For veterans, reentry into civilian life is a struggle. They are asked to relate to those who do not understand their experiences; create structure in their lives, filling a gap left by the military; and perhaps worst of all, many soldiers grapple with debilitating mental illnesses, unable to receive the support they so desperately need.

One of the most well known difficulties that veterans face is finding gainful employment. Some reasons for this include:

  • Despite the discipline, experience, and work ethic they gain through their service, veterans often have little to no experience finding a civilian job when they first leave the military.
  • Many veterans may have never interviewed for a civilian job or even written a resume.
  • The military does nothing to prepare vets for the job hunt that will inevitably occur when they come home.

As a result, many veterans have trouble finding and keeping jobs, and civilian employers struggle to understand them.

If you’re a veteran or know one who is seeking employment, the following tips will help guide you through the process of acquiring a job that provides a sense of pride and satisfaction.

1. Translate your skills into terms employers understand.

This is a primary reason why employers don’t hire vets — they don’t understand military terms, and vets don’t know how to translate their experience into the skills that employers are seeking. Even if you’re a vet with highly sought-after abilities, you may miss out on a fantastic opportunity because you didn’t know how to properly explain your expertise.


Without proper translation, your skills won’t be understood by employers.

The solution? Ask someone in your desired industry to look over your resume and help you interpret your skillset. A less precise but useful method is to use a job skills translator. A couple options include:

2. Dispel negative stereotypes.

Due to the discipline and rigidity of military life, employers assume that vets lack the creativity and flexibility required for many jobs. And remember those debilitating mental illnesses I mentioned earlier? Well, most people know that this is a problem faced by veterans, and many employers assume that if you’re a veteran, you’ve contended with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or the like.

The solution? Exercise your creative muscles and practice interviewing so that you don’t fit the stereotypes that employers expect. Think about how you can demonstrate your discipline in a positive light while showing you aren’t too rigid to adapt and grow. If you do face serious challenges like PTSD, seek help at your local VA center or a private organization. If you live in Greenville, we have an excellent selection of resources that you can use to find the help you need.


Prove that your creativity is just as great as your work ethic.

3. Acquire a degree or certification.

The military molds individuals into great leaders with incredible work ethics, but these general abilities aren’t always attractive to employers. Most of the time a job requires very specific skills, as well as a degree or some type of certification. Since many veterans enter the military at a young age, they lack essential qualifications and are overlooked. And since they often hold positions of authority while enlisted, veterans may be disappointed when offered nothing but lower level entry positions.

The Solution? First, identify the potential careers that complement your current skillset. Then, do some research on what qualifications are required for jobs that fit within that industry. Finally, pursue higher education! Whether a technical certification or degree, find classes that teach the skills you require. You’ll set yourself up for success and often meet people who can help you find a job along the way.

Can’t finance your education? Well, you’re in the right place — Veteran Scholarships Forever partners with colleges to provide scholarships for US veterans. Learn more about our participating colleges and the availability of scholarships.