Congratulations on Your Military Service… Now Here Are 9 Reasons Why I Won’t Hire You

Why I Won't Hire YouSo, you’ve decided to hang up the uniform after years of distinguished service to our great nation. You’ve attended a few transition classes and have your interview suit and shiny new resume as you make the leap into the civilian world.

You feel confident, because you’ve seen your colleagues leave the uniform on Friday and come to work the following Monday in a suit and tie making twice as much salary. You storm the job boards and job fairs. Never mind that although you’ve drafted a plan of action and milestones (POA&M) for every significant evolution of your military career, some of you have invested the least amount of time and effort into your own transition POA&M.

Those of us in the hiring and recruiting business know firsthand that not all veterans are created equal, and, sometimes, it’s a great business decision to hire a military professional into our companies. Often, though, many don’t. Why? Because you’re just not the right fit. A more impressive candidate captured our attention, or maybe, through no fault of your own, we found someone internally or received a referral from one of our own employees.

The irony is that many veterans and servicemembers have the skills and experience to make the cut, or even get the second interview, but blow it. As a military candidate recruiter, I see consistent themes in why military professionals don’t get the job. Many may blame the new Transition GPS, their branch of service’s career center or even the employers themselves, but here are the top real reasons why you’ll never get hired:


1. You Can’t (or Won’t) Accept That You’re Starting Over

Let’s suppose that immediately after graduating from college or high school, I went to work for one of the well-known defense contractors. During the course of my 20+ year career at that company, I was very successful and promoted to the position of Program Manager, frequently working with the military. However, I’m now at that point in my career where there isn’t any opportunity for further advancement, or I’m simply weary of the industry.

I’m now in my late 30s or early 40s and decide it’s time to leave the company to pursue a different career. I’ve worked with the military my entire adult life, so I decide I want to join its ranks. Because of my previous experience with managing multimillion dollar budgets and hundreds of personnel, I feel I’m the equivalent of a Commanding Officer or Senior Enlisted Leader. When I talk to a recruiter about my level of entry, what would they tell me?

The cold dose of reality is that despite all of my experience, I’d have no idea what the organizational culture is like in the military. I’d be set up for failure if someone allowed me to don the collar devices and step into a command position. On day one, something as basic as sending an email to a flag officer could go very sour very quickly. This is because even though I may have transferable skill sets, I lack the knowledge of industry norms and protocol experience to succeed.

A senior military professional transitioning into the private sector faces the same dynamic. The transition is a bit easier within the Department of Defense and Federal arenas, but you’re starting anew. It’s imperative that you understand this. As a result, you should seek ways to learn the organizational structures of potential employers many months before you’ll be entering the job market.

Just as I would have been far better informed had I spoken to a military recruiter before I left my civilian job, so should you be similarly informed before entering your last year of service. Use recruiters, headhunters, employment counselors, hiring managers, etc. to gain intelligence and information so you can be pragmatic in your expectations and planning. Also, getting a mentor who has successfully navigated into the private or government sector and is also a veteran will provide invaluable insight from a perspective you’ll be able to relate to.


2. You Believe You’re Unique (Just Like Every Other Transitioning Person That Day)

Each and every day, 200 to 300 servicemembers exit the military. This number will only increase as the nation’s wars come to an end and forces continue to draw down. In 2012, an average of 470,000 resumes were posted on Monster each week. Essentially, for every job opening in the U.S., there are roughly 187 qualified and unqualified job applicants.

This is the challenge you face in relying on job boards as your sole method of getting a job. I suggest you think of hitting the “apply” button as being similar to walking down to the local convenience store and buying a lottery ticket, then deciding to not do anything else (or continue buying lottery tickets) until they call your number.

Are job boards still relevant? Yes. However, it’s best to post your resume to a niche job board that aligns with your background or industry — and make sure your resume is targeted specifically for the jobs you apply to.


3. Your Resume Is Longer Than the CEO of Our Company’s (or Shorter Than a Recent College Graduate’s)

A long resume doesn’t impress me at all. Even worse, a resume that has neither definition nor clarity is guaranteed to be placed in the trash. I’m probably going to look at it for six seconds, tops.

Your resume should be a windshield document. That is, it should reflect the positions you’re going towards. (Click here to tweet this thought.) It shouldn’t be a rearview mirror which simply lists all of the duties you performed. It should contain keywords, which websites such as wordle and tagcrowd can help you identify in both job announcements and your resume. This is because your resume will most likely be filtered by Applicant Tracking Software before it even gets to a human resources screener.

And, while I appreciate that you volunteered to clean up a highway or had some collateral duties in addition to your main assignments, I’m looking for candidates who have years of matching relevant experience, the right job titles and are in the same industry. Most importantly, I’m not looking for a “jack of all trades”; if I were, the job posting would have said so.

How do you craft a resume that’s forward-looking? Find about 15 to 20 job announcements that match up with your ideal target job title. Incorporate their language into your resume and make it contextual by inserting your metrics. Review each bullet point you’ve chosen to use by asking yourself if it demonstrates a problem you solved or action you took and the results that were accomplished. The actual length of your resume? It depends on your audience. Seek out current or former employees at the companies you’ve identified in your target list and ask them what their company’s preference is.


4. You Didn’t Proofread Your Resume

I would be a millionaire if I got 10 bucks for every time I come across a candidate who’s an “experienced manger.” There isn’t any substitute for attention to detail here. Don’t trust spellcheck, and don’t rely solely on your own review. Have your resume reviewed and critiqued free of charge by as many eyes as possible. The trained professionals at your Fleet and Family Support Centers, Army ACAP, and Airman & Family Readiness Centers are the best resource to catch those mistakes before I do.

