Recently I had the pleasure of listening to a big box store executive give a talk to a group of transitioning soldiers about what type of employees their particular company hires, with specifics on who they are looking for and what types of positions they are hiring for at all levels. The executive was there to push a veteran hiring position but also stressed that the company likes to be well-rounded when looking for applicants (so they weren’t necessarily about to roll out the veteran welcome like other companies have publically done). While sitting in the back I kept thinking, if this hiring executive focused on the fact that veterans are well-rounded employees, then they’d do better for themselves in tackling their competitors when looking for exceptional employees. This thought gave me pause and inspired this current blog entry. Here are several selling points for veterans to use and understand when they are marketing themselves for a job:
Global and Cultural Perspective. Veterans these days are well-traveled. If you ask a group of veterans where they have been stationed, the answers vary from Eastern Europe, Asia, Middle East – basically all over the world! And then when you ask where they’ve deployed, the list is endless. In addition to these statements, service members work with a myriad of outside entities, contractors and our ally forces. Sometimes just walking in an Exchange reveals a multitude of unidentifiable uniforms and accents. In what other job would an employee have this broad range of experiences, cultures, and world viewpoints? Very few. Therefore, a veteran’s should know that they offer a unique perspective that is different from their civilian competition making them a much more competitive employee.
Chain of command. Veterans of all ranks understand leadership and how it applies to everyday work environments. Veterans understand how to follow a chain of command, appropriately addressing problems to the next most senior colleague. Veterans do not feel entitled and are willing to work for that next wicket of responsibility or promotion.
Supply chain expertise. Big box stores are have had to really work at perfecting their supply chain management, especially with the movement of online sales increasing. Veterans have had practice in effectively moving people, parts, equipment, homes, supplies – you name it – across oceans! If it can be moved across an ocean, certainly a veteran can offer an efficient way to get things moved stateside.
Doing more with less. With any company, the bottom line is the bottom line. Having a perspective of keeping costs low and profits high is right in a veteran’s sweet spot. Right after 9/11, service members were fighting a war with little or no supplies and were able to move mountains, take towns, and crush the enemy. Imagine now that same scenario at a local store. You could hire an employee with some retail experience and hope that they can focus on meeting weekly store goals, or you can hire an all-star, a veteran, who will look at the big picture and ensure goals are met, not just on-time, but before they need to be accounted for within a weekly report.
Leadership by example. Veterans come with a set of standards that aren’t always found in civilian employees. For example, grooming. Often times when working with a store employee, I can identify the employed veterans over the non-veterans by the way they are dressed (shirt pressed vs wrinkled), their primping (shaved vs unshaven), the way they stand and conduct themselves and by the way they speak (respect and attention vs poor customer service). Veterans are also in the habit of being not only on time but before time. They are usually at their place of employment well before the clock requires them to be there.
These five exceptional traits that veterans possess as a result of their service should be highlighted when networking or interviewing for a job, and can also be interwoven in a resume. Employers who know these wonderful attributes of service members will ultimately have a better and better-rounded employee on their staff for the long haul!
This Veteran Connection blog is by Rebecca Meyer, a valued contributor for ACI’s Employment Assistance Program and SOAR Student Assistance. A champion of veteran’s causes, she teaches classes for transitioning service members for the Department of Labor, recruits for unique educational and employment opportunities for Upper Limit Aviation and volunteers for USMC Life as a base ambassador. She also volunteers her time to help veterans with their resumes, interview skills and job search. A veteran herself, she is also a spouse of an active duty Marine and stays busy supporting her husband’s career all while raising their 3 year old daughter. Rebecca can be reached on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/rebeccasmeyer. For more information about ACI’s veteran employee/student support and other services, contact ACI at firstname.lastname@example.org.