Plenty of companies in the U.S. are known for their veteran hiring practices. They recognize the skills that set veterans apart: leadership, commitment, discipline, flexibility and mission-orientation. These are traits that take years to develop in non-military employees and they are in high-demand.
The number of companies actively hiring former service members is on the rise. Here are a dozen military-friendly companies that really stood out.
This veteran-owned LLC provides communication and IT support to U.S. customers. Through their Employee Assistance Program, veteran employees can get counseling and referrals for personal, health or wellness issues.
In 2017, 64 percent of ManTech’s hires were veterans, a number expected to increase in 2018. They provide technological services to the U.S. government including defense, intelligence, law enforcement, science, administration and health. Their vet retention rate is 55 percent.
Booz Allen provides management services, technology consulting and engineering services to governments, major corporations and not-for-profit organizations. They have a specific hiring team devoted to hiring veterans which could be why 49 percent of the company leaders are veterans themselves. They have a high vet retention rate at 79.5 percent.
This top law enforcement branch of the U.S. government facilitates lawful international travel and trade while at the same time keeping out illegal drugs, weapons and other contraband. They hire qualified veterans through the government’s Special Hiring Authorities for Veterans program.
Schneider National’s business focus is on trucking and transportation logistics. In 2016, they garnered the distinction of being named a Most Valuable Employer by CivilianJobs.com for the sixth year in a row. Through their Military Skills Test Waiver, Schneider accepts military driving proof of training, which gets new drivers on the road quicker.
Lockheed Martin provides aerospace, defense, security and advanced technology systems to the world. Besides attending over 170 military recruiting events per year, they also host an annual Military/Veterans Leadership forum to explore solutions that would better support veterans in the workplace.
Operating in 23 states in the western U.S., this rail transportation giant boasts both its regional Military Leadership Hiring program that places vets into management positions and UPVET, a program that provides support, networking and mentorship to its veteran employees.
Raytheon is a government contractor specializing in defense, civil government and cybersecurity technological solutions. They employ more than 10,000 veterans and actively recruit at 30 military career fairs per year, in addition to hosting their own virtual recruiting events targeting transitioning military personnel. They also have their own veteran support group – RayVets – to promote and recognize their veterans’ accomplishments and contributions to the company.
BAE’s focus is on the development of products and systems that serve the defense, aerospace and security market on an international level. Their goal for 2018 was to hire 100 veterans per month with an emphasis on hiring female veterans. Through their Warrior Integration Program, BAE helps combat-wounded vets return to civilian life. Their retention rate – 84 percent.
USAA’s business is providing insurance, banking, investments and retirement programs to more than 11 million veterans and eligible family members. Their hiring goal for 2018 is to make 30 percent of all hires veterans or military spouses. They also have a 12-month mentoring and training program called VetsLeaD. Their vet retention rate is an astounding 89 percent.
Not only is Boeing the world’s largest aerospace, but it is also heavily involved in military contracts that build aircraft, satellites, weapons and communication systems. Boeing is so committed to hiring veterans that it created the Boeing Military and Veterans Engagement Team to focus on bringing in veterans to their workforce.
Recognized as a Top 100 Military-Friendly employer for the seventh year in a row in 2015, Southwest is committed to hiring and retaining veteran employees. Through various recruiting efforts, Southwest helps veterans transition from serving to finding meaningful employment with Southwest.
Home Depot is the world’s largest home improvement company, operating 2,200 stores internationally. Since 2014, they have hired 35,000 veterans, and they are just getting started.
According to the Employing America’s Veterans report, “Hiring veterans is good business, according to in-depth interviews with individuals representing 69 companies across the United States.”
Skills learned in the military can largely be broken down into two categories: soft and hard. Hard skills are concrete, such as how to operate a specific machine or fulfill a specific role. They are valuable, but hyper-focused, and they’re often underappreciated by civilian employers. Soft skills, however, are the skills and processes which surround the work itself. They can be seen as a distillation of military values and are fervently sought after by employers.
According to the VA’s Employing America’s Veterans report, “companies reported the problem of skill translation more frequently than any other challenge to veteran employment.” Veterans are too-often tempted to emphasize their hard skills on resumes and job applications, when they would be better served by focusing on their soft skills. Soft skills, such as those discussed below, are universally applicable, and should be presented in such a way that civilian employers can understand.
There are those that lead and those that are led. In the civilian world, employees are usually more experienced at one than the other. But veterans are different. They know both ends of the leadership spectrum because they have experienced both throughout their career. Early in their careers, service members mainly receive and carry out orders. As they move up in rank, they are charged with translating mission orders into tasks for their squad, platoon or company. It can take years for civilian employees to gain leadership skills equal to those possessed by most veterans.
Service members learn the value of management early in their careers and are often skilled organizers. Be it people or equipment, the ability to manage and organize is essential in the military. These skills begins to develop in basic training and grow continuously. Depending on their final position before leaving the military, service members could end up being in charge of hundreds of subordinates or millions of dollars of equipment.
Of the skills listed here, knowing how to function as part of a team is perhaps the most sought after. Compared to recent college graduates who have little practical experience, veterans can rely on years of experience working as members and leaders of teams, often in extremely high-pressure environments. Knowing when to take the lead (and when not to) is something unique to military personnel and should be exploited.
While in the military, service members learn how to communicate, verbally and via written reports, both up and down the chain of command. Communicating with superiors requires changes in tone and demeanor compared to addressing subordinates. This is a learned skill that is hard to find in the non-military world. In a civilian career, effective communication can yield such benefits as more sales, successful projects and accelerated job progression.
Improvise, adapt and overcome is a common mantra in the service. This flexibility is a highly-coveted skill veterans should emphasize on resumes and in interviews. As a veteran, you know things don’t always go as planned, and the ability to adapt to changing situations puts you ahead of the pack.
When an employer hires someone, they’re taking a risk. They can’t truly know who that person is. They’re making assumptions about a person’s character based on very limited information: a resume, an interview, references, perhaps some light social media investigation. But by hiring a veteran, an employer can be much more confident that they’ve chosen a quality person to fill a role in their company. The employer can be assured the veteran will show up for work on time, ready to work hard, meet deadlines and follow the moral code of the company. A prospective employee should take all possible steps to prove their character, and veterans have a huge advantage in this regard.
Employers want to hire people with the ability to analyze information objectively and make reasonable judgements based on the data available. After a few years of military service, veterans are often extraordinary critical thinkers, ready to distill complex problems into elegant solutions. In today’s world, we are inundated with data and information, and veterans’ ability to filter out the noise and make informed decisions makes them prime candidates in the civilian job market.
Knowing how to create a plan which satisfies all requirements is a rare skill, especially in those who have not done it successfully before. Starting at the E-5 team level and increasing with each progressive grade, service members constantly go through planning exercises before each mission, so they know they often leave the military as skilled planners.
Planning and flexibility are closely tied. It’s not enough to make a plan; being able to adjust that plan and still arrive at the original objective is also required. Both skills that are tough to find in the civilian workforce.
Whether learned through training, direct experience or a combination of both, these skills can be very attractive to employers. Some veterans pursue careers which make direct use of the skills they learned in the military, while some apply their skills in tangentially-related fields. Veterans entering the work force should carefully consider how their hard skills can be used to their advantage. Use the Military to Civilian Occupation Translator from Career One Stop to see how your service can be parlayed into a civilian career.
Getting a job can be a complicated process for anyone, especially former service members. Below is a collection of some of the best resources for veterans entering the civilian job market.