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

243 Responses

  1. 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.

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  2. 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.

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    • 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.

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      • 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.

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        • 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.

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          • This is awesome

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          • 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.

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          • 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.

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          • 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

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    • 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.

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

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    • 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.

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    • I appreciate what you have to bring to the table. While I think the author had some concrete advice (and it was a tough pill to swallow), I understand why someone, at some point, wouldn’t want to negotiate and sell themselves short. For instance, I’m an Air Force vet myself who has an AA, a BS, and an MBA. During the recession of 2009, I did mock interviews and was told that even though I did very well, mentioning I had a child could cause me not to be hired (supposedly because the hiring manager would think I was more prone to taking time off). At first I accepted this advice, but then I thought about it and came to the conclusion that I’m tired of trying to censor my own life just so I don’t offend someone. I’m a parent, and it’s not a crime, and I don’t particularly want to hide it. I decided that if an agency didn’t want to hire me BECAUSE I was a parent (even though most people are), they were a poor cultural fit for me, and I didn’t want to work there anyway.
      I think that’s what you are trying to say, that an agency that would make you dumb down your resume and not appreciate tangible skills would be a poor cultural fit, and maybe they are. I’d recommend to keep looking at what’s out there, particularly on a niche professional site like You’ll find something. Good luck.

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    • Yes guest, they are intimidated by you, but not for all the reason’s you list. I coach Veterans and help them find positions that are not always posted and I would hesitate to spend too much time with you. I feel you need a full time coach to help you through your issues so your vast experience can be best utilized. I have worked in corporate outplacement for ten years and for you Mr. Guest, I would require at least a year long program of full time outplacement services. God bless you.

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    • Mr. Camp is not being a Jerk. I’ve been through the ringer with my career change because I too have been resistant to the fact that my credentials are worth nothing until I prove myself in a Company’s Culture. Sometimes I feel like my undergraduate degree has amounted to just another line on my resume.

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    • right on!

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  3. 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.

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  4. 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”.

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

  6. 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.”

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  7. 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.

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  8. 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?

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  9. #10 Less than 1% of our country has served. You won’t be hired because they resent your service.

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  10. “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.

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  11. 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.

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  12. 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!!!

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    • 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

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      • Another thing a lot of people hadn’t mentioned….had they thought of applying for veteran-centric places, such as the Veterans Administration, DoD, Dept. of the Army, etc? These places are all over, and about as close to the military structure as you can get (without actually being in it). I’d think that would make the transition a little easier than going straight to the corporate world, unless someone just has their heart set on that.

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    • 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.

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  13. 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

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  14. 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.

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    • 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.

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    • 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.

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

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  16. 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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  17. This article is kind of a mash up between advice for senior and junior folks looking to transition. While a few points of advice are worthwhile like the thank you letter, and preparing for an interview, the rest, for me, totally missed the mark. Here’s the thing, there is nothing wrong with refusing to start at the bottom of an organization when you have the education and experience to back it up. I transitioned from the Army roughly two years ago with a Bachelors, masters and 12 yrs of transferrable experience. I was senior enlisted, previously held a technical job in the military, and starting at the bottom just wasn’t an option. My first job out of the military was an Assistant Director. To tell someone with the education and skills that they should accept entry level and aren’t unique is ridiculous. Your sole purpose is to sell yourself, your skills, and your personality as to why you are a good fit for the organization. You NEED to stand out in order to get hired. Some job boards work, some don’t. It’s the same for civilians. The great thing about prior military is that we’re used to starting over, we move around a lot and get thrown into uncomfortable situations only to learn how to be comfortable super fast. Resilience in itself is a selling point that you need to make known to your future employer. What I’ve found more than anything is with education and the sheer amount of experience one receives in the military versus our civilian counterparts, is that we’re often OVER qualified for positions. Don’t settle. Seek out positions that accurately match your experience. My opinion is most civilian organizations have a hard time understanding the similarities between the military and major fortune companies.

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  18. You and me both. I sure hope they can invent a way someday to stop making claims decisions that last >4 years or some other ridiculous shit like that (but that’s a conversation for another thread).

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  19. This is an awesome writeup. Being an active duty soldier with a Juris Doctorate, My biggest fear in life is still that of being unemployed or overqualified. I can attest that some of these issues are true. My resume is probably longer than the CEO’s and i need to fix that.