After getting your resume reviewed for spelling and substance, take it to the local university’s English department and have it critiqued for proper grammar. Seem a bit excessive? Well, if I see misspellings and poor grammar on your resume, what will I expect from you if I need you to communicate with my clients?


5. You Don’t Have a LinkedIn Profile (Or, Even Worse, It’s Not Complete)

In a 2012 JobVite survey, 89% of hiring decision-makers and recruiters reported using social media sites such as LinkedIn to find their candidates. If this is the case, shouldn’t you have a profile already?

Your knowledge of managing your online presence lets me know how proficient you are in using technology to communicate. It also allows me to see your skills, even if they’re nascent. If you have an incomplete profile, it may communicate that you might also expect me to complete your work for you.

Take the time and get your LinkedIn profile set up right. There are lots of places and resources available online to get help at no cost, so there isn’t any excuse for not having one. Additionally, a complete LinkedIn profile allows you to take advantage of LinkedIn Labs’ Resume Builder to automatically generate 11 different resume styles based on your LinkedIn profile. Talk about a time saver!


6. You Think Social Media Is For Kids or Sharing War Stories

If you think social media is a huge waste of time and doesn’t offer real value, watch this video.

The reality is that two out of three job seekers will get their next job using social media. What does that mean to you? It translates to lesser-qualified people using technology to their advantage to get hired. They know how to use each of the social networking sites to the maximum extent in their transition action plans. If you think Twitter is of little use to a job seeker or professional, your competition will be happy to land the job you want because they’re using it and you aren’t.


7. You Didn’t Prepare For The Interview

During the course of your military career, you’ve conducted countless boards and interviews. It seems to make sense that you should have no problem interviewing. After all, you did pretty well in your transition class mock interviews, didn’t you?

Wrong approach. I’ve seen instances where the most junior servicemember outperformed a much more seasoned military leader because of one simple strategy: practice, practice, practice. Practice with someone who regularly hires or who has hired people at your level recently.

Why do you need to practice? Because you need to be able to be conversational, convey energy and yet let me know you’re aware of what my business is, who my competitors are and even who I am. Did you go to the company’s website to see if we have a Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter page? Did we make the news recently? Google News is a great way to find this out.

I want you to distinguish yourself from the regular job seeker. I want to know you’re as passionate about my company and what we do as I am, not just out to get a paycheck and benefits. Make sure you have a set of questions that I haven’t heard before, and when we’re about to finish the interview, ask for the job. Don’t worry; I’m not going to be offended, because I want to see that fire in your belly. Just don’t overdo it by saying something presumptuous such as, “So… when do I start?”


8. You Wrote a Thank You Note (But Only to Say Thank You)

Sending a thank you note is something that sets you apart from the competitors also vying for this position. And while it’s appreciated and infinitely better than sending nothing at all, don’t just send the note to say thank you; use it to tell me how much passion you have for my company and the job. Remind me of those things that excited you during our interview and, if there were any areas you looked vulnerable in, ease my concerns.


9. You Don’t Know What You Want to Do

When asked what you want to do, the worst possible answer you can give is, “I don’t know” or “anything.” You have to be able say specifically what types of positions you’re interested in and how you can add value to them. If you don’t, you’re essentially saying, “Invest lots of time and money in me, and maybe it will help me figure out if I want to do something else.”

If you have no clue where to start, start by looking at colleagues with backgrounds similar to yours who have recently transitioned. Which industries are they in? What companies are they working for? Where are they living? What job titles do they have now? The LinkedIn Labs Veterans App is a great tool to help with this. Be sure to check it out. Start volunteering to gain professional experience and seek out internships long before you sign your DD214.

Employers want to feel secure in knowing that you’ll last and that they can depend on you in your new work environment. Doing an internship or volunteering will help both the employer and you determine if a position is a good fit. Additionally, due to the flood of resumes that come in for each job posting, applicants who have volunteered or performed internships will stand out well ahead of the others.

Military professionals, especially senior ones, have a lot to offer our country when they hang up the uniform. The President and American companies are working hard to ensure that servicemembers and veterans have well-paying jobs with opportunities to advance. However, no one is ever guaranteed a job, and the more senior you are, the more challenging the transition can be in terms of education, credentials, certification and relevant industry experience required. Having a powerful network is essential and can open doors for you. That said, your comrades, friends and family can generally get you to the door, but it remains up to you to be fully prepared when the door is opened.

Eager to hear your thoughts — please share them in the comments!

Image: Flickr

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  • @RBullentin

    Congratulations on Your Military Service… Now Here Are 9 Reasons Why I Won’t Hire You via @CareerAttract

  • @CF_Coach_Jason

    Congratulations on Your Military Service… Now Here Are 9 Reasons Why I Won’t Hire You via @CareerAttract

  • Jay

    Personally, I think you are vague and full of crap. Everyone has a different situation and have to adjust their goals based on current pending issues. My goal is to make money and I don’t care how I earn it. I see lots of wealthy people who made good money in the military. I went in with my education (MS/BS) and other skills in Lean Management. Quite frankly I made the easiest money while serving as an Officer. It is politics and at the end of the day, I had more liquid cash than people with flashy titles and their “house” or as they like to say “I am homeowner”. Please!

  • travis

    This is a great article for common sense thinking but falls short on a few points.

