A Look at Young Veterans Struggling to Find Jobs

January 12, 2012 |


It’s not necessarily a new story, but it’s still a troubling one — young, talented veterans having a hard time finding work in the civilian job market. A recent Huffington Post piece takes a look at the problem.

Two of the major issues discussed in the article — the inability of veterans to effectively translate their skills into a civilian resume (and the inability of employers to recognize the skills picked up in the military), and employers shying away from employing Guard and Reserve members who may be called back to service.

“I definitely think it’s getting worse out there,” said Daniel Hutchison, 29, who started a one-man transition assistance group, Ohio Combat Veterans, last May. “Part of that has to do with the economy across the board. The unemployment rate is still high, and with veterans, it’s even more complicated.”

We have a bunch of articles in our resume section about putting together a civilian resume that passes muster, and we just came out with an article yesterday about how Guard and Reserve members can market themselves in their resume for federal jobs. But what other factors are holding veterans back from getting their fair share of the jobs out there? Read the Huffington Post article and sound off in the comments section below.

About Ho Lin

Ho Lin is an editor at Military.com. His interests include naval history, the New York football Giants, and loud rock music.


  1. Seventh Cav says:

    Some things never change, as vietnam veterans can tell you we went through the same thing back in the late 60's and early 70's.
    But I believe we probably had it worse, since we did not get help from the local communities nor the World War II veterans, the so called greatest generation.
    Well they did not show any greatness when we came back.

    • Jim says:

      I was with 2/5th Cav, and I remember well that day I was ia an interview as the guy sat and looked over my papers and the 1st thing he said was "Well, how many babies did you kill?" I came across his desk in flight, took him and his chair down and was beating the crap out of him when they pulled me off him. I must say that he ended up apologizing to me and refused to have me arrested, but I didn't get the job! Things really didn't get better for me for a long time after that.

    • LordRussell says:

      Granted, I was just a kid when the Vietnam vets were coming home, but I can still remember how this college town was treating them. One PFC was unwittingly dressed in his class ‘A’s when he came in on the train. His home town was over an hour away. Taxis & buses still don’t run like the metropolitan areas do & hitchhiking wasn’t going to happen for this poor guy like it did for all the hippies of that era. My father & I just so happened to be driving along & help this fellow to his front door.

      Couldn’t tell you if it is another helping factor in winning me over to joining the Army when it came time or not, but I can guarantee you it lends credibility to the young mans plight to finding a job in this area back in the 70s.

      Now that the military demands a better individual, the civilian circuit still refuses to recognize the effort. There’s still the stigma of a ‘strong back, weak mind’ mentality attached. Possibly a bit of the ‘postal’ brouhaha that Jim spoke of. Some of it is pure jealousy I’m sure. having come from both a civilian/ military education, I’ve seen 4 years of college crammed into 11 months of military training. I would wager a sizable bet that the same 20% graduation rate in my MOS of civilians wouldn’t pass either; but now I’m just pining.

  2. anonymous says:

    I have found that in my area my time in the service has been a severe detriment to my ability to find a job. I don't regret the time I spent in the Navy, but all the stuff about taking the skills learned to the outside doesn't quite work out that way. I have found that the employers that would hire are around military bases. If you are too far from a base then it doesn't matter how much experience you have. There is no degree, and there isn't a high number of vets in the organization for them to know what level of skill to expect from vets.

    • anonymous says:

      To continue that. I have actually been told in an interview "The Navy used to put out some good techs." Then going to get the degree all those SMART credits don't count if you want an ABET accredited BSEE. All the electronics training you had won't transfer in, because the training didn't include all the information in an area. But they won't transfer in as electives either due to it being credit that will be duplicated after the needed classes are took. If you go for a non ABET BSEE then the credits count, but in my state at least you won't getting your PE without the ABET degree.

      • William says:

        That sounds like a school that didn’t know what it’s doing. My electronic training and leadership courses transferred in with no problem.

        • anonymous says:

          It wasn't just one school. It was every school that had ABET accreditation that I applied to. I was told that the ABET accreditation was the reason why.

  3. Not your mother says:

    A major problem is that these young guys are lacking initiative. I myself am a young veteran with a great job overseas. I have tried several times to get others started in the civilian world, but they expect everything to be done for them.

    Throw some of these guys a bone and they'll ask you how long to chew it, where to bury it, etc. Who got me my current job? I did. Who wrote my resume? I did. Who spent 6 months applying to every job vacancy announcement for every major overseas company? I did. I still try to help when I can, but to date not one person I served with has taken my advice.

    • CCCI says:

      So you had to leave the country to find a job? So your advice for vets is to leave the country they served…

      • I left the Army in Europe after Desert Storm and worked in the local economy for around 16 years before I returned to the US. Why? Because everyone else was getting out and going back to the US – which was not prepared for the post war downturn. As we are today, too focused on the election, then in the creation of jobs troops need when they return home.