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  20. At World IT Solutions we support our Veterans! Interested in a career in IT ? – Connect with our recruiters and Visit our website at to learn more!

  21. Do what I did. Spend 15 years in the Army, see everything there is to see, get out and finish your degree (with good grades of course), go to graduate school, work a few internships, and walla! Mil experience (particularly leadership and management skills, check!), education (check!), and real life experience (double check!). I’ve found that more than anything having reputable experience interning whether paid or unpaid is vastly valuable, and apparently under utilized.

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  22. I wish I would have read this article about a month ago. I currently transitioning from the Army and although I have a set of transferable skills, I am definitely lacking in the resume writing area. I had the very long chronological resume. Since I began actively interviewing, I have learned that I need several different resumes and ones that are more detailed and technical. I bombed my first interview because I was not prepared for what they were going to ask me. Since that interview, I have been writing down what I am going to say and practicing practicing practicing. One company has already said they are ready to give me an offer the other one I should hear back from on Friday or Monday. In the mean time, I have prepared my thank you letter. I have also excepted the fact that I to lower my expectations because as the article said we military folk do have a hard time starting over. Awesome article sending it to everyone I know that is transitioning.

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  23. In my opinion a well written and informative article. However, this is dealing with tactics, if you want to succeed in civilian life after your military career you need to adopt a far more strategic approach. How do I know? Because I failed miserably!

    I left the British Air Force as a senior officer (wing commander) in 2007 and thought I would smash it in civilian life. How wrong I was! Many off the comments on this thread resonate with my experience.

    It wasn’t until 5 years later in 2012 that I realized that if I wanted to succeed in civilian life I had to be A CIVILIAN!! I had rear view mirror syndrome real bad. Everything about the Air Force was great and civilian life was s**t!

    Sorry but that does not serve you. Honor your service but live your life. You joined of your own free will and got well paid for your service. Your country owes you respect for your service but nothing more.

    If you truly want to transition to civilian life ( and many don’t) then you must change your mindset and your self image first. Details come later. I learned that the hard way before I turned my life around.

    If you are interested in the story of my transition check out

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  24. Don’t think just because you served your country that you are owed a job when you leave the military. You volunteered and got paid cry baby.

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  25. You asked for a Chaplain? Here i am! 😉

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  26. I had some issues with vernacular when I first transitioned and had to get my duties and such civilianized. Indeed, I had to say I’ll take anything as I had a wife and two children. They did not have Social Media in 78 and 82 when I mustered out and graduated college.

    I was hired by one man only because he knew me as he considered Vets to be inflexible. If you would see my LinkedIIn profile, I have been anything but inflexbible because I took whatever I could get to raise that family.

    Now, I am seeking something I want, but many consider me too old and yet I am as active, if not more, as when I was 35. Just keep looking and listen to some of the author’s suggestions. They are reasonable.

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  27. All logical points. If you disagree, imagine you are the hiring manager, your job is on the line to find the most qualified person to help the organization to get the job done. From that perspective, do you still think you came off as the most qualified candidate that was interviewed? Less likely if you broke one of the 9 rules and someone else did not. He may want to hire you, but feels blocked by how you presented yourself.

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  28. Part of the problem is the military has some very odd ways of doing things, partly by necessity and partly because they don’t want to change. We have skills when we exit but often we haven’t kept up with our civilian counterparts in keeping up with how things are done “on the other side”. Consequently when we exit, we have skills but they are from 5 years ago. Companies hire for tomorrow.
    Another issue is why should any company hire you, a 38 year old exiting/retiring military member when they can hire a 22 year old, straight outta college kid. He’ll settle for less, not knowing any better. His work history is Acme Pizza in college but I’m the guy who has led men and has 20 years of solid work history.

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  29. I read this article for two reasons; to see if Mr Camp knew what he was talking about (he does) and to see if he mentioned everything (he doesn’t). So here’s my two cents… There are four areas that job seekers must learn about and be experts in, resume writing and tweaking, networking, interview skills and salary negotiation. Most veterans in their base/post transition programs get, at most, resume writing and maybe some interview tips. Not enough! In my opinion the most important of all those is NETWORKING. It is a term most of you will grow to hate until you learn how to do it. The major reason you may not get hired is that you are an unknown quantity. Hiring authorities of management positions do not hire unknown quantities (very often). How do you get to be a known quantity? NETWORKING!! Unfortunately transitioning military do what they have always done. They put in their 110% until the day they go on terminal leave, then they say, “Now where’s my high paying civilian job?” Big mistake, 6 months to a year prior to getting out you should’ve started networking. There are many avenues for networking, chambers, business groups, your church, kids sports teams, community service, scouting etc. Most successful business people give back to their community by serving on various non-profits or other volunteer positions, you meet important people doing this.