    Retired military personnel transitioning to a commercial entity to learn something new will take advantage of any opportunity presented to them (if they desire it). However, your point on social media misses lots in translation…perhaps your business model does require social media to make money…we get that, but on the other side of this social media is a distraction to personnel’s performance. I think my staff plays on social media 4 hours out of their 8 hour day…yes (my fault), but in numerous government positions we have over inflated our mission requirements (not my fault–it’s what I’m given) which generates downtime that turns into unproductive time even if you have tons of training opportunities on standby to keep them busy. With everyone having smartphones…you can’t help but be distracted by them–I’m all for banning them in the workplace–unless they are company phones strictly for business use.

    As for the #2 comment of being over confident, perhaps you have had a perception from a few military personnel that we are too over confident…this may have some truth. Just to disagree a little, lets throw out some examples of why we have confidence:
    Things you don’t have to tell a senior/seasoned military person…
    1) How to operate a computer
    2) What is a due date–never have to handhold us through a task–we figure it out on our own with little assistance–or know how to ask the right people for assistance vice coddling in our cubicles like a typical graduate student waiting for you to come along to ask how’s it going?
    3) Dress, customs/courtesy around your clients, appearance & respect…ideals you don’t get from college grads…they understand the basics, but again while talking with you have their cell phone on during interview receiving text…you’ll get these goof-ups on young transition military, but senior people–VERY unlikely!
    3a) Yes…likely, we have led more people than your CEO, but we respect you are the boss and is why if sign us on your team, we’ll take you further than another
    3b) So yes, I would air on the side of a little confidence as long as I respected your position and you respected mine as a seasoned professional…but in this block you sound like you have an inferiority complex when we’re comparing resumes. We don’t!

    The military has given us a lot and if chosen to be part of your team, we don’t want to be disrespected with salaries or expectations from you provided a young 20 something. We want to challenged, be integral in your system/team on the 1st day, we deliver, and I can’t say that about younger professionals/college grads…and yes we have experience in this as well; we get young professionals/college kids (civilians & military)–all may not go to Stanford or Harvard, but come with growing pains
    This is why I’ve made this statement and disagree with your comment of over confidence–there is a reason we come across this way–ITS NOT DISRESPECT we EARNED IT.

    • Bravo Zulu

      In addition to your commenst – and I agree by the way – I wonder how many Steve Jobs or Bill Gates have not been hired because someone thought that that a spelling error or a misplaced comma was earth shattering?

      I can not imagine even one person who has NEVER made an error. Even if that paper was proof read by multiple people – it does happen!

      Catch my intentional spelling error?

      Did it REALLY make a difference in how you read this?

      But what the heck – toss that resume in the garbage – after all the low life that sent it in obviously did not care enough to proof read it and have several others do the same thing.

      Or did he?

      The arrogance of HR – makes me think of them as human resistance and not human resources.

  • Curently

    Now Here Are 9 Reasons Why I Won’t Hire You, Sultan Camp explains why transitioners sometimes struggle when making the leap from milit google

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  • John Smith

    This article is a bunch of shit. Why don’t you go and serve your country and know what it feels like to be in that type of situation. You fucking people have no idea what we go through for your freedoms that you enjoy everyday.

    • Al G

      I’m pretty sure the person who wrote this is a military vet. It says it at the bottom. I do agree, however, that it can be quite frustrating as a veteran job-seeker; sometimes it feels like your experience means nothing at all…

      • guest

        I think your attitude is why some vets dont make it. I once had the same attitude. Remember, its a transition, meaning change. You cant stay in the same zone because the rest of the world is marching on. You cannot think somebody who was never in the military is going to understand your service or do back flips for you. I rarely even mention my service anymore, its not what Im selling. It something I use to help me through tough times, but it s not paying me now. Skills and networking are. You have have to make your own way. Its called hustling and its what everybody is doing.

    • FormerGreenBeret

      I retired three+ years ago, and I think these statements can help some people get focused, if they don’t apply to you so be it. Looks like he should have added another reason vets don’t get hired, and that reason is, as your post implies, some don’t have an open mind and think everyone should be obligated to feel sorry for them and give them handouts; a perspective that personally embarrasses me. You also might want to clean up your vocabulary.

    • Ham Sandwich

      You misread the point of this article completely. He’s not hacking on veterans, he’s offering concrete advice on how veterans can improve their chances at a successful transition. He’s right. Veterans often mistake their own experience and accomplishments as being a trump card for civilian job prospects. He’s pointing out that while a military background can be an asset, it’s not free pass since you’re entering a new field, and you must manage your expectations. It’s good advice that will probably help a lot of vets transition more successfully into the private sector.

    • Animal

      first, John Smith, Mr Camp’s his bio says he IS a veteran. Second, you make a generalized statement about young people, which is both inaccurate and widely untrue. While the media often paints them as unaware, self-entitled and oung folks today are a lot more aware and involved in politic, social issues and yes, the military, My nephew is a Navy CB, who aimed at his enlistment when he made Eagle Scout. Try telling him he doesn’t know anything. Third, you had better pray that you’re wrong, because, soon enough, they will be in control of our country, like it or not.

  • Noneof yourbiz

    ah, the lovely asshole hiring manager on a power trip genre. Tragic to see it directed at *veterans*, of all people.

    • Ham Sandwich

      You misread him completely.

  • Dave

    Great article. I don’t know about the rest of you, but after 22 years in the military, I have no idea what to expect after retirement. Articles like thus are a grea way to find out about pitfalls of the job search process without the pain of first hand experience. Thank you Mr. Camp, and thanks for your service.

