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Congratulations on Your Military Service… Now Here Are 9 Reasons Why I Won’t Hire You

daftandbarmy

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From a US source. Brutally honest, and on target!


So, you’ve decided to hang up the uniform after years of distinguished service to our great nation. You’ve attended a few transition classes and have your interview suit and shiny new resume as you make the leap into the civilian world.

You feel confident, because you’ve seen your colleagues leave the uniform on Friday and come to work the following Monday in a suit and tie making twice as much salary. You storm the job boards and job fairs. Never mind that although you’ve drafted a plan of action and milestones (POA&M) for every significant evolution of your military career, some of you have invested the least amount of time and effort into your own transition POA&M.

Those of us in the hiring and recruiting business know firsthand that not all veterans are created equal, and, sometimes, it’s a great business decision to hire a military professional into our companies. Often, though, many don’t. Why? Because you’re just not the right fit. A more impressive candidate captured our attention, or maybe, through no fault of your own, we found someone internally or received a referral from one of our own employees.

The irony is that many veterans and servicemembers have the skills and experience to make the cut, or even get the second interview, but blow it. As a military candidate recruiter, I see consistent themes in why military professionals don’t get the job. Many may blame the new Transition GPS, their branch of service’s career center or even the employers themselves, but here are the top real reasons why you’ll never get hired:

1. You Can’t (or Won’t) Accept That You’re Starting Over

Let’s suppose that immediately after graduating from college or high school, I went to work for one of the well-known defense contractors. During the course of my 20+ year career at that company, I was very successful and promoted to the position of Program Manager, frequently working with the military. However, I’m now at that point in my career where there isn’t any opportunity for further advancement, or I’m simply weary of the industry.

I’m now in my late 30s or early 40s and decide it’s time to leave the company to pursue a different career. I’ve worked with the military my entire adult life, so I decide I want to join its ranks. Because of my previous experience with managing multimillion dollar budgets and hundreds of personnel, I feel I’m the equivalent of a Commanding Officer or Senior Enlisted Leader. When I talk to a recruiter about my level of entry, what would they tell me?

The cold dose of reality is that despite all of my experience, I’d have no idea what the organizational culture is like in the military. I’d be set up for failure if someone allowed me to don the collar devices and step into a command position. On day one, something as basic as sending an email to a flag officer could go very sour very quickly. This is because even though I may have transferable skill sets, I lack the knowledge of industry norms and protocol experience to succeed.

A senior military professional transitioning into the private sector faces the same dynamic. The transition is a bit easier within the Department of Defense and Federal arenas, but you’re starting anew. It’s imperative that you understand this. As a result, you should seek ways to learn the organizational structures of potential employers many months before you’ll be entering the job market.

Just as I would have been far better informed had I spoken to a military recruiter before I left my civilian job, so should you be similarly informed before entering your last year of service. Use recruiters, headhunters, employment counselors, hiring managers, etc. to gain intelligence and information so you can be pragmatic in your expectations and planning. Also, getting a mentor who has successfully navigated into the private or government sector and is also a veteran will provide invaluable insight from a perspective you’ll be able to relate to.

 

stoker dave

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That is indeed a good article.

I like the point about 'starting over'. That is 100% true. I have hired former soldiers to work entry-level jobs at construction sites. They were selected over other entry-level candidates because I had good confidence they would reliably show up, on time, wearing the right gear and bringing the right kit. They invariable fit in well and advanced quickly. They started as entry level but weren't 'entry level' for long.

One thing I thought missing from the article is qualifications. Any more working (any where, at any level) requires specific qualifications, certificates, tickets, etc. These could include health and safety, equipment operation, first aid, professional or trade qualification, etc. The importance of those qualifications should not be understated in applying for work. Someone with the right qualifications will get a closer look than someone that doesn't.
 

daftandbarmy

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That is indeed a good article.

I like the point about 'starting over'. That is 100% true. I have hired former soldiers to work entry-level jobs at construction sites. They were selected over other entry-level candidates because I had good confidence they would reliably show up, on time, wearing the right gear and bringing the right kit. They invariable fit in well and advanced quickly. They started as entry level but weren't 'entry level' for long.

