Jobless vets need to think outside military box

Veterans have to get out of the military mindset if they’re going to adapt to the civilian workplace. And that means gearing up for a new outlook even before they leave the armed forces behind.

While it’s important to be proud of military service, it’s also critical for a vets career to know how to play up and play down their years serving your country, advised Randy Plunkett, the director of community and government outreach for, during our live web chat Wednesday.

“Two common mistakes transitioning military make are to not start early in transitioning and to use military jargon on their resumes,” he told readers.

One reader, Phil, a captain in the Army with a degree in history from West Point, asked Plunkett: “What kind of jobs are available for someone with my background?”

Plunkett’s response:

“Think about your ancillary experience. Not only do you have a degree, you have more than just your army job. You are a human resources manager - talking with soldiers about their careers, you supervise and manage extensive training programs, you actively participate in performance reviews, and you have extensive diversity and inclusion workplace experience.”

It’s all about taking your experience in the military, he explained, and pointing out how what you did can fit into the real work world.

“We need a fundamental change in thinking,” he stressed. “Military members have to think in terms of their big picture, large category experience, not just their classification.”

Here’s the entire Q&A with Plunkett:

 Join us next Wednesday for another live web chat with an expert that will address money or work issues.

Discuss this post

Employers have to pick-up some of the responsibility along with the military. The excuse heard too often now is employers are too "concerned" about PTSD to hire a vet.

A real simple law would also help. If companies depend on the govt (taxpayers) for contracts (especially no bid, sole supplier), bail-outs, favorable and targeted tax treatment then they have to ante up and train their hiring managers on how to interview vets and to spend money to train them if they have the basic skill set. That means a liaison office at the Labor Dept, military, and DOJ to make certain that enforcement of the law occurs. Remedies should include financial penalties all the way to debarment, especially when vets are openly discriminated against.

One violation means a large fine directly to vets who apply and are turned away. The second violation means the taxpayer benefits they get (that add to the massive bonuses in the such as the financial sector, healthcare and defense sectors and the C-Suite) are turned off cold. No drip. Automatic.

Companies that enjoy huge profits from Govt largesse especially ones that benefit when troops are deployed to "protect American Vital Interests" meaning private interests, absolutely have a inherent responsibility to make a significant investment in making certain that Vets get jobs at their companies. Lets make it the law and enforce it.

    Reply#1 - Wed Jun 20, 2012 4:02 PM EDT

    That is why its important that vets take any job that becomes available. Once a vet can get into the civilian job market it becomes easier to realize how their miliitary skill can be put to use. I remember when I left the military I took a job that paid $7.50 an hour, but that job led to a better job which led to even a better job.

      Reply#2 - Thu Jun 21, 2012 3:36 PM EDT

      If our government spends $810,810 Dollars per job created, what
      I’m asking is peanuts.
      If I can't refinance my paid home since banks are asking for residency status,
      employment with not less than 2 years of continuous work records.

      FICO Scores really are not permitting anybody to get a descent loan approval; we’re
      all going down the drain.

      Make it simple, if you have a job and you can afford to pay for a new car, go for it
      and have these institutions and entities that have corralled our money, our government money should learn new economics.

      When our country is down, any paying job is a good job with some food stamps help from our government.

      Companies are only hiring part time jobs and are abusing the hiring power to have the employee begging for a couple of more hours of work.

      Companies are afraid of investing in the labor force since they can’t compete with the
      Chinese market.

      If we don’t build, produce and consume American made, we’ll be in trouble, so buy American made and have our government stop importing foreign made products for about 4 years till our economy is back on our
      feet again.

      Banks will have to redefine what’s like to lend money to move up our economy again,
      since our economy starts at the home construction index, the car manufacturing
      and lastly the retail industry. If we can’t refinance our home value, we can’t
      buy a new car but we’ll have enough of cash from the low paying jobs for the
      retail industry.

      Think big people, we don’t need to buy clothing every 10 years?, I have enough
      clothes for 100 years like anybody else, I need a bigger closet instead and I’m
      not buying anything I don’t need any more, but I can’t put food on my table
      which is the most important thing in life, otherwise the crime factor increases
      exponentially in low income targeted area neighborhoods.

        Reply#3 - Thu Jun 21, 2012 4:51 PM EDT

        The price of renting apartments has to come down significantly, for example in Fort
        Myers there’re no apartments for rent and realtor companies can’t offer the
        empty ones hoarded by banks waiting to place them in the for sale market.

        There’re so many empty place where I live, across my apartment, how about 5 apartments among 24 apartments in just 3 buildings waiting to be sold at a later date.

        We know people used to own in South Florida from one to six places that were
        turned back to their mortgage lenders as short sale or foreclosure since people
        went back to the nanny old family tradition and left this area unpopulated. We
        need incentives for people to go back and repopulate empty apartment areas.

        Another problem in the South Florida construction disgrace was the import of 600
        million tons of the Chinese dry wall, they say after Hurricane Katrina August 28, 2005 and other say it was imported before hurricane Charlie August 9-15, 2004, and our government fines 2 millions to the importer instead of going after the manufacturing company in China.

          Reply#4 - Thu Jun 21, 2012 5:24 PM EDT

          You know it sure is a shame how we do our soldiers. We send them overseas to fight wars we cant possibly win. they come home blown to pieces. Living with horrible nightmares, PTSD, they're having hard times finding jobs, rate of homeless vets vs civilian is double. are we really doing this to our military? there was a time when fighting for this country meant a small piece of land that was non taxable with which you could build a home and small farm. this could never be taken from them. Perhaps we should do this again. without a mortgage to pay, if you could get one. the bills would be less. easier to would be a small price considering the govt owns millions of houses thanks to the mortgage bailout. put vets in some of these houses, instead of letting them rot unsold. not asking for lifetime pay. just a lifetime place to rest our heads, that we can know is ours and will always be ours. a home. Remember not all of our military have families to come home too, let alone a home. many have their own inner struggles from being in situations you can never forget. they shouldn't be left homeless to try and deal with it, but many are. Alone, confused,stressed because they cant find or hold a job. How does he readjust to life outside of war while hes destitute and homeless. Remember these are the same men and women who volunteered to fight for us. Is this really how we care for them when they need us most?

          • 1 vote
          Reply#5 - Thu Jun 21, 2012 8:15 PM EDT
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