        It's an option to work abroad, which is a natural fit for soldiers with foreign experience.

        Need to reach out for what you want and make it happen. Corporations then to rely more on college degree check boxes and are not able to see past this on many hires. Soldiers should be able to navigate this and find how to get hired.

      • Not your mother says:

        What is the next logical step if you can’t find work at home? Look elsewhere. The alternative is to sit around complaining about not being able to get a job. But look, the non-motivated complainers got a news article written about them. Way to go guys. Small achievements will add up to big ones eventually.

      • dn112097 says:

        The advice is to be open/honest about your options . look at it this way either ride the road to homelessness,depression ,etc… or get up off your duff and do what you need to do to live a full life

    • Will says:

      What overseas job website do you recommend?

      • Not your mother says:

        Google magic brother. I have no idea what kind of work you're looking for. Start with Fluor and look at their LOGCAP jobs. There are all sorts of different vacancies from trades to professional.

      • dn112097 says:


      • Michelle says:

        Depending on what type of job you are looking for, but there are quite a few Security Companies out there looking to hire vets, but yes, the jobs are overseas. Here are a few of the websites to check out: DynCorp International: http://www.dyncorprecruiting.com/ext/subpage.asp; Triple Canopy: http://www.triplecanopy.com/careers/; SOC: http://soc-smg.com/page/home. My husband has worked for all of these companies, as well as Blackwater and they all require you to have a military background, and it doesn't matter if you were a cook or a combat arms instructor…they hire. You can also do a search on the web, for jobs overseas or in a specific country and it will give you a list of jobs available. If you've ever had a security clearance or still have one, you are even better off.

    • Faye says:

      You are correct, but please remember everyone does not have a security clearance. Your clearance is more than likely what enabled you to get your overseas job. Not all vets are entitled to one. Also, regardless of what anyone says…it is in who you know!

      • Not your mother says:

        Close but not quite. The requirement was eligibility for a security clearance. Plenty of guys I work with didn't have them prior to employment.

    • Nicholas says:

      Don’t be so bitter about the same people who worked with you and beside you. I’m an Air Force vet with a bachelors in economics and I have a hard time just getting interviews because companies use excuses about too qualified to make 30K jobs, but the catch is no one hires people to start at 50-60K either. It’s a catch 21 out there against us.

    • concerned mom says:

      I am the mother of a 27 year old Iraq War Vet. He has not been able to find a decent job since returning from Iraq 18 months ago. He is a very motivated, hard working man who has admirable work ethics but just can't seem to get his foot in anywhere. I understand there are resources out there for him but nothing has helped. I just have to ask how you went about finding a job overseas? Forgive me for asking on an open forum like this but I'm desperate to help my son.

      • Not your mother says:

        If he's been to Iraq then he has the advantage of knowing which companies operate there and in other conflict zones, and what each company specializes in. These companies view previous deployments as a plus because they want people who can handle the environment.

        I personally just built a solid resume and spent every day of 6 months sending everywhere I could. Just Google and a bit of imagination. The recruitment forum on closeprotectionworld is a good place to start for security work. Don't give up. I didn't hear a peep for the longest time, then got 3 offers all in the same week.

      • Michelle says:

        NOT YOUR MOTHER is exactly right, I posted a few websites that your son can check into, with the combat experience, he should have no problem getting on with one of these companies, but be aware that he will be back overseas and unfortunately, when he does finally decide that he has had enough, he will be back in the same boat that he is in right now. My husband has been working in Iraq over 6 years now and unfortunatley, there is no end in sight. There are no jobs for him here where we live and his biggest problem is that he doesn't quite know "what he wants to be when he grows up", so Security is the easiest thing for him. Like I've told my husband a thousand times or so, work on getting your degree while you over there, so when you come back, you also have that under your belt. Good luck to your son!

    • Ruby says:

      Look, if you haven't been trying to get a job since this recessions started, your experiences were drastically different from ours. It took 2 1/2 years of applying, but I finally got a job. Persistence does pay off. Eventually. Admittedly, I took several months off from applying to finish a graduate certificate at my local state school, and it took several months for Congress to pass a budget so that my employer could lift their hiring freeze for the position I was finally offered. But that's still more than 18 months of applying, taking a temp job for six months, applying, re-drafting the resume, applying, interviewing, getting more rejections, more applying, getting more rejections more redrafting of resume, and more applying. Oh, and some applying. It is BRUTAL out there in this economy, even if you have a degree and relevant skills. If you are lacking one of those, or God forbid, both, it's going to take a while. Don't give up. Keep rewriting that resume until it is perfect. Network. Be persistent, and if you don't have a degree or certification GO GET ONE. Seriously. You are getting nowhere without a piece of paper of some kind.

  4. this is sooooooooo true! Being an OIF vet, every company asked me i I was deploying which is illegal, but good luck proving and bsed on my covnersation with a Federal investigator, the company would have to hire you. Would you want some one to work for you after they call the federal gov't on you to get hired?

