According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics post dated March 20, 2012, the unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces at any time since September 2001 was 12.1 percent in 2011. The jobless rate for all veterans was 8.3 percent. And many military spouses are facing a rough time finding employment.
Why are these people having such a hard time landing a job? Experts say some hidden causes include: Work skills that don't translate well into the job market, poor interviewing skills, and a subservient mind-set that works well in the military (do what you are told by the commanding officer without question), but isn't always appropriate in the civilian workplace.
Jim Camp, founder and chief of the Camp Negotiation Institute and a vet, wrote about this problem in an article titled "The Best Way to Help Veterans Find Jobs," published on forbes.com on Nov. 9. Camp advocates short workshops to prepare veterans for civilian job interviews, stressing shifting from a military mode to one that demonstrates creative thinking and highlights how skills acquired during a military career translate into the civilian world.
But help is out there. Several agencies and groups are dedicated to helping veterans, their spouses and wounded warriors get back to work. Here are a few examples:
Veterans Employment and Training Services is an independent agency within the Department of Labor. It offers employment and training services, outreach for disabled vets, local counseling and social services.
Military.com offers a guide for spouses looking for jobs (military.com/spouse/career-advancement). Many communities have recognized the problem and are holding job fairs aimed especially at vets. And there is special help for female veterans and spouses. For instance, Business and Professional Women offers free mentoring and job search assistance for female veterans and military spouses. Information is available by writing BPW Foundation, P.O. Box 759189, Baltimore, MD 21275-9184, or by visiting bpwfoundation.org. You can also learn more information by contacting a local BPW organization such as the St. Petersburg/Pinellas chapter at bpwstpetepinellas.org for more information.
Marie Stempinski is founder and president of Strategic Communication in St. Petersburg. She specializes in public relations, marketing, business consulting and employee motivation. She can be reached by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org or through her website at www.howtomotivateemployees.org.