    NETWORKING is nothing more than the cocktail party scenario of meeting people. Do not fall for the “Speed Networking” groups, there is no such thing a speed networking. NETWORKING is relationship building, you don’t do this at Mach one. Make the person you are meeting the focus and learn about them. Exchange cards and meet them later for coffee, see if you can help them. Eventually they will ask if they can help you, now let them know you are in transition. I used to say I was an operations management consultant doing research on the Tampa Bay market. You’ve told them you’re unemployed without laying any guilt on them. When you meet them for coffee ask if they know who you should be talking to, to get info on ops mgmt positions. You must NETWORK all the time. The time you spend on job boards is wasted time, you are applying for jobs that rarely exist and you are giving your email address to people who will spam you to death.

    NETWORKING, NETWORKING, NETWORKING is key, learn it, do it, make tons of friends, get hired.

    Bill Moline is a former Vietnam helicopter pilot and retired USAF LtCol fighter pilot. After 23 years of service he worked in various positions, the most important of which was with the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. After leaving the chamber he worked for about ten years as a career advisor and was certified as a Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Global Career Development Facilitator (GCDF).

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  30. This article really says, most Vets don’t get the job for the same reasons most civilians don’t get the job. The major difference is point one, starting over–and ‘maybe” on the starting over! No great revelations here.

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    • Sage comments. you know a lot. A lot of these guys need to understand that they need to LISTEN to people who will help them. It IS a change. An old friend once summed me up pretty well -hadn’t been out of USN two years yet-“He hasn’t lost his collar brass yet.” He sympathized-had been in the Army and a retired NYPD cop: “Took me about two years to lose my shield.” He was a good friend, and someone I actually took guidance from, as it was empathetic and well meant. There are many pitfalls in the civilian world that do not exist in the military. While many won’t agree, and there are plenty who don’t-most people STILL have to follow the rules-at least some of them sometimes! Civilians? They make their own rules! I worked for the same guy for ten years-then for three females in a year and a half(!!?)-sad to say, the first was the poorest excuse for a human being I ever met, the second was a nice lady, but had no business supervising ME-I was better qual’ed than everyone in the office but the director-and the atmosphere for males there was just TOXIC-third woman-capable and smart and nasty-this was 2007-she used to brag “I came from Wall Street”. A few months later, that was like saying “I worked in a house of ill repute.) Then I worked for another guy for 4 1/2 years, then another YOUNG woman for a year-who LISTENED to me and another older worker-and appreciated our quiet advice. (Still friends) Then I had Melanie. How do you get a job that pays $125K without even an associate’s degree? Answer: be nice looking and charming and DISARMING, and be a real killer. (I’ll hold back any comments about “unnatural acts”.) She beat me with a buckle for a year while my mother was dying, and gave me the WORST evaluation I have ever received. However, I didn’t take that crap when I was in the Navy, and I don’t take it now. I rebutted it, and gave a copy to my COO, and the following workday, I was transferred to another dept where I now have the BEST boss I ever had!! (She was lived. She can drop dead, BTW.) Best thing-she started in on her other generalist, and finally the head shed realized it wasn’t us, and she was told to find something else. Behaved VERY unprofessionally at the end, and was walked out by the lady she was trying to fire!!My point-it’s a jungle out here-but if you do your work and try to be professional at all times, and learn from people who have been there, things should go okay. Epilogue-Melanie went to another firm where MY COUSIN is a Sr VP and Dep General Counsel. I notified her immediately. You never know who others know!!

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  31. OK, the single biggest difference I find between vet job seekers and civilian is their concept of the resume. The resume should include mostly what you can do for the employer based on experience and little about the command structure in which you performed your duties. Military resume’s start out longer because of the command structure issue above and the emphasis on “credentials” in the military and for documenting every nuance of the job–instead of documenting results. But, a similar issue exists for my engineering job seekers and worse. Then there are the academicians who list a bazillion publications but don’t catch on that they also need to emphasize their grant acquisition track record–who would of thunk. Again, there are a few unique issues to the Vet job search, but most reasons you didn’t get hired are the same for civilians and vets.