    • Ken Snyder says:

      I had an employer decide to terminate me while I was away on a two-week ANG summer camp — they filled out a BS evaluation, made sure I'd never see it, and then acted on it once I returned. So-called "investigator" for VETS did little to investigate the substantial evidence I had to counter their comments on their evaluation. Long and short of it: unless you have a paper signed by someone at the employer saying they won't hire you (or they're firing you) because of your Guard or Reserve affiliation VETS is a waste of time.

    • D. Hunter says:

      Being a cold war vet myself, I'm sick and tired of the government catering to these younger vets and their spouses. When I got out I received no help whatsoever and had to compete for any jobs I ever got. Never got any special consideration as an Army wife either. To this day I still get no recognition in regards to my DD214 – to me it's just a piece of paper that doesn't mean $hit.
      To watch how all these benefits and assistance programs are being offered since 9/11, makes me sick.
      Let them go out and compete for employment like everyone else has to. Stop treating them like they're more important than any other veteran.

    • D. Hunter says:

      So what – you're an OIF veteran. Does this make you anymore important than any other veteran who served before you??????

      • PBRStreetGang says:

        I am thankful for these benefits and hope that all veterans can utilize them. Maybe you can go to Walter Reed and explain your stance to all of the limbless Marines and Soldiers there.

      • SFC says:

        Does it make you any less important? Times have changed, the economy is dramatically different. You are so bitter and angry about benefits you didn't get you are blinded to the need for them. Get over yourself. Your own description of your DD214 is an indication as to the quality of your service NOT employability/ deservedness for benefits. I will always be proud of my DD214 for what it represents, not for what it 'gets' me… Look up "Selfless Service".

  5. Charles says:

    I think one of the biggest challenges is helping a young veteran show that what he/she has done in the military has significant positive carryover into the civilian job market. I don't have any good answers for the impact of likely future deployment of a reserve or national guard would have on an employer looking at a veteran to hire. As far as working for the Federal Government, I would hope that attitudes have improved a lot since 1974, when I was discharged for medical disability. I interviewed with a federal agency, and by that time I had learned to not call attention in my resume to my military service. The interview went well until the interviewer got to my military service, and then went cold from that point on. Needless to say did not get the job. The agency was the Defense Intelligence Agency. I did later work for the Federal Government, but I doubt very much my being a veteran had much to do with it as opposed to some new job skills I had gotten. Veteran organizations need to keep watch to make sure that veterans preference is followed in other departments than VA or the Dept of Defense (and probably in those as well).

  6. walter says:

    I believe part of the not willing to hire veterans, Stems from all the bad press released to the public showing soldiers taking lives in the line of duty. Their is also mental pictures painted by the media of war mongering soldiers.

    The mental stress (PTSD) that some soldiers suffer from what they are required to do and see, sheds a dim light on the brave men and women of our armed forces.
    SGM Walter Boyer

    • Steven Nihipali says:

      you got that right SGM. I was released after a failed investigation into my uproar at a coworker. I did threaten his life, and I’ll do it again with the line of questioning. Employers say they’re military friendly, but just like every other civilian company, can be sued for discrimination.

    • My experience is that military service is not a stigma for most solid companies and I do not think the press showing combat is a detriment – it's a reality of a highly trained force. I do think their is concern for workplace violence and in how to support/understand programs as it relates to PSTD awareness.

      Most companies have solider Inclusion and Diversity policy. The company I work for continues to pay reservists that are called up and we remain close to them, we have a vibrant veterans community that advocates for veterans and supports those that are deployed. We also run internal spotlight articles on accomplishments for those who serve or have served. There are good companies out their that are actively trying to affect change, for the better.

      Take a look at https://usmilitarypipeline.com/dashboard for jobs and contact in support of the 100, 000 veteran jobs initiative.

  7. Michael says:

    If you don’t have the skills or the college degree look for a factory job,or prison work or drive truck.

    • DocAce says:

      Lol, was there a point to that statement Mike? Did someone with a GED ask to be the CEO of Verizon or something?

      BTW, what is prison work? Do you have skills, if so what kind? I think I already know what kind of skills you have though. This is not Facebook or Youtube, keep the "I'm first" and other pointless statements for those sites.

      No one here is impressed…

  8. Phyllis says:

    Number One, you have to go where the jobs are located. You cannot expect to go home, especially a small town and expect to be hired. Usually, there is a limited amount of jobs in small towns. One vet I know moved to a area to attend college for a music degree, he spent 13 years in the military, got out because he is overweight (I assume he was put into a weight control program and did not like that) he expects GI bill to pay his college expenses, that is okay with me, he also wants to collect unemployment for almost 2 years. He is trying for disability for sleep apnea (not service connected) his problem is he is FAT……Also, there is surgery for some forms of sleep apnea…. Some, NOT ALL, just want to whine and do nothing to help themselves. Viet Nam Vets have been totally done wrong by the Veterans Department and work places. Yes I am a veteran.

