10 Reasons to Hire Veterans

Veterans have skills and training that help businesses succeed. Here’s how to leverage their talent for your organization.

soldier working on laptop
If you want to hire team players, leaders, and problem solvers — look to veterans

If you’re looking for talent that is disciplined, team-oriented, and has the capacity to lead when needed, look no further than the men and women that have served our country in the military. These candidates know what it means to get up with the sun, have each other’s backs, and take charge whenever called.

The United States Armed Forces turns out some of the most impressive job seekers in the country; leveraging that talent for your small and medium-sized business is a best practice for almost any type of organization. The Census Bureau reports there are about 18 million veterans in the U.S. today, about 10% female. When you’re looking to hire, this large talent pool has the skills and training that help businesses succeed.

1. Veterans have drive

Since the draft was eliminated in 1973, every member of the armed forces in the U.S. has served our country voluntarily. These are people who seek out and willingly accept responsibility. They understand the benefits of the work they perform to themselves, their employer, and their country. If you’re looking for a self-starter, look no further than the veteran community.

2. Veterans have education and training 

More than 75% of Post-9/11 and Gulf War vets hold some level of college experience, and more than 1/3 of all Gulf War vets have a 4-year college degree.

Post-9/11 veterans have the highest education levels of service members in American history. More than 75% of Post-9/11 and Gulf War vets hold some level of college experience, and more than 1/3 of all Gulf War vets have a 4-year college degree. This large cohort of talent not only has the educational background most companies are looking for, they have specific training provided by the U.S. government, as well.

3. Veterans are team players

Service members are trained to understand a team works best when everyone pulls their weight. These workers are willing and able to do their share as part of the group. Their training requires them to respect the culture and leadership of any organization and execute their duties quickly and responsibly. They exhibit top qualities needed in a team player.

4. Veterans get the job done

When it comes time to execute, veterans are mission-focused. Give them a task and forget about it — they’ve got it covered. They know that every step along the way is important, but completing the task is critical. Military training requires veterans get the job done in the quickest, most efficient way. Businesses that are looking for completion-oriented staff should look to veteran hires.

5. Veterans are problem solvers

The military develops decision-makers: vets are trained to pull information from their environment and come up with solutions. If a veteran can keep their cool under fire, they can easily remain clear-headed in stressful situations in a business setting. That problem-solving ability depends on dedication and calm — qualities every organization is looking for in its staff and leadership.

6. Veterans are leaders 

When it comes time to take the reins, vets are ready. While their training creates a cohesive team, it also requires them to step up at a moment’s notice. Vets are trained to adapt as their missions do — to leverage change to their advantage. Shifting priorities and situations are commonplace for them. If you’re looking for an agile workforce and for staff members that can change gears on a dime, veterans fit the bill perfectly.

7. Veterans can help boost diversity initiatives

Looking to hire from a broader talent pool? Veterans come from all cultures and walks of life. The training they’ve received enforces teamwork, so veterans work optimally with personalities from backgrounds closely related to and vastly different than their own.  Military training capitalizes on the strengths and capabilities of each member of the group. If you want to boost your diversity and inclusion initiatives, develop strong connections, and foster highly productive teams, veterans are a smart choice.

8. Resources help you hire veterans

If you want to go beyond the “Veterans are Encouraged to Apply” statement on your job posting, there are resources available. The federal government can help SMBs find qualified veterans in their area to hire. The Veterans Employment and Training Service website shows regional offices that can help you find talent in your area. They can also help you understand how differing military ranks and jobs equate to the job you’re looking to fill today — and the promotions you may be ready to fill in the future.

Need a specific discipline? The Department of Labor can help your company set up an apprenticeship program to train veterans for your opening. Registered apprenticeship programs may even be eligible for GI Bill Benefits.

The Veterans Employment and Training Service website shows regional offices that can help you find talent in your area. They can also help you understand how differing military ranks and jobs equate to the job you’re looking to fill today — and the promotions you may be ready to fill in the future.

9. Tax credits may be available

Businesses that hire unemployed veterans may be eligible for tax credits, as well. Several government programs provide initiatives to help veterans make the transition to civilian work.

  • The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) allows businesses to claim up to $9,600. In tax credits depending on the status of the veteran when hired. A graduated scale starts at the minimum $2,400 in credits.
  • The Returning Heroes Tax Credit allows businesses to take tax credits, depending on how long the vet was out of work before hire. For those unemployed for less than 6 months, the credit is $2,400: over 6 months, $5,600 in credits are available.
  • Wounded Warrior Tax Credit is also available to businesses that hire veterans who have experienced a service-related disability. Credits up to $9,600 are offered based on the status of the veteran.

10. Help in translating military speak

The challenge for many employers, when reading through a veteran’s resume, is translating what their rank and status in service means in the private sector. Does a staff sergeant have supervisory experience? Does a “first class” designation mean more responsibility?

The government has created a website that helps you translate military speak. Simply type in the job title of your opening and the site will list the ranks and titles of any/all military careers that equate. They can be as basic as an entry-level spot to highly specific skill levels. There are also reverse sites that explain what military titles correlate to in the private sector.

At Veteran’s Day and throughout the year, we thank members of the military for their service. Businesses can do even more. They can help veterans transition successfully to civilian life with a career path that leverages their skills, training, and talent.

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