Veterans Face Unique Unemployment Challenges

The national unemployment rate currently holds at 9 percent but for Gulf War-era II veterans in particular, those that served since 2001, it’s as high as 15 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Veterans face unique challenges in their job search. Fewer Gulf War-era II veterans have college degrees because they were on active during the age of 18 to 24, and as high as 21 percent reported having a disability. As veterans leave active service, many have to figure out how to translate their military skills into civilian duties. Although somewhat daunting, there is good news. Many employers are looking for the unique skills that veteran’s offer, such as those listed in our Veterans Exchange. And there are strategies veterans can employ as they embark on the job hunt. Researching what type of job would be a good fit is a necessary first step.

The Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook is a good resource. It outlines earnings, training and descriptions for different types of jobs. You will begin to see the qualifications and credentials required to obtain jobs that interest you and how best to market your qualifications. One you’ve identified the job you want, you need to translate your military skills into civilian terminology. Online tools like the U.S. Department of Labor’s Military to Civilian Occupation Translator can help with this process. Now that you’ve determined the industry and job, you need to create a strong resume. Online Resume Buildersare a useful tool and can help you easily craft a professional resume. In some instances your job search may uncover the need for additional training or education.

There are many resources available and now most institutions offer quick and affordable courses and certificate programs online, some of which can be covered by your veteran’s benefits. Networking is still one of the most effective strategies in the job search process. Countless job opportunities are based solely on referrals from friends and family. If you do not have a networking group, build one now. Friends, family, civic organizations, church groups – anyone that you can connect with and outline your job search goals may be able to connect you with a job opportunity. Lastly, visit your local government employment office or career center.

Each state has local one stop career centers that can provide assistance with your job search as well as training and education programs. Visit yours today.

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