  9. Shane says:

    I just hired a Military vet and looking to hire more. I know he is depoloable in the next 24 months. I never asked, but he told me anyhow. I live and work in the Seattle market. I currently have 2-3 more prior service people I am wanting to add to my business. I also have someone in Eastern Washing who is an OIF/OEF vet and am wanting to get him back to work as well. Depending on the business sector there are jobs. They may not pay $50,000 a year but some do hire and do not care about deployment status. At least 1 person will hire and not worry about deployment status. Good Luck

    • Jake LaCava says:

      I am a veteran of the Air Force and have been looking for a job for 2 years now. My unemployment ran out while looking. I had some part time seasonal jobs but nothing full time. I spent 4 years over seas in the postal department. Will you hire me?

      • Will says:

        Im a USAF vet too, still in the reserve, Im planning on school, but just need to figure out for what. Something that will make me happy and I have genuine interest in. Unemployment was a blessing. Good luck Jake!

      • There is a joint initiative known as the 100,000 jobs initiative, which is setting out to hire 100,000 veterans by 2020. Google it and see where you can engage and provide your information, get assistance on resume and skills assessment, like through the https://usmilitarypipeline.com/ which is the jobs platform for the initiative. Good Luck!

    • Scott says:

      What kind of company do you have and where can I submit my resume? I recently separated from the Air Force and am in the Seattle area looking for work. I'd love to be a part of a company that sees the values and skills returning veterans have to offer, and based on your comment, it sounds like you have had very positive experiences with veteran employees.

      Please let me know if you are still looking to hire more veterans and how I can go about applying. Thank you for your support of our nation's veterans.

  10. John Paloma says:

    Social Commerce has been a very effective tool for veterans coming back from Southwest Asia.

  11. Dennis says:

    Sounds real familiar……when I got back from Vietnam after serving 2 tours it was 1971 and the economy was as bad in Ohio as it is now. I had to eventually lie to would be employers in Ohio…Akron, Barberton and Kent/Ravenna and not tell them I was in Vietnam and a vet because after being turned down for several pathetic jobs because I was a vet I decided to lie and say I was "bumming" around the country the last 3 years. I then got a pathetic job. Good luck my brothers because you will need it. I wish you well and from the bottom of my heart I am with you in spirit!

    • Johnny says:

      I had to do the exact same thing when I came back from Nam in 71. I learned that really quick. I would not tell anyone I was there and still don't. Very few people know I was in Nam.

      • Kim Ringeisen says:

        Do you feel that this applies to our soldiers today? I do not think there is a need to shy away from declaring your veteran status. Maybe I have been working for great companies, but I never felt my veteran status a limitation, but rather a value add. Sorry to hear of your experiences Johnny and Dennis, my father also served in Vietnam, I served in Desert Storm.

  12. Rod says:

    As a Vietnam era vet, I came out with only my high school education. My GI Bill got me through my associates, and with scholarship made it through engineering school. I worked very hard, sought as much advice as I could get, and pushed into areas of employment where I might be needed. It was tough, scary at times, and depressing too at times..but you must persevere. So after a few decades, where do i recommend? Try the power industry. There is growth. There are jobs.. most importantly, there is a need. You can be a lineman. You can be a drafting tech, or designer. You can be an engineer. They all pay well. Your vet status is not only appreciated, but sought after. Yes, its a long road. But, the ones that make it will have a life time career as I did.

  13. As a Vet I can tell you the job market is tough for everyone. While many are complaining about people not hiring vets there are civilians who complain about the preferences we so call receive. As the old saying goes the grass is always greener on the other side. In some cases a vet may not be hired due to the fact their experience is higher than the one doing the hiring. Who wants to hire someone with more qualifications than they have? The old phrase overqualified hit your explanations? Never the less there are jobs out there; you have to make sure you do not shoot too high or too low.

    • Ruby says:

      That's very true. Don't aim too high or too low. Network and ask other Veterans with a similar education and/or background as you and ask what kinds of positions they started with in the civilian world. If you have six years or more of military experience, and a degree or skilled trade, you should not be aiming for entry level jobs (though of course you should take one to pay the bills while you apply for better jobs.) If you do not yet have that degree or certification, then get to work with that GI Bill. :) Aim higher!

  14. Contiued: Let's face it if you weren't a General when you exited service you’re not going to slide in as a CEO of a company and if you were an NCO your management experience will prevent you from getting a ditch digger job. The key is Resume do not push out one generic resume for everything. Taylor each resume to the job you are applying for with the experience and education that you have that pertains to that job posting. Presenting a well written precise resume where 90% of the information that fits the posting is better than a large resume where 75% does not pertain nor fit the posting. Employers and HRs have limited time to read several applications and resumes precision greatly increases your effectiveness in this market.

    • Slk Rick says:

      And know how to spell "tailor"..

    • Ruby says:

      Also excellent advice. Tailor the resume to the position. Even if you have to write five separate resumes. It does make a difference in getting that "call back."

