“I am a subject matter expert” said the veteran.



Veterans who seek employment in the civilian sector faces many  different set of challenges and obstacles then non-vets.  Both the civilian employers and other civilian workers, hold a belief about the military that impacts hiring the decision to hire. There are some beliefs that are true however, there are some that are myths. Dispelling some of this myths can help the vet seeking employment while opening the eyes of the employer who questions the idea of hiring a vet.

Here are THE TOP 3- Myths vs Realities:

1). MYTH: Veterans have advantages above non-veterans because of their work ethics, discipline, order and sense of timeliness.

 REALITY: Many civilian employers are guided by their own perception of former military personnel.  They believe that veterans are rigid, not easily adaptable, have difficulties fitting into different work environments and, are intolerant of civilians and their ideas.

DISPEL BY, not being defensive regarding the negative images. As veterans try to allow perspective employers see you as an individual with your own set of beliefs, morals and abilities not just as a former military personnel that only thinks in black or white.

2). MYTH: Soldiers are crossed trained in positions within an organization and therefore are ‘subject matter experts (SME)’ within many areas.

       REALITY: Most of what soldiers do in the military, isn’t really understood to a civilian employer.  Most jobs that soldiers are trained in will go over the head of perspective employers and more than likely they will be immediately confused and intimidated.  Further, being too ‘gung-ho’ can appear that a veteran is set in their ways and may not be open to suggestions or learning new and inventive ways of doing things.

DISPEL BY, learning to stay in your lane.  Do the job in which you were hired to perform.  Offering advice is acceptable but there is a difference between offering advice versus belittling others or coming off as “showy”.  Find a balance to not cause hostility.

3). MYTH: Veterans believe that their skills alone, will allow them to walk into a high salary employment, post military.

REALITY: 80 percent of jobs in the civilian world are landed through networking.  Also, doing a job in the military with stringent rank structures is a lot different then doing a job in the civilian sector, whereas there isn’t a rank structure.

DISPEL BY, staying in contact with your former military colleagues.  They could possibly provide you with leads and references to assist with a ‘by-name’ interview or job.  Also, the rank structure in the military limits subordinates from speaking about what they disagree with or feel compelled to speak-up about.  On the contrary, although there are job positions that’s to be respected in civilian organizations, there is a lot more “wiggle room” per se,  in which civilians can “voice” their opinions.

Despite the challenges or the Please handle with care.. sticker, that may be present for veterans trying to work after the military, there are tons of employers who welcome former military personnel with open arms.  Some of these places are;

Federal Government; all veterans have veteran preferences which helps with getting a foot in the door.

Defense contractors; are always on the lookout for technical employees.  They prefer former military personnel because of their diverse culture and languages when dealing wth the employers customers.

-Corporate departments with military managers; seek to hire like-minded workers so do the research and find those with military backgrounds.

Overall veterans are great employees to have around any organization.  They are diverse, talented, educated and unique.  Remember they are “subject mater experts” SME’s in many areas within an organization.  This helps the employer when deciding how much time is needed for “on-the-job-training” OJT or hiring more personnel for various position.  A vet comes more “fully loaded”.

Career counseling services for current and former military  personnel 

Department of Defense Transition Progams

Veterans Employment Program Office

Gi Jobs 


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