  • carleton


    This article was hit the nail on the head. When you transition, unless you worked in finance, construction, etc. With a directly transferable skill set, that can be applied the very next day. You are starting over. It was a little hard for me to swallow early this year, but I know with 3 yes exp. It double because of my military exp. Just eat a little humble pie and it will pay off in the end with the right company and the right attitude. You should also use your network. Others left before you and they should be willing to reach out a helping hand. An employee referral is a valuable tool in finding your next job.

  • Mike B

    I agree that these 9 reasons apply to some but not all. Having made the transition myself, it was up the list of most challenging things I’ve done. I think that some service members are unprepared simply because they don’t know how to prepare. There is no FM on going into the civilian business world. While the Army has ACAP and many other programs to help, it’s very easy for someone to really have no idea what they want to do and more importantly, how to go about it. Most companies I interviewed with on terminal leave could care less about teaching me about their business, they wanted somebody that already had leadership experience, since that is what really takes time to develop.

  • Danny

    After serving in the Air Force for 21 years and have 3 associates degrees, a bachelors degree, currently working on my MBA at Rutgers University and have 17 years of managing people and programs…..why should I start at the bottom? The problem appears to be with HR departments and hiring managers with the mentality that management in the military and in the civilian sector are two different things. I have managed more people than most senior executives in the civilian sector…..because I am not wearing the uniform any longer does not make my management and leadership skills rendered ineffective. I have been retired for a year now and have been on numerous interviews….I believe I am not being hired because the hiring managers (the people I will be working for) are intimidated by the experience level I bring and they feel threatened. I have considered dumbing down my resume and not speaking about my accomplishments during interviews because I have not been hired. I prepare and interview very well, but I am not being hired and that is the only thing I can think as to why. Hiring managers either are afraid of hiring an experienced manager who brings something to the table or they do not realize how valuable military people can be and minimize the experience they bring stating the civilian sector is different than the military. After reading your article, I find it very demeaning and you come across as an arrogant jerk. After dealing with many people in civilian jobs to include the federal government and how lazy many of them are….I scratch my head and ask myself how they ever got hired……and I have the feeling you are one of those……you probably were worthless when you served and were more of problem for your supervisor and you bitched and complained about everything that happened and got out at the first chance you had….you got a job because your buddy or frat brother got you in. I would like to see your numbers as a recruiter…..I bet they are not that great because if you talk to people like this as motivation….I do not see you doing that well. I was a very successful recruiter for 11 years for the Air Force and finished my career as a senior leader in recruiting service. If you have any kind of integrity you will respond to my comment, if not, my assumptions were correct……worthless, arrogant, jerk. I would never work for you……not even if you paid me a million dollars.

    • Jay

      It would seem to me sir, that this article was written specifically to help people just like you. Yet, you attack the author pretty personally, questioning his service, and his ability to do his current job. Perhaps if you’d stop patting yourself on the back for how amazing your service was and focused on numbers one and two, you would land a good job that allowed you to prove your experience is relevant and gain the promotion to upper management you so obviously crave. The idea that you are such an amazing candidate that you intimidate all hiring manners, and that’s why you don’t have a job, is profoundly arrogant. And by the way, from somebody who has managed in the military, and now private sector, I can assure you they are quite different. Good luck to you though.

      • Danny

        Last I checked through all of the management training, experience, and formal education in Management and Human Resource Management I have….. there were not two different sets of principles taught, one for military and one for the civilian sector. Management principles taught in academics apply to both sectors. Taking the role of a leader and/or a manager requires the same skill set and the application of the same management principles no matter what set of clothes you put on in the morning…..what you are saying is that a senior leader in the military who managed a 140 person shop of mechanics or 68 recruiters daily in a traditional business environment is not capable of taking on a management position in the civilian sector and that is not true. Yes, every organization is different that is obvious, but the management of people is not. No matter what job a person takes on, there is going to be a learning curve even if the person is making a lateral move to another company holding the same position because every company conducts daily business different….that does not mean that a person needs to start at the bottom as if he or she was 20 years old and has never held a job, that is insulting and for you, as a veteran, to discount 20+ years of work is just sad. That is why the unemployment rate of veterans is where it is because of mentalities just like yours and others. Yes, there are veterans who do nothing to prepare themselves for the transition. They do not further their education and do nothing to better themselves while they are in the military. However, there are many that do and spent the last 10 years of their military career raising families while they were completing their education..sacrificing all of their spare time to ensure they are taking the right steps to be successful….then they walk into the civilian sector and all of a sudden all the work they did is a waste because the civilian sector has a mentality that our skills “are ok” but they don’t match what we are looking for……….military members have always been viewed as second class citizens why should I have expected that to change over my years of service…it is the mentality that our skills are different in the civilian sector that prevents people from getting jobs. No acknowledgement is given for military experience by hiring managers. Being a veteran yourself I would think you would like to see other vets make the transition….and I find myself going back to my original thought I have dealt with many young people during their first and second term of service who all they did is complain about how much they hated the military and they were getting out as soon as they could, but then they did not have a problem taking advantage of all of those education benefits after they separated those people are the hiring managers now (yes, you are in this category). It is ok, that is why I served so people can burn the flag and the freedom to speak poorly about military members. I will get a management position shortly in human resource management and I will ensure that qualified vets get a fair shot and weed out the people in the organization who feel that vets do not have the required skills….of course you and I know that when I let them go it would need to be linked to job performance and I see some very poor performance by people who claim they are better qualified than the vets applying to those same positions. To see you, as a vet, talking down to a former military member that has served from the time I was 21 years old and I am now 43….its just sad…..I am the guy who spent the last 11 years of my career preparing for my retirement date. I don’t want to be a CEO of a company, I just want a normal job and be valued for the experience I bring to the organization and I should not be reduced to working at Arby’s (which is where I worked before I went into the military) after I have taken the proper steps to get my education and have 21 years of work experience to go with it. I’m not saying I am the most qualified candidate on the face of the earth, but I am just as qualified as any other candidate applying for the same jobs I am applying for…. I’m done wasting my time with you………you did not even deserve my time with this comment, but I just could not resist.