  15. Continued: Let's face it if you weren't a General when you exited service you’re not going to slide in as a CEO of a company and if you were an NCO your management experience will prevent you from getting a ditch digger job. The key is Resume do not push out one generic resume for everything. Taylor each resume to the job you are applying for with the experience and education that you have that pertains to that job posting. Presenting a well written precise resume where 90% of the information that fits the posting is better than a large resume where 75% does not pertain nor fit the posting. Employers and HRs have limited time to read several applications and resumes precision greatly increases your effectiveness in this market.

  16. Retired Army says:

    It seems that everyone believes that the lack of education by veterans is the reason they are not getting hired. I am pretty sure that is not the case. I am a 20+ year veteran that just recently retire. I worked in a field that DIRECTLY relates to the civilian sector. I have a Bachelor's degree as well. When I decided to call it quits, I thought I would have NO PROBLEM finding employment.. Boy was I wrong! Most civilian companies could care less about our military service. The federal gov't is even worse! The hiring process has so many loopholes that unless you know someone on the inside, you have NO chance.

    • Retired Coastie says:

      I certainly understand exactly where you are at. I retired from the Coast Guard after 26 years of active duty in Personnel Administration. My wife defined retirement as twice as much husband on half as much money and I decided to go back to work for the Federal Government. For more than a year, I looked for a simple GS-5/6/7 position. I have a Bachelor's Degree myself. it seemed that I was over-qualified for anything less than a GS-7 and anything more than a GS-7 was restricted to internal hiring. I was even turned down for a GS-5 positionI with the Coast Guard doing the same job that I supervised because my "experience might intimidate my supervisor." I finally landed a position with the VA as a GS-9. The good news is that within 5 years, my military experience and skill set propelled me to GS-14. There is life after military if you keep trying even though it may take a stroke of luck. Keep your head up and keep applying. You may need to raise your sights.

    • Michelle says:

      I work for DFAS and I know quite a few retired military who have come in and taken jobs as GS-4 customer service reps, just to get their foot in the door. Sometimes, you just have to suck it up, take a job at a low grade and then show them just how valuable you are to the organization and you will move up! Don't be afraid to go out their and "WOW" them, believe me the higher ups will look at you and go "why are they just a customer service rep, they should be the supervisor" and eventually, you will be!

    • Ruby says:

      If you have a lot of experience and a degree, you should not be focusing on lower grade government positions. You should be looking at GS 11 and 12, even 13 if you have the right skillset. Keep in mind there's more competition for GS 5 and 7! A lot more competition. Be sure your resume is up to standard. A 1 page private sector resume will not cut it for the Federal government. GO get the book "Federal Resume Guidebook" by Kathryn Troutman. Read it. Apply it. Tailor your resume for each specific job. And be PERSISTENT. It took 35 applications before I got hired on. The Veteran's preference actually probably cut in half the number of times I had to apply. These Federal jobs are competitive in a good economy. In a bad economy, suddenly everyone and their mother's uncle likes the job security and pension plan – something the private sector dropped a generation ago.

  17. Richard Walker says:

    Returning VETS from all our wars haven't had it easy to return to civilian work. Even after forty years from Viet Nam there continues to be a bias. I don't trust in the government for anything.

  18. Kim Ringeisen says:

    Another avenue is to start your own business and provide services that are desirable/needed in your area. It will be hard, but you can draw on the SBA and other organizations to help you get started.

    • DocAce says:

      Tried that too, the loans have the same requirements as the conventional loans. They want a good chunk of money down, business plan, and so on..

      Here you go Patriot Express; a new loan program for the veteran community ROFL!!! the banks (and there are few) that advertise that loan don't know how to use it nor are they interested. I tried for 8 months with great credit to get a loan for a profitable business, and not one of the banks services this product. Don't believe me call them and ask about it and wait for the long pause, LOL!! BOA, Wells Fargo, and so on…

      First question the loan officer asks after they get over the "do you do these types of SBA loans" is ask you how much do you have to put down. The point of that program is to mitigate that issue. Nope, show me the money – 20% baby! If I had the 20% I would not need the loan, many small business owners do some OWC financing with that kind of down payment.


  19. Wayne says:

    The state employment service needs the full authority to control the traffic of employment seekers.
    IE: If an employer needs workers, he should be require to register with the state employment service for help same as worker seeking work. The agency would then match-up qualified worker with employers. To the employer, they must take what the agency hands out, else give valid reason for rejection.


    • beenthere says:

      The way I understand it, Germany does just this. Also if the worker refuses to take the job offered, then they are out of luck as far as unemployment insurance.

  20. USAF Veteran says:

    As a job seeker/young veteran, It's very encouraging to read everyone's good advice: using the GI bill, writing a good resume, finding ways to translate military skills into civilian terms, applying for the Reserves/fed government jobs. I can relate to many who are struggling with their civilian career transition even if we've done all the homework: networking, job fair, military hiring conferences, online job board. The fact of the matter is in the corporate world, they will either hire someone with a highly technical degree or someone willing to accept a minimum wage job with only HS education. Of the many times I've interviewed, they never care to ask or seem interested in wanting to know about my military background. The core values we learned and perfected in the military=priceless.