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  32. This is a good article and right on. Many of us who served for decades never had to write a resume or practice for a job interview. The transition points, when I went through did not help me a bit. I am from Illinois and went to Fort Knox. Colleges have some type of employment assistance and most jobs are part time. Fromm what I went through, many organizations do not recognize military experience or training. It does seem like military experience means nothing, especially when job seekers express it.

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  33. I went on an interview last week for an entry level IT help desk position. I performed 6 out of 9 items on Mr. Camp’s list. I sent in a thank you note, but I didn’t ask for the job. Today I’m going to run to the nearest college and have an English professor look at my resume. I’m going to open up a Twitter account. I’m one of those to who don’t like the whole social media thing, but my friend gets all the latest news before I do. I even didn’t want a LinkedIn account, since I got it I’ve received more prospects and met some cool people already. This is a great article I’m going to read it over, over. Soldier for life.

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  34. It’s funny that the comments went from a critique of the article to a critique of John Smith’s (really?) comment. Yes.. frustrations abound. For any individual looking for work… not finding it is perhaps the most infuriating thing you can experience. You can only take so much ‘advice’ and ‘here’s how I did it’ stories before you blow a gasket. This job search isn’t like anything many vets have experienced. You can beat the enemy, max the rifle range, call in a precision air strike, run an HR department or manage a warehouse and get awarded, promoted, slapped on the back and see feel accomplishment. But if you feel you are doing everything right in your job search… the right resume, clothes, handshake, studied the company profile, had a stellar interview, wrote the ‘thank you’ card… and still nothing to show for it is absolutely the most teeth grinding, smoke from the ears, belittling feeling you can have. I get it John. But the one thing you have that your civilian competition may not have going for them is perseverance…and a network of like minded people who want you to succeed. Networking has replaced newspapers, PC based job searching and job fairs as single most important thing you can do to find a job. Have a cup of coffee, relax the nerves, then take an objective look at your search and how you are going about it. What can we do to help?

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  35. Number (1) doesn’t have to be true. If you’re a strong communicator – do your absolute best to translate your experience for them. Employers are as ignorant of your experiences as you are of their culture. Them, yourself and your fellow veterans a service in doing so.

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  36. Number (1) doesn’t have to be true. If you’re a strong communicator – do your absolute best to translate your experience for them. Employers are as ignorant of your experiences as you are of their culture. You will do them, yourself and your fellow veterans a service in doing so.

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  37. A military veteran takes the time to write about things that will assist military veterans with their transition, and he is accused of narcissism, ignorance, and being judgmental.
    The people that have this condescending and entitled attitude are exactly the type that will not (and should not) succeed when they transition to civilian life.

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  38. Regarding the ‘starting over” issue. My perspective comes from 20 years of civilian corporate outplacement consulting where large bureaucracies like Ameritech, COM ED (energy) and Motorola lay off thousands of employees and my firm helped them get back to work. For managers level employees, learning to think outside a ‘chain of command” mindset, that of a large organization can also be a winning strategy. Consider being an ‘individual contributor” in a technical environment such as health care or consulting. If you aren’t winning at the management promotion from within of the large organization –trying to be hired into ‘lateral” positions, try ‘starting over” with an associates degree in an allied health field. This will take out of the box thinking and perhaps some individual career coaching, including taking the Myers Briggs Type Two assessment which helps you understand your ‘flex” areas of growth.

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  39. I am painfully aware of the realities associated with this article, regarding my fellow Veterans and military retirees. Although I have 3 degrees (AA, BS, and MBA) and two post-graduate certification in Lean Six Sigma, I have NOT been able to find employment based on my education.
    I went to countless interviews (with a professional resume, listing my supervisory, instructional, and management experiences from the US Army) looking professional and certainly employable. Unfortunately, I heard the same response every time: “Well, Mr. Longstreet, you’ve certainly done a lot for our country and for the Army. Now, we’d like to hear about your civilian (“real-world”) management and supervisory experience.”
    Since I have little civilian supervisory/management experience to speak of, the myriad of military duties and responsibilities that I performed flawlessly mean nothing to civilian corporations, companies, CEOs, and HR personnel with unspoken “social” priorities that trump Veterans with Honorable Discharges. THAT is the reality facing 99% of all military retirees and Veterans.
    If the tens of thousands of military retirees (like me) can manage millions of dollars worth of equipment for the military while keeping thousands of Soldiers safe in all global combat and training environments and if those same individuals have MBAs with Lean Six Sigma certifications (like me), it is the businesses that fail to exploit the potential of former military personnel infinitely more than it is our personal failures.