        • esteban

          Danny, you haven’t a clue what you are talking about. First you personally insult the author, then whine about how great you are and attribute this obvious greatness to why you aren’t being hired. Someone who has BTDT comes along and offers you some advice and you then attack HIM and his service, once again claiming yours is to be exalted. And I think you were an air force recruiter and shop mechanic, from what I could understand in your poorly written, rambling screed. If that is the case, you where barely in the military, I don’t care how many years you served or how many wingnuts where on your sleeve.
          You then moved on to the fictional “management position in human resources” you seem to imagine is waiting for you, and how you will not only hire veterans, but also weed out non-veterans that don’t think like you do. Here’s a question for you: what role in “HR management” are you expecting? Are you going to be a recruiter, perhaps, to help facilitate the hiring of real veterans? Or a generalist, where you might have a hand in conducting exit interviews of employees, but will certainly have no ability to “weed out” employees who don’t think like you do. You claim all this education, including being an MBA candidate at Rutgers, but haven’t the slightest clue how a simple business function like a human resources department functions. I think we all know why you are unemployed. Good luck at McDonald’s.

          • Marine that isn’t god

            This is awesome

          • ok…but it your life

            Sorry about the marine thing above……..its just, whenever I heard condecending statement in the military, they were from poor marines. I respect the corp. I just hate your shit bags more than any other branches. We all have em, I just hated yours more. Nothing personal intended towards you.

          • ok…but it your life

            Hey……we found his frat brothers. Lol. So a navel commander, pilot for 15 years, should start at the bottom with a boss who just got his aa in aviation a year ago? Or should he maybe be a lead flight instructor? Should a SEAL be able to latteral transfer to a team leader for a local swat team or should he start at the bottom being led by a 2 year vet of that team? A sergeant major of an admin battalion should start at the bottom as an assistant, or would his skill be better used as the office manager? When a gangbanger puts two in your chest you are obviously the people who would want a emt with 10 years experience over the combatmedic with 10 years experience and 5 deployments. Stupid choice in my book but thats murphys law. Never argue with an idiot. People watching might not know the difference.

          • ok…but it your life

            Almost everyone but you has a 1 up :( ahhh. How cute, he thinks he has a valuable opinion. Did mommy tell you that while you were takin out your pent up rage on your former commander? Lol. Just like a cop…you started out as a bullied teen. Poor thing. No wonder why you defend your corp. Jobs. You probably have nothing to be proud of in your military career. I knew mercenaries like you…..joined for college, picked something cozy, fought through your piss ant 3 years and ran back to your civilian life with your tail between your legs talkin about how you did your part. When in reality, your part was to create a mess. A mess that someone with TRUE military bearing had to clean up. He lasted 21 and is now transitioning, you lasted what, 3-5, and ran to your desk so you can sit on your corp. high horse and talk down to the guys who didnt give you the easy ride to your degree. Sorry you had to work in the military, but no…..your job cant be that hard. After all you didnt last doing a real difficult job. It is like a mcdonalds cook w 21 years experience talking down to military cook with 21 years experience. Cause you ran home after 3 years and worked at mcdonalds first, lol, of course its the more difficult job. And shot in the dark???? MARINE???? Lol

    • John

      How self-righteous of you. This article is definitely for people just like you. FYI: Corporate America owes you nothing but a “Thank you for your service.” What have you ever done to make a company money? That’s the bottom line in the Corporate world–making money. Having transitioned myself and managed people in both the military and civilian sectors, I can tell you they are two very different things. In the military people love to call themselves “Directors”, “Project Managers”, and “Program Managers”, but those are a completely different caliber of job in the civilian world. For example, a civilian Director would be the equivalent to a Brigade Commander in the Army. In a civilian company if someone makes a bad decision and costs the company tons of money, people will lose their jobs and the company could fail. In the military, the taxpayers will usually end of footing the bill. Don’t automatically assume that because you have 21+ years of military experience and have managed people that automatically positions you for a management career in corporate America. That just isn’t the case. Realizing this is one of the first steps in a successful transition. Believe me. I’ve been there. If you don’t want to, that’s fine as well. Totally up to you.

      • guest

        dude spot on, READ THIS AND TAKE HEED, ITS THE REAL

    • guest

      management in the military and the private sector are 2 different things unless your a civilian gov type. Sorry I cant remember learning the PMBOK in Military leadership school, but then again I wasnt an officer. I agree that the author missed the mark, but for a different reason. The private sector is about making money, the public sector is about spending it. Its that simple and that requires different approaches. I once inflated my resume, as instructed by a civilian GS 9 or whatever it was during my transistion assitance will all kinds of crap about how I had saved the gov so much money with some action I had done. In reality I knew nothing of how easy I had it. My housing and utilities were covered, and the building utilities labor etc were covered during my military career. None of that is covered in the civilian world, those are liablities. What these career counslers or whatever they are called need to tell people is that its pretty simple. you need to be able to offer something the organization or company can use, be an asset. Learn PM, hard back office skills front office skills, retail etc. Thats what makes it all go around.