    • Michelle says:

      That is sad…the core values that MOST of us learned, perfected, and continue to practice are very valuable to any company, unfortunately, there are those few that don't remember those core values and make a bad name for the rest of us Veterans. I was lucky enough at one point to get a job with a very good company and the hiring VP was a retired AF Colonel, which definitely worked to my benefit, because he asked me one simple question…had I ever worked in a Command Center…my answer was YES and that was the end of the interview, the job was mine. I think if the employer has really no experience with the military, they might not even understand the core values.

  21. Patrick says:

    Most employers aren't looking to hire junior enlisted or junior officers. They mainly want to hire senior enlisted or senior officers.

  22. tony says:

    If you think Its bad for the young, try being an older vet with a disability, while in Iraq serving as a combat Medic I had fallen with full facial contact to the ground. This started a chain reaction, now I have spinal stenosis with narrowing of the space where the nerve comes out of the spine. Now I am loosing strength in my hands, my only relief is to take pain medication that the VA provides. As soon as employers learn that I am on pain medication, I become a liability. Its hard enough to find a job as soon as you put VETERAN on your resume, now you have to overcome the obstacle of a urinalysis. As soon as opiates are discovered then you are looked at as a dope head. So where does one go from here? Yes, I went back to school and receive my degree but it is impossible to find a job with a disability and being on pain medication. Where does one go from here?

  23. I thought that military people would have a better chance of getting a job than those who have not joined at all.

    • DocAce says:


      We spend our leisure time trying to DE-MILITARIZE our resumes. This is not an easy task when one has been in for several years.

      As most know the ignorance of civilian employers (HR Specialists and hiring managers to be exact). Most don't know how to translate our experience into civilian experience. However, what I have found in the last year of being unemployed is most have no desire whatsoever to find out how we as service members can use government experience in their businesses.

      Oh and If you are a reservist, I would not put that on the resume at all, the thought of you getting deployed SCARES the shiza out of them them and they will always find a reason to NOT hire you. It is sickening.

      The fact is veterans and service members have unemployment stats that jump way past the civilian sector.

      To all the HR Hiring Managers reading this THANKS for wearing the yellow ribbon that now seems to be in vogue, please do me a favor and keep it and give a veteran a damn job. Do you homework and find out how we can help your business with our experience…

  24. Clif says:

    Some of you may want to check out helmets to hard hats I was fortunate enough to get in this program a Little over 4 yrs ago it is the through your local unions (construction) all though starting out the pay is not that great but after a year or so it’s great

    • Ruby says:

      That is a very good opportunity. Get credentialed in a skilled trade that can't be outsourced. Maybe the job pipe fitter or electrician doesn't sound glamorous, but your job won't be given away to Chinese and Indian 14 year olds working for next to nothing half a world away. And the pay isn't bad at all – it often stacks up to the pay of liberal arts majors, for example.

  25. David Dean says:

    Veterans have an excellent chance of acquiring employment as a federal employee. If they play their cards right the federal officials will almost have to hire them. See David Dean v. Department of Agriculture (2005 and 2006) and David Dean v. Office of Personnel Management (2010). It will take some effort. If the veteran does not apply and file and Merit Systems Protection Board appeal (MSPB) they are shortchanging themselves. I won those two cases pro se, if veterans will do a bit of research they can get hired as a federal employee. They have earned the job. If they do not apply they will not be considered.

  26. RoARMYVET says:

    I suggest the mentioning the "employer incentives" for hiring a veteran! This is a way to entice the employer! OBAMA has set up a program that gives an employer a $1-6k kickback for hiring a Veteran. This information was passed to me from a CA Employment Development Dept Veterans Rep…see if there is a rep in your local unemployment office for Veterans…..CA has them in every office, so it should be in many states….I am not sure on that….but if there is….go to the office and ask about this incentive! It may hep the employer hire you over other applicants. GOOD LUCK TO ALL VETS!! I am a DESERT STORM Combat Vet and got hired by a Security company based on this incentive. Security is a good place to start and is in high demand right now – of course most Military Personnel are viewed as QUALIFIED for these jobs because of the training we all received in basic guard duty.

    • DocAce says:

      You know the sad part is this is the ONLY work they see us as qualified as… Good luck brother.

      MILITARY EXPERIENCE = Security Guard job. FYI employers we can and DO offer more.

      College and university work is no guarantee either, I have two degrees and still have trouble getting referred to a selecting official for a GS-5 position.

      Again, it is sickening.

  27. RoARMYVET says:

    Go to this site for details on Incentive…hope this helps!