One thing I thought missing from the article is qualifications. Any more working (any where, at any level) requires specific qualifications, certificates, tickets, etc. These could include health and safety, equipment operation, first aid, professional or trade qualification, etc. The importance of those qualifications should not be understated in applying for work. Someone with the right qualifications will get a closer look than someone that doesn't.

Yes, the point about qualifications is well made. 031 Death Tech quals don't tend to translate well to civvy street.

I've talked to a few people leaving the CAF, who asked for advice, and told them to stay in until they are able to take advantage of as much training as they can get through the system, even if you aren't exactly sure what you want to do in civvy street. On the outside, its not so easy to come across courses or education that the boss is willing, or able, to pay for.

Many civilians also pursue their education and training goals outside the scope of their daily work and employment and pay for it out of their own pockets, going into debt with student loans etc in some cases. They take charge of their own destiny.

In my experience, precious few CAF members are willing to do that and expect the military to look after them a little bit too much ;)
 

TCM621

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I will be honest, this scares the shit out of me a little. I can see my retirement on the horizon and I have zero direct skills to market. I have spent the majority of my career working with things that go BANG or BOOM and neither translate well to civvy side. To top it off, I joined young prior to joining the mob, I only ever had part time jobs working in kitchens or retail. I also got those job by walking around town with a stack of resumes as we did back in the dark ages of the 20th century. I am worried that I won't be able to market myself to employers in an effective way because I don't know how to a) translate my worth in a way employers will understand and b) get that information in a way that gives me a chance to compete for a job.
 

daftandbarmy

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I will be honest, this scares the shit out of me a little. I can see my retirement on the horizon and I have zero direct skills to market. I have spent the majority of my career working with things that go BANG or BOOM and neither translate well to civvy side. To top it off, I joined young prior to joining the mob, I only ever had part time jobs working in kitchens or retail. I also got those job by walking around town with a stack of resumes as we did back in the dark ages of the 20th century. I am worried that I won't be able to market myself to employers in an effective way because I don't know how to a) translate my worth in a way employers will understand and b) get that information in a way that gives me a chance to compete for a job.

You'd be surprised... seriously. Send me a PM if you want to connect about it.
 

stoker dave

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I have spent the majority of my career working with things that go BANG or BOOM and neither translate well to civvy side.
I think you are selling yourself a bit short!

I believe there are any number of 'second career assistance' programs. Get signed up!

I would add that you likely have a good sense of working with others (does that lead to HR or recruiting jobs?), you know about parts, inventory and accounting (warehouse or inventory management jobs?), moving around heavy equipment (heavy equipment rental or construction support jobs?) organizing people and equipment (project coordinator jobs?), deploying and setting up remote locations (supporting oil and gas or mineral exploration?). That might give you some ideas on where to start. I wish you good success!
 

OldTanker

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I retired from the Army in 2002, after 28 years of regular service. I began actively planning my transition to civilian work five years before I retired. I selected the job I was looking for (emergency manager), was able to get myself into a similar Army position (domestic operations) and actively sought out every civilian course and training opportunity that came my way. Of course this was easy as the civilian courses supported my military work, were freely provided and not overly time consuming. So, when I interviewed for a position with a municipality as their emergency manager, not only did I have my "generic" military qualifications (which were respected but not a guarantee of anything) but piles of relevant civilian experience and training which put me ahead of several other ex-military persons who had applied for the job, and frankly had more impressive military CVs than I. I understand my situation was unique, but the point I'm making is that I started preparing five years before retiring and took the effort to make myself competitive against civilian competitors. If you've got the time, take advantage of it to situate yourself to be competitive in THEIR market. Good luck.
 

Colin Parkinson

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Even from a Public Service perspective, you are not well armed when it comes to negotiating wages and contracts, thankfully I have a built in legal advisor to review my contracts. Also if doing something related to your previous job, don't wait to long as the people that you used to work with and know you personally will move on and then your just a another faceless body with stuff that makes you look like a square peg in a round hole, even if that is not really the case.
 