  • Navy Guy

    I found this to be a great article. I am currently in the US Navy, and I understand the hardships that military members go through. Companies today are looking for more than to fill a position, they want employees that are going to contribute to their future advancement. The civilian sector is under no obligation to hire veterans, and in fact I don’t believe they should unless that veteran can prove to be asset. This article enables veterans to properly prepare themselves for a job based on their skills and knowledge, not simply because they wore a uniform. A veteran who truly deserves a job should not accept a handout position, and an employer should expect a veteran to be able to work just as hard for a job position as a non-veteran. Also, veterans have no excuse for not bettering themselves while they are on active duty. There are so many resources that are available for free such as certification programs, college, resume preparation. The veterans that complain are the ones who were lazy while on active duty to take advantage of the resources available. Employers know what resources veterans have, and they should and do expect veterans to take advantage of those resource before applying for a job.


    Great article, highly relevant and informative feedback. Thank you for offering your POV. If the reader’s goal is to push his/her pride and baggage aside, and use an open mind to help themselves to a good start in the next phase of their professional life, then they should be grateful. I appreciate the frank delivery…. I can’t imagine that there are any senior military officers out there who start the next phase of their professional life still “wearing shoulder boards”.

  • Dr. Scena Webb

    I really enjoyed reading the article and the information was very useful. Thanks for sharing!

  • RashadW

    Obviously this post shares some hard answers that some of us don’t want to believe is truly reality. However, one of the commentators asks “what have we done for Corporate America, how have we affected their bottom line?” This is most easily summed up by looking at ISIS. If we, the 1% of America who have served on the frontline weren’t willing to sacrifice our time, talent, and lives for keeping our way of life for free, so Corporate America can continue to function, worry free, no religious police shutting down your doors, no enslavement of our children and women, etc.. So next time someone asks what has your military service impacted, you can say, “I have kept America, America.”

  • green berets berette

    Former green beret thinks we all want sympathy. Lol. Fuckin silent proffesional my ass. Do you just troll job sites talkin shit under that screen name hoping some NG privates gonna jump through you monitor and suck your asshole?? Or wait….your chris kyle- matt bassonete material. Silent but loud, proffesional but disgracfull to your team…….you could wear a fucking solid gold beret with diamonds like the elton john blowing bitch you are, but to claim some just want hand outs. Man, I dont know how you made it in the army shit talking your commrades like that. Its disgracfull…..worse than chris kyles lies in his books, or the two glory hounds from seal team six bragging about shooting bin ladin. Its not silent (which your shitty opinion should be) or proffesional. You should have joined the russian military. They would like your brutal anti team mentality.

  • Rich C

    I agree and witness this all the time with veterans. While in the military we are not required to write a resume to get a job, you get a set of orders and move on and then told what your job is while at that unit. Yes, I have seen most of these things played out except for the thank you letter, which I don’t doubt happens, I don’t get to see the letter/e-mail.
    The one I would like to address is the “You don’t know what you want to do” that is huge. Again in the military you don’t have to worry about that one, you are given plenty to do. What would your advise be for veterans that are in that predicament?

  • Chris

    #10 Less than 1% of our country has served. You won’t be hired because they resent your service.

  • Daniel

    “5. You Don’t Have a LinkedIn Profile (Or, Even Worse, It’s Not Complete)”
    “6. You Think Social Media Is For Kids or Sharing War Stories”

    Many veterans will never have a social media account because most of them a security conscious a wish to not post there clearance work on the internet for obvious reasons… This is a stupid reason NOT to hire someone if you ask me.

  • ALM

    It was disheartening to read many the negative feedback from vets disagreeing with the main points of articles pointing out resume and interview tips. I sense the Career and Alumni Programs from each Service is falling short of preparing vets for the transition from “boots to wing tip shoes”. The transition of coming from a directionally charged structured organization is difficult and confusing where one followed a strict social structure and obedience to orders is the rule or pay a stiff penalty for straying. This is a far cry from joining an organization where the social culture evokes non-disciplinary behaviors and rewards performance for innovation and creativity. To quote Welch, on how he turned around GE by upgrading his talent, “too many war horses that aren’t good enough at second level, that kill our values with their old school thinking.” Veterans need to embrace this mind set that what worked in the military is the anti-thesis in Corporate America.

  • Orion’s Arrow

    The point is simple. Companies have jobs we as vets want.

    I (a male vet) was speaking with a fellow vet the other day and she said that she was looking for a place to develop a career and not just a job. I like that. She is right we had careers that spanded a vast array of “jobs”.

    I have been through each phase of the comments I have just read. I believe the simple answer is you have to keep knocking at the door. It is FRUSTRATING, but you have to and it is hard. Berating companies or companies berating vets is not RIGHT on either part!

    There are so many issues that keep companies from hiring vets and so many issues vets have with the way companies hire vs what they say they want to do to help vets. I think for most vets a company’s culture reflects its people. If the people of a company say they want to hire vets and then put every obsticale in the way of hiring vets that is one thing, and if the guidance to vets is changing every 10 seconds and companies don’t place some of the burden on themselves to ask veterans themselves why they are not coming to their companies to seek employment or stop to really listen; OR, worse, don’t recognize the vets skills either implicitely or explicitely, then both the vet and the company share responsibility, not BLAME, in working to create a strong bridge to cross the chasm.