  28. RoARMYVET says:

    Oh….one more thing….take whatever job you can and get your ass to school and use that GI bill if you have it….I got my bachelors with GRANTS and GI Bill. Most Universities offer ONLINE programs for your convenience and Grants for Vets!! Try university of Phoenix – they have a Vet REP! and they just need your DD214 to process the grant!

    Get your degree guys and gals

  29. Tom says:

    I am glade that “New Veterans” are being recognized as needing help. An equal amount of thought needs to be given to older vets. I and a lot of pre 9-11 vets have struggled with jobs for years. Lay-offs, down sizing, there are not seniority rights for anyone including veterans. Companies will thank you on Veterans day, and lay you off the next!

  30. JWCYCLONE says:


  31. While I'm no longer "young" at 53, I had my own issues with finding a job as I turned 50. Now I work for the federal government. I also wrote a book: The Coffee Break Guide for Veterans Seeking Federal Employment that can be found on Amazon as an eBook. In there, I captured my lessons learned as a way to help other veterans.

  32. Slk Rick says:

    Most retired generals, admirals, or colonels get private/public sector jobs based on political and/or industrial and governmental contacts and they are hired for their management/leadership acumen. Bias does occur in the fed ranks against veterans. Start the planning process at least a year from discharge, and four years in the military should be time enough to secure a Bachelors degree, deployments notwithstanding. Secondly, "enlighten" your prospective employer regarding your transferable skills. Place key emphasis on tech school training and less on professional military education. Avoid the use of military jargon and acronymns in resumes and create a strong cover letter. Take advantage of those periodic career day symposiums offered by an amalgam of employers. Consider cross-training before discharge to assist you in getting a position that is more marketable. Do not go into an interview with an elitist attitude that the employer owes you something for your service – they do not. Again, stress those transferable skills, enhance written and verbal skills if necessary, and project confidence in lieu of cockiness that you are the best person for the job!

  33. Jeff says:

    As a retired Veteran Employment Rep wit the state of Michigan; I believe these veterans must make the effort to come into their local employment office(s) and work one-on-one with their veteran employment rep(s). There are numerous employment incentatives, etc that they neeed to know about when "selling" themselves to their future employers. Also getting into college ASAP while collecting unemployment compensation; along with their GI Bill benefits will keep them financially afloat while at the same time increasing their chance of employment by getting those extras skills and knowledge. Also while going to school they could be using the VA Work Study program while working part time and their school or even for the Veteran Employment Rep and making an extra $900/month tax free on to of the other monies I have already mentioned. It ALL starts them making the first step; if they want to.
    Jeff :)

  34. loncar says:

    The Department of Veterans Affairs unveiled a website stocked with job-seeking tools in hopes of recruiting more veterans to work for it.

    Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki set a goal to increase the percentage of veterans who work for the VA from 30 to 40 percent.

    John Sepulveda, Assistant Secretary for Human Resources and Administration, told Shinseki he needed to put together a network of tools to help more veterans transition from the military to federal employment.

    Veterans can find that network at the "VA for Vets" website at http://www.vaforvets.va.gov, which went live on Veteran's Day

  35. michael lavelle says:

    It makes me feel good to know that people are finally realizing this. ive been out for 5 months im 20 have a decent resume and am still unemployed. have hardly had 4 interviews

    • Ruby says:

      Keep at it. You should be enrolled in school full time and/or doing relevant volunteer work somewhere. I volunteered at The Nature Conservancy for a few months. It's not something I'll keep on my resume forever, but I definitely put that on there until I got my current job. That and the school information let employers know I wasn't sitting around. I was bettering myself and making myself useful. Also look into Helmets to Hardhats like an earlier poster said.

  36. Cheercoach247 says:

    Young Vets? Old Vets are having problems too….

  37. jennifer says:

    I work with a non-profit orginization called The Veterans Outreach Program of Illinois. We find about 500 Veterans jobs annually. We assist them with them all aspects of job search from resume building to interview techniques. Our goal is to counsel veterans returning to mainstream society from overseas duty. As well as veterans from any era.

  38. James McCraven says:

    I'm am retired from the navy and a DVOP ( veteran rep in you local unemploymentg office) also retired as of Dec 31, 2011. The first thing to do is go to your local unemployment office, get enrolled and talked with one of the Veterqan reps. The tool you need to translate your military skills to civilain skills is located on America Career info net. Your local Veteran reps should be alble to show you how to use this site. They are also there to help you look for work.

  39. Beenthere says:

    I feel for the people coming out of this current war. I had my time with the
    Vietnam time era. I did find jobs leaving my USAF job with out a huge amount of effort. We keep over looking the elephant in the room, the lack of job are the traitorous corporations that have been steadily sending our regular well paying jobs overseas and gutting the domestic jobs with low paid undocumented workers. Even the meat packing jobs were well paying, respectable work. Yes I consider these companies traitors, they have come close to bringing the USA to it's knees as far as giving the average guy a job. It is the same as being defeated in a war to put the defeated in service of the victors. We need good jobs to have every one in a well paid respectable job to have a healthy economy. Not just a select group of lucky service workers and managers.