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    • Would have to disagree with that. “Managing millions of dollars worth of military equipment…” I mean thats all good but lets be realistic here. I did the same (almost) but if that piece of gear got trashed, then it got sent to a depot or DRMO for disposal. I was just like a custodian of sorts; it was tax payers money and it was like “oh well”. we were spoliled. Our quarters, utilities, transportation food, all paid for. All I did was manage some program by the gov. Take a civilain PM, in charge of a multimillion dollar project. If the project fails, he answers to the stakeholders and he wont be a PM for much longer. That kind of risk isnt to be tolerated. My advice to vets it to get certified in your trade, or mulitple certs in mutiple trades. PMI, CCNA, Developer, web design, SEO etc. Always have a skillset ready. Also, start a small biz, even on ebay or craigs. Get on the net, look at what others are doing, like recon out the market. Work in a trade or biz, copy what they do, modify it. MBA, grad school blah blah. They are everywhere. You dont find that innovative person on every corner because we arent taught to hustle. We been brainwashed to depend. Write up a biz plan, your enterprise statement, take it to a biz consultant, run it by investors, check out how to make word press website, start an LLC. Invest in yourself.nobody taught me any of this and I learned it late in the game. All these people talking about MBA, retired military etc. Where is the biz ? Start small and work on a plan. They should teach us this in transistion from the military, instead many go work as prison guards or cops, truck driver, defense contractor. Nothing wrong with that, but where is the enterprise skills? so dude, can you cook? make that unique reciepe and hustle it as a vendor if its allowed by your jurisdiction. You too good for that? I thought I was too. You see vets doing boot camps and selling their hustle to fat civilians. Your back on the block now, competing with immigrants, guys out of the joint, vets, MBAs, all types. Aint no time for excuses. This is what they should teach in transistion class. If the gov had any sense they would buy up vacant land in depressed areas and turn them into free trade zones; corporations could get tax free access for a year if they hired a vet or other disadvantaged person. Disadvanted people get tax free access for a year, and a biz loan to boot if their biz plan passed the legit test. They in turn would have to complete training paid in part by the corp and gov (all carrot/stick approach at every level) would be a gun free zone also. (got off track a bit) But thats how I see it, we got to start thinking free commerce and enterprise and promote that. Vets have the motivation and desire (I think anybody has) they just need that spark and motivation it could happen

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    • Would have to disagree with that. “Managing millions of dollars worth of military equipment…” I mean thats all good but lets be realistic here. I did the same (almost) but if that piece of gear got trashed, then it got sent to a depot or DRMO for disposal. I was just like a custodian of sorts; it was tax payers money and it was like “oh well”. we were spoliled. Our quarters, utilities, transportation food, all paid for. All I did was manage some program by the gov. Take a civilain PM, in charge of a multimillion dollar project. If the project fails, he answers to the stakeholders and he wont be a PM for much longer. That kind of risk isnt to be tolerated. My advice to vets it to get certified in your trade, or mulitple certs in mutiple trades. PMI, CCNA, Developer, web design, SEO etc. Always have a skillset ready. Also, start a small biz, even on ebay or craigs. Get on the net, look at what others are doing, like recon out the market. Work in a trade or biz, copy what they do, modify it. MBA, grad school blah blah. They are everywhere. You dont find that innovative person on every corner because we arent taught to hustle. We been brainwashed to depend. Write up a biz plan, your enterprise statement, take it to a biz consultant, run it by investors, check out how to make word press website, start an LLC. Invest in yourself.nobody taught me any of this and I learned it late in the game. All these people talking about MBA, retired military etc. Where is the biz ? Start small and work on a plan. They should teach us this in transistion from the military, instead many go work as prison guards or cops, truck driver, defense contractor. Nothing wrong with that, but where is the enterprise skills? so dude, can you cook? make that unique reciepe and hustle it as a vendor if its allowed by your jurisdiction. You too good for that? I thought I was too. You see vets doing boot camps and selling their hustle to fat civilians. Your back on the block now, competing with immigrants, guys out of the joint, vets, MBAs, all types. Aint no time for excuses. This is what they should teach in transistion class. If the gov had any sense they would buy up vacant land in depressed areas and turn them into free trade zones; corporations could get tax free access for a year if they hired a vet or other disadvantaged person. Disadvanted people get tax free access for a year, and a biz loan to boot if their biz plan passed the legit test. They in turn would have to complete training paid in part by the corp and gov (all carrot/stick approach at every level) would be a gun free zone also. (got off track a bit) But thats how I see it, we got to start thinking free commerce and enterprise and promote that. Vets have the motivation and desire (I think anybody has) they just need that spark and motivation it could happen