    I have seen more companies using the NEC/MOS process to try to match jobs, But, these are very limiting. I have 3 NECs from the Navy (8432, 8404 and 0000). But, they do not tell the story of my experience in total only what I am trained to do. I spent 4 years managing a Surgical Support Team as a (0000/8404) including serving as the team’s training and administrative manager. I reported to a nurse and physician responsible for assuring that the team (12 junior Corpsman, myself, the nurse and the Dr.) were 100% ready to deploy in as little as 12 – 48hrs any where in to globe to support a Surgical Team in response of humanitarian or combat medical conditions. At the time I was a (0000/8404 HM). Similar roles involved being a supervisor that assured medical records QA, program management for over 26 difference occupationa health and safety programs, leadership of groups from as small as 12 to as many as 350+ people? I have also taught, A&P (Anatomy & Physiology for a community college) in support of associate programs regarding nusing assistants, 2 year nurses, and other healthcare roles. I also have experience in EMRs first pioneered by the military in systems likes SAMS or CHCS.

    So, what would I need to do to work as a EMR or General Health Records Program Manager. I completely understand the IC-9 system and am familiar with the increased expansion of the ICD10 system. And have a Bachelors in Enviromental Health.

    Again, it about building a sold bridge that does not force the vets to swim in a mote of sharks (been their – done that!); rather, a bridge that offers recognition for skills, experience and other intangible assets. It takes courage, vets have, and courage companies need to have, to provide a way for all to see opportunity for both going forward.

    Don’t get me wrong, I could rant, but I’d rather offer solutions. I have always been a problem solver and frankly I like solving problems when empowered to do so, but leaders with the courage to empower me and the wisdom to guide me have to say they are looking for such relationships. I have to admit, this is rare, but perhaps someone will say who is that manager, COO, CEO, etc.needs a multicultural, multidimensional, critical and creative thinking problem solver who has a long view for sustainable success and who is not affraid to try and fail and try again and succeed under the right leader.

    There is so much work we need to get done, it is time we consider the words of Mahatma Ghandi – “My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing from God as my successes and my talents and I lay them both at his feet”. For the Senior Managers, CEOs, COOs, CIOs, CTOs and others go have some coffee with vets. Get out of your suits and off the golf course and have real (not tweeted or FB conversations) with these real people. If that takes all day, OK! We are not perfect people, only people who want to do the best we can in an environment that cares. Vets don’t want sympathy, rather they want opportunity.

    Everyone please quick talking and do something. Hire, train and care honestly for a vet! They want a hand up – NOT a hand out!!!

    • Cpl. B

      Well I’m a combat veteran of the Marine corps of five years seeking a job at this point of my life. Right now I’m sitting here drinking a beer reading all this garbage talk towards the guy. You know you can just tell the minor enlisted vs the senior enlisted vets on this page by the attitude.
      This an actually just inspired me. I can admit that at least six of the nine things he said we do wrong, I do. I can’t speak for the Navy, Air Force, or the Army, but in the USMC we take corrections as a gift. So I raise my beer to you Sir! Not everyday an employer reaches out to us and gives us tips. I apologize for the actions of my fellow vets. So you gotta job for me? Lol

    • guest

      You missed the mark completely. “vets dont want sympathy, they want an opportunity” “hire, train and care honestly for a vet” Yeah right, you show you know nothing about biz. Why should anybody hire a vet just because they are a vet? Ok, Im for hiring a vet, but once she/he comes on board, now what? You got to think about the biz owner. When they hire somebody, its a risk. Your there to make them money, nothing more or less. Your status as a vet or MBA grad isnt relevant. Its what you can do. So theres where you missed the mark. Flip that script. What can you do for the organization? You got letters of reference, showing how hard you worked? do you have the certs they want? If he ask you a question about your craft, can you answer it? do you have the stamina to put in long hours of commitment and sacrifice? Have you paid your dues, like working in a call center, retail, service truck or do you have a skill like ebiz, networks, web design, front office type skills they can use? I mean with kids nowdays who are whiz at this stuff, you best be on your game. So what if they say no. Thats where your military training comes in, you adapt and overcome. Basically what Ive seen is they want somebody with guts and will get the job done, so they make money. aka your an ASSET. All this about train me or hire me. Why? what you have to offer that they cant find on any corner. What they want is that you paid your dues in the sector your applying for. I mean, military training does help, really it does, but civi world is quite different than gov world. This is where I had to change up my mindset, and its the same all over the world. get the experience and skills and love work, youll get hired.

  • Evan

    Thank you Sultan. This was an extremely insightful article. I
    would like to also thank you for your service which seems to be an important
    factor that some other veterans leaving their comments seem to be missing. I’ve
    recently just left the Army after nine years and I have to say that I am
    the epitome of number 1 and 2. After nine years of frankly working my
    ass off and rising through the ranks, having accomplished and earned so much in
    that time, I find it hard to accept the fact that I am back in the 9th grade
    and it’s my first day of high school all over again; I am nobody. It’s even
    harder to accept this fact when throughout my entire military career I was
    constantly told that, “I am a 1%er,” “I have gained valuable leadership skills
    that would be a great asset in any industry.” Of course in retrospect these words
    were simply a retention tool, used to get us all motivated and willing to do
    another six years. I should know, I was a Career Counselor my last three years.
    Obviously, I took them the wrong way because I then found myself in ACAP
    classes and looking on websites that support Veteran employment, all of them telling
    me that “I [as a Veteran] am a cut above the rest.” That, “I
    have an advantage to the average civilian in the workforce.” Is it any
    wonder then that we are groomed to have an exceptionalist mentality? I AM
    Unique, but not in a good way as the connotations of the abovementioned people
    would leave me to believe. The truth is that I am unique because I am a