  40. bser says:

    When I left the Navy I had taken full advantage of the National Apprenticeship Program between the Navy and Department of Labor. It was free and it provided certification from the DoL. I didn't finish my degree. Actually, still working that part. But, I had realistic expectations of getting out and working my way into where I wanted to be. I knew it wouldn't be overnight. Now? I work in HR making a very good salary. Make a plan, be flexible, and bust your ass to get where you want to be. Some employers will help you out, some won't. But, you are you best asset. Market yourself and make yourself stand out from the crowd. No one will do it for you. I have been out since 2005 and now enjoy a pretty nice $70k salary working in HR and doing everything I can to make myself more marketable for the NEXT job if it comes my way. I should finish my degree next year courtesy of my GI Bill. I wish you all the best of luck and don't be afraid to take a position as a starter or stepping stone.

  41. alsdkj says:

    why comet delete?

  42. shotguncherri says:

    You are all wrong! The true problem is not people unwilling to hire veterans, it is in part, a large problem of the current government employment services. I come from a long line of military servers and have children serving as well. I have run two businesses in my lifetime before retiring and have always tried to hire veterans and or the disabled above others. I was absolutely shocked in trying to even FIND an unemploymentoffice this past week! On top of that, when I did, they just could not wrap their mindsaround the concept of employeers looking for employees! I Googled for the local unemployment office in my area of San Antonio TX and came up blank. Everything listed is simply gravitated towards helping people to receive unemployment! I know MANY employeers willing and desiring to employ veterans, but their are no longer resources to assist them in easily doing so! It is difficult to hire anyone under the current government structure of employment assistence. Most of the pople looking to hire people from the service, are like myself, older. We are proud of our service members and truly respect what you give to this country although it appears that the population in general may not. The structure of the government, and even private sector resources need to change to make it easily accessible to employers and employees wanting to work together. Even Googling for veteran's groups that assist in helping contect us are not only confusing, but the effort neededto get anywhere on this subject through government or private resources, is notonly frustrating but quite simply, exhausting. When you work towards improving these resources, I think you will find that your e3fforts are a lot less frustrating as well. Good luck to you all. God Bless

    • shotguncherri says:

      Please excuse my spelling/typing as my keyboard is sticking and I am in a hurry as I have an appointment to keep with a young veteran looking for employment. Wish us luck ;)

  43. Not your mother says:

    Just a sea story, but it might give someone a chuckle. After 3 months of applying, I received an offer from ITT Systems. They requested the usual documents including the DD 214. It was at this point I noticed that the nice folks at TPU Norfolk had left the character of service block BLANK. I called the civilian woman who prepared the DD 214 and requested a 215, blah blah. She had the nerve to ask me why I didn't notice the error at the time! I explained to her that it was my first time separating and that I didn't have a clue what a 214 was supposed to look like. I wanted to unleash the beast on her, but at the same time had to stay calm because my job search was effectively paralyzed without the 215, not to mention benefits..

  44. Bill says:

    You both nailed it… I've been out of the service 20 years now, I've gotten every job I've ever applied for. The companies I work for, always praise my dedication, and in fact hire other vets due to my example. To the young guys, no one gave those strips, no one did the PT test for you, no made that first jump, you did. You learned skills in the military that translate across all career fields, you learned discipline, you learned leadership skills even if you weren't an NCO. In fact my career path doesn't translate to my military skills at all… But I have moved up, and now make 6 figures… Strap those boots on, suck in that gut, and drive that extra mile, that just a few years ago you didn;t think you could do. A civilian would wet their pants going through what you have… Show them who you are and what you can do… email for help memphisdaz@gmail.com, I'll help you find your path, or give it a hell of a try… Bill

  45. LadyVet says:

    Thank you for saying this. The sense of entitlment floors me.

    I will go further and say have some foresight and initiative. I too got out after Desert Storm but I went in with the goal of completing the first two years of college, at least, prior to my departure. I left the service with an A.A , went on to get an AS & a BS and just finished graduate school.

    Instead of complaining, while some complaints may be valid, understand the requirements of roles you wish to obtain. If a degree is required or a certain number of years experience, absent the degree is required, obtain them or apply elsewhere.

    Yes, you served and thanks is owed, but you have a responsibility to come to the game ready to play, with the right equipment.

  46. DocAce says:

    Me too!

    Again my friend, many of the civilian employers don't see the value in hiring a vet or SM in the reserves. They hide from us.

    I have two degrees NOW and just got accepted into a Masters program at Liberty University. Using post 9/11 now, been through Voc Rehab as well and have non-competitive hiring status – and still nothing, lol. Like LadyVet said initiative is key, agreed!!! So I moved across the county to Washington D.C. to find a GOOD job. Hopefully tomorrow is my day!

    Good luck to both of you.

  47. whatever says:

    Good for you, Brian. The economy was booming the whole time.