Gunnar

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What about demolitions? Blasting rock for highways or mines? Noisy explosions for geological seismographs in the oil industry? Brick kiln cleaning with 10 ga shotguns?

Dunno how applicable, and there are doubtless skills to learn, but the bang or boom seem covered there...
 

Spencer100

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We're hiring. PM me. Windsor, Ingersoll (soon), Woodstock, Brantford (soon), Cambridge, Alliston, St Catharines. Although some at level entry. Summer students soon. And always looking for AZ no over the road just intercity two point drive.
 

daftandbarmy

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What about demolitions? Blasting rock for highways or mines? Noisy explosions for geological seismographs in the oil industry? Brick kiln cleaning with 10 ga shotguns?

Dunno how applicable, and there are doubtless skills to learn, but the bang or boom seem covered there...

Every developer I know needs qualified blasters. There's so much construction going on right now they're really tapped out.
 

Colin Parkinson

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That was my 2nd choice if my seagoing career did not pan out. My military demolitions course was light years ahead of what is required for a blasting ticket here. I have met some awesome super smart blasters and some that are downright scary to be around and know only enough to be very dangerous. Urban blasting requires the former.
Got up to a small dam site where they were doing some restoration work, they forced me to take a 45 minute "safety briefing". The first thing I see as I step out of the trailer from the briefing is their crews mishandling explosives, I gave them heck for being complacent. Modern explosives are very safe, till they are not. Complacency is a really bad idea when dealing with them.
 

Kat Stevens

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What about demolitions? Blasting rock for highways or mines? Noisy explosions for geological seismographs in the oil industry? Brick kiln cleaning with 10 ga shotguns?

Dunno how applicable, and there are doubtless skills to learn, but the bang or boom seem covered there...
Redacted
 

Jarnhamar

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Not too sure I would want to work for a company that expects a thank you note for giving me an interview.

For some reason that reminds me of the last time I seen a PSO in Petawawa. Buddy made me about turn and read the school degrees he had on his wall. Literally.
 
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daftandbarmy

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Not too sure I would want to work for a company that expects a thank you note for giving me an interview.

For some reason that reminds me of the last time I say a PSO in Petawawa. Buddy made me about turn and read the school degrees he had on his wall. Literally.
Season 9 What GIF by The Office
 

blacktriangle

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Not too sure I would want to work for a company that expects a thank you note for giving me an interview.

For some reason that reminds me of the last time I say a PSO in Petawawa. Buddy made me about turn and read the school degrees he had on his wall. Literally.
Hopefully you casually turned around and walked right out???
 

Spencer100

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It's a crazy world right now is all I say. Most people in management around here can't get people in the door. I'm happy when we get four resumes for salary job. At one location we are happy to get one or two for good union jobs....yes you may have to start on midnights. But I did it.

There seems to be a big disconnect between the jobs and the workers or the kinds of jobs they want. It's super frustrating.

I will give you an example. One company I'm associated with has 350 full and part jobs. It has just one job everyone of the "kids" wants the social media and engagement job. But the schools and colleges are pumping those out as the job of the future. It just one job of 350.

I think many companies would hire ex military. Are you on time? Can you follow instructions? Basic military stuff well it was when was a militia private. That stuff never going out of style.

Back to this thread. Canadians and Canadian companies don't understand the military. They grew up with the schools...well you know. I think the CAF should reach out to more businesses and leaders. Invite them to your messes etc. Let them drive a LAV. Shoot a rifle. Can you imagine a local bank manager riding in tank. He will remember that forever. But after that take him to you training halls show the things you do that translates to his everyday world.
 

Jarnhamar

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Hopefully you casually turned around and walked right out???
Naw, I was curious about MP and MPO and he had information I wanted.

The tray of Canex and PX bought coins displayed on his desk pointing at the guest chair and not somewhere more discreet really summed him up.
 
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