  • Don

    As a current active duty Navy sailor with nine years in, there are certain things that I agree and disagree with about this article.
    First and foremost, a majority of this information is actually good information. One should definitely know how to properly prepare a resume, and properly interview for a position. With that being said, and with some of the comments I have seen on here, I can guarantee you, that if you vets walk into a civilian interview with a “my shit don’t stink” attitude because you have been in for 20+ years, you won’t be hired. Think about it this way, you get an 18 year E-7 walking into your command after a PCS (leader or not), and he decides to turn the place upside down immediately, and preach to everyone how awesome he is. Are you going to respect him? Or are you going to want to boot him right out the front door?
    Point being.. a little bit of humility goes a long way.
    On the flipside, pertaining directly to this article, I can also understand where some of these comments come from. This gentleman does, in fact, come off as a little arrogant himself. Also, please remember, that this is only ONE perspective, out of the hundreds of thousands of companies in the country. I definitely wouldn’t put all my eggs in one basket with this point of view, and you shouldn’t either.
    For example, as this man may use social networking on the regular to recruit, it is unrealistic (at least at this point in social media development), to believe that “most” companies out there will primarily use social networking to recruit. As great of a resource it is, and can be for the business world, not all companies use it. Keep it as an option, but again, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. I seriously doubt your job outlooks will be significantly affected by your use (or lack of use) of social networking. But hey, when I get around to retiring, that could all be different, so I guess I should keep my options open as well.
    Folks, plain and simple. I am a 9 year Hospital Corpsman in the US Navy. I am looking at doing my 20, and moving on to a new career, as I will most likely not be interested in the medical field any longer. So I will have to ultimately plan to start a new career. For a person like myself who has been through numerous civilian interviews and jobs prior to the military, I can tell you that your attitude, and your ability to be humble are going to make ALL the difference in the world.
    Keep an open mind. And remember, us service members are definitely not entitled to anything more than we already have. I would prefer to be known as a hard worker, rather than a veteran that just had everything handed to him anyways. I actually think I would be doing my Navy a disservice if I went out to the civilian sector, with Navy Retired under my name, and walk around like my shit doesn’t stink. I would rather be known as that hardworking prior Navy sailor, rather then that lazy retiree that doesn’t contribute to the company and sits around and tells war stories all day.

    • guest

      dude your talking the same jive that everybody says, “Im doing this in the military but I wont do it when I get out.” Your going to do whatever hustle you have to do to make it. And in many cases the hiring manager looks at your resume and if you worked in medical then thats where you go. Then you go to school at night or you try out a new career, from the bottom, you swallow your pride and you transition. If your still active duty, you dont even know what your going to do.

    • guest

      and all that about “humbe” and “open mind” yeah thats all easy to say but youll see how it is. What you and other vets need to do is learn how to HUSTLE. I mean work, get the spirit, and love work, I mean like horrilbly long hours and travel and sacrifice. Thats what its about. Its not about somebody giving you something for nothing, some free training or school. Its about work/reward. I seen guys who would not been good military types but they could work like you wouldnt believe, they had the spirit. Ive also seen reitrees who were absolutely worthless, I mean the biggest douches youd ever meet, and where did they land their job? As a gov civilian. You got to transition, to the free market and think like that.

  • creative team

    This is best article you have share with us about career.. I got an interesting information from here.. Thanks for this awesome sharing..

  • guest

    I think he missed a very real and often overlooked point: The military is public or gov sector, most of the civilian world is private sector. Yes, many organizations are set up like the military in some ways with their management style, but the business world rewards effort, politics promotions etc are not that emphasized, at least in my experience. If the private sector biz operated like the gov, I can guarantee you there would be no biz sector or economy. The public sector or a military sector simply operate in 2 entirely different ways. I must admit, in some units I served with, waste was just how things were done. We didnt care if we trashed something because we didnt have to, we got paid by taxes and appropriated funds. Things dont work that way in most companies, theyll go bankrupt. They are constantly striving to beat competition, exploit new opportunities, etc. Its a tough exisitance, and the military simply isnt that kind of organization. The military (depends on branch) does offer an edge or perseverance that many young civilians dont have. But I think that is somewhat overated. Many civilians work much harder than I ever did in the US military. Civilian world isnt a 9 to 5 job, do my duty and Im good. For example If you want to be a Chef, thats some tough hours and if you want to make it big, you got to travel and make your own way. Its not like somebody will pay everything for you. You got many others who made their way out in some crappy enviroment and they wont have any sympathy for you. Then you got service side industry with its marketing, sales, service, call center management and all that. There is no sales in the military, unless your doing some car wash for charity. I mean this isnt deep stuff here. I really think allot of transistional assistance gov civilians miss the mark. The class I attended back in the day did absolutely nothing for me, it was a joke led by some career civilian gov type employee. If your going to work for the gov or a contractor, or even in the trades, then yes it can help, but for a real biz, sorry that aint how it works. This isnt to slam on the military, but its to help vets and retirees transition. Anyway, many GI bills pay like room and board now I guess and stuff like books and perks we never got back in the day, so there really isnt any excuse for vets who get that benefit to be complaining. You can get out and get that free education and get your MBA and intern. Dont expect to get a shoulder to whine on from a civilian; many had it much harder and are paying off student loans. Its a hustle, and I like it but it aint no easy ride.

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