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  40. I just wanted to say thanks to Sultan Camp.
    After reading this it has helped me see the job seeking part of my current transition is nothing to take lightly and I will have to put in some hard work to make sure that the day I am no longer in the Air Force that I have secured a job already.

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  41. I think the article CAN be helpful, if you’re willing to listen and make adjustments. it takes a while to transition, and several people have pointed out that military service is no longer a universal thing. True. Some people -especially those with a family member in service -will be helpful. Others, not so much. I try to help vets if they are applying at my workplace-put in a good word for them. A couple others tried to help me along the way. Having a good resume-if you’re less than 30, it should probably only be one page., taking the jargon out, avoiding errors, making a good impression-looking decent, thank you note or at least a thank you email-all good advice. Linked In-very important-I’m ALWAYS searching-the nature of the workplace these days-things can be pretty unstable if you aren’t a government worker. HR people DO check it. Facebook-take the dumb stuff out.(drunken pics, etc.) Some HR Directors check that, too. Twitter is mostly younger people, but still a good tool. I know the search and the transition can be frustrating. I got laid off a few years ago, and fought like a tiger to get rehired. had to take something else before another job in my field came along-took a year. I made sure I applied for a position EVERY DAY. There IS age discrimination, but if you have a decent education OR background in your field-not everyone has to have an MBA, present THAT as your key point. I think a lot of companies really do want to help vets-and you probably don’t want to work for one that doesn’t at least respect your service. I get the frustration of some of the bloggers here. We could have done a lot better if we hadn’t gone in, or especially if we hadn’t stayed. But that was our choice, and most of us would probably do the same thing again. And we have something they can’t buy, and never will have. Help other vets if you can. Good luck.

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  42. Do you enjoy distorting the workforce with your arrogant bigotry?

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  43. “only hire veterans, but also weed out non-veterans” <-there are EEO laws against that and you'll be fired if caught.
    I'm a vet also I served my 4 years in the Navy and I currently doing my Master in Human Resource also, but I understand you have to start from the bottom like a coordinator or assistant, unless some big fortune 500 firm decide to pick me up for a rotational program. What you learn in the military helps like integrity and commitment, but it not going to help you know the specifics of HR or know the business and that why you going to have to start from the bottom to learn just like an airman did

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  44. I FAIL TO SEE HOW THIS BEGINS TO APPLY TO THE MILITARY AND NOT EVERYONE IN GENERAL? How in the h.e. double hockey sticks would someone in the food industry know how to transition to a job in the TV & Film industry. Just sounds like a Nancy that couldn’t cut it in the military and decided to write a stupid article that is just shooting darts at service members!

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  45. Dear Sultan Camp, I enjoyed your article and very grateful you are able to share your advice. While I would agree with most of your logic and advice, I am also grateful I will never be hired by you or have you work under my charge. Respectfully, CWO3(Ret), USN

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  46. this article has merit. it’s true

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  47. Although I agree with a lot of what is being said in this article, I’m a little confused as to why this just pertains to retired military members. This seems like quality reasons for why anyone wouldn’t get hired, not JUST people who have served our country. I appreciate the tips and and I have to say, I learned a few things for the future when I start looking for jobs after college. However, I think this article shouldn’t be targeted towards this specific audience.

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  48. What a vary refreshing and upfront article. In reflection, this article is quite informative and gives a good impression of how easy it is to see yourself from the other side. I enjoyed it and will certainly consider every aspect when applying/interviewing for another opportunity.

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