us to understand your fit for a position, they also allow your resume to be picked up by our database so we can tell you about the great opportunity that you are an excellent candidate for that you didn’t even know about.

Be Credible

Avoid major claims without supporting evidence.  Don’t overdose on extravagant adjectives.  Loaded claims without context won’t add value to your job search.  This includes listing classic functions of the position you are in – apply some details of the project or industry.  Demonstrate that you can talk the talk.  Whether cutting costs or growing revenue, tell us how you made a difference.

Be Polished

Use spell check, good grammar and a pleasant, easy to read format. Having a polished resume will not land you a job, but not having one may get you weeded out.

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