Hiring Veterans: How to Bridge the Gap

Making the correct hiring decisions can lead to the success or failure of your organization. In my previous blog, I elaborated on why veterans can make great employees and candidates. I wrote about key traits that veterans carry and why you should take the time to review their resumes. In this blog, I will focus on how you can identify the key traits you are looking for when reviewing veteran candidates. There are easy measures and steps that organizations can take to ensure our veterans have an opportunity to make it through the pipeline.

The first step is resume review and ensuring we are diligent in our approach to understanding the role a veteran candidate played in the military. I encourage hiring managers to also take into account that a veteran candidate is one that is service minded, and places value on their organization before themselves. These are highly trained and committed individuals that hold themselves accountable and demonstrate leadership qualities.

The next thing you will notice is that most veteran candidates will have a stated MOS code on their resumes.  What is an MOS code, you ask? That’s a great question! It is a military occupation code which identifies a specific job within military sectors. There are hundreds of them, but with the Google MOS code translator, understanding an MOS code is as easy as clicking a button. Simply Google “jobs for veterans,” and you will be asked to enter a military occupation code in the search. Once you begin the search, Google’s algorithm will populate civilian jobs the veteran would be qualified for based on their specific military experience.

For example, you might see an Army veteran with the MOS code 38B. A veteran with that code would have served as a Civil Affairs Specialist. (Thank you, Google!) So, what does a Civil Affairs Specialist do? As noted in this post from The Balance Careers website, “In the Army, the main role of civil affairs specialists is to prevent and mitigate civilian interference with military operations. Civil affairs soldiers help plan missions that may involve civilians, such as evacuations, and work with civilian aid agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and commercial and private organizations. They may also support counter-drug operations that involve civilians or non-combatants”. With an understanding this role on a high-level, you can begin to connect the dots while considering this candidate’s experience in operations and working with a diverse sector of agencies. With that in mind, what is a good job for this veteran? A role that would highlight their leadership abilities through operations, and skill in creating solutions, overseeing implementation, and communicating with strategic partners. A veteran who has served as a 38B would be a phenomenal candidate for an Operations Manager role, or a position as a Product, Program, or Project Manager.

If you see the MOS code 3S0X1, you will find an Air Force veteran that served as an enlisted Personal Specialist.  This veteran would have served as an HR specialist and career counselor to their fellow active military with a focus on retention and benefits oversight. Here’s how The Balance Careers describes this career profile: “Although the duties are similar to those of a civilian HR manager, there are many functions of this job which are uniquely military. Personal specialists oversee a wide array of administrative functions such as duty status changes, leave programs, casualty assistance, and official documents such as letters of reprimand.” Using their broad range of experience in dealing with diversity, working with large teams, and specialized basic personal training, which is about a month long, a 3S0X1 veteran would be a beneficial addition to any organization’s HR department.

Exploring these two MOS codes is just the tip of the iceberg, but they serve as examples which might previously have been unknown. In addition to the Google MOS translator, there are resources such as The Balance Careers, which provides detailed overviews of MOS codes.

When you are looking to fill your next role, I urge you to take a few extra moments while reviewing veteran resumes to explore the information available through these resources—the payoff is worth it.

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