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How to approach hiring veterans

By Robyn Grable, founder, Service to Civilian

Happy New Year! It’s a new year to grow your business, and you are ready to hire. You’ve got competition. The unemployment rate in South Carolina is 3.9 percent, and the Upstate was just named the No. 2 best place for manufacturing jobs. Companies are moving here, opening here, and expanding here. That’s great for our community and our veterans.

With over 100,000 veterans in the Upstate, and more coming home every day, the pool of talent is out there. So how do you get them to work for your company?

The Department of Labor is a great place to start via dol.gov/vets/hire. Here you will find guidance on finding qualified veterans, policy and compliance, an employer toolkit, and the HIRE Vets Medallion Program.

If you have ever read a veteran’s resume, you know the military has an acronym for everything. Without civilian guidance, veterans put those acronyms on their resume. It’s easy to quickly dismiss those resumes, as we do with most things we don’t understand. The downside is a tremendous lost opportunity for your company and for veterans. There are many resources online to assist with translating military jobs to civilian occupations, and it’s worth your time to educate your HR managers and your hiring managers.

With the growth of the Upstate, the talent shortage is only going to get worse. Be on the cutting edge of bringing on highly qualified, widely trained, and dedicated employees — veterans.

As an example, military logistics personnel are primarily warehouse workers or storekeepers who are responsible for maintaining inventories, receiving and shipping supplies, and securing transportation for those supplies. These veterans have been responsible for millions of dollars of equipment, food, hospital supplies, and more. Lives are on the line, so these logistics personnel know the importance of their job and take it very seriously. As a civilian, they will carry this over to your company. They’ve already been trained for several years, performing the job that your company requires. Yet they can’t get employed with your company, because their resume doesn’t pass the electronic filter when a job post requires a specific number of years of industry experience.

Veteran profiles – each of these veterans are available for their next great career after a successful start in the military.

INSTRUCTOR/MANAGEMENT

Aircraft armament systems instructor

Certified to teach seven different courses pertaining to AFSC 2W1X1. Conducted over 2,000 hours of instruction. Given four additional duties: CTK and TMDE supervisor, EOC supervisor, FW&A monitor, and GPC cardholder for 54th Fighter Group.

Weapons load team chief for F-35s

Extensively tested new aspects of the jet prior to its operational use worldwide. Worked together with Lockheed Martin personnel and had vast knowledge working in ALIS creating and clearing jobs and ordering parts. Supervisor for three airmen, leading my crew to multiple victories in quarterly and yearly load competitions. Detected flaws in BRU racks, implementing a change to the vent valves aircraft wide. Frequently substituted as swing shift expediter and coordinated and oversaw all flight-line weapons-loading and maintenance operations. Achieved AFSC skill level seven. Conducted extensive troubleshooting tasks and assisted in changing of multiple wings on F-16s. Lead marshaling qualified and conducted “hot pitting” procedures during sortie generations.

This is a perfect example of a resume that will undoubtedly be passed over by the electronic filter for any job this veteran applies to. Yet a direct translation of his skills yields:

  • Communication (adept trainer, active listening)
  • Organization (planning and implementing projects)
  • Teamwork
  • Punctuality (new wings on an F-16 can’t wait)
  • Critical thinking (detecting flaws and efficiencies)
  • Sociability
  • Creativity
  • Adaptability
  • Interpersonal skills

EXPERIENCE

Human resource specialist

Chemical, biological, and nuclear specialist

Primarily responsible for defending the country against the threat of CBRN weapons and weapons of mass destruction

  • Assist in the establishment of CBRN defense measures
  • Provide training advice and supervision regarding CBRN equipment and operations
  • Train military and civilian personnel on CBRN response operations
  • Operate and maintain CBRN detection and decontamination equipment

CORE COMPETENCIES

  • Effective team leader
  • Trained in emergency response hazmat handling
  • Strong verbal communicator
  • Intelligence-gathering techniques
  • Dedicated team player
  • Cheerful and energetic
  • Focused and driven
  • Positive attitude
  • Exceptional problem solver
  • Highly responsible and reliable
  • Works well under pressure
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills
  • Attention to detail

Employers are missing highly talented gems that will hit the ground running from day one. Your company needs them, and they are out there if you look beyond the military jargon and acronyms and instead think about skills and core competencies rather than titles.

Coming soon: a golden career strategy class just for veterans. Companies can sponsor veterans to attend. The class will focus on helping veterans transition, find a civilian career, and target their search. To learn more about this opportunity, inquire about the veteran profiles above, or create a veteran hiring initiative at your company, please call 864-580-6289 or email info@servicetocivilian.com. Do a great thing for your company and your community — hire a veteran.

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