When we feel fear, this nation cries out for heroes to answer the call to arms after great national tragedies like September 11 and as that fear is mildly reduced, we have so many people seemingly vilifying the same heroes as torturers and warmongers? We seem to be good at starting war and very bad at wrapping up the details. Sometimes it feels like we are in a such a hurry to forget what happen, we fail to make a plan to dot the “i’s” and cross the “t’s” on the way out the door.
Our heroes deserve so much better! For the past almost 10 years, our separating vets have been getting almost 8 hours of training from the Department of Labor in how to collect unemployment and about 1 hour in how to collect their college education benefits. Unemployment is “sold” to them, almost as a continuation of their military pay. As a former manager of at an employment service, I can only begin to tell you the harm that this does! These practices foster an entire class of former military personnel that have been fooled into thinking that they have a year to find a job, while riding the unemployment check and they slowly render themselves less and less employable.
In today’s job market, it is about reducing risk and increasing the potential reward when hiring any employee. A simple Google search for “average cost of hiring an employee” seems to place the average cost at between $4000 to $16,000, depending on the industry and the job. Those are high stakes! With those costs, it is imperative that we teach our vets how to reduce the risk of employing them and increase the reward.
It has become obvious to the professionals working with enlisted military personnel that so many of them leave the military without comprehending what the job market is going to be like. They have bought into the fantasy of taking a year to find a job. These “unemployment riders” feel that they can relax and take their time over a year and collect unemployment while they casually look for work. This creates a number of problems for employers. It creates gaps in the resume. Anything longer than a two to three month gap in an employment timeline is going to really hurt the chances for employment. If they can’t find work, encourage them to volunteer, go to school and stay active. There were times, as a headhunter, when I felt the best person for the job was someone who had more than a couple months of gap in employment. I could not award them the job, solely because a gap in their employment history. A gap opens the possibilities to cast some doubt on diligence, motivation, character and consistency of a prospect. With all the fears created by the stigma of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a significant gap in a veteran’s employment history can have serious long term employability implications.
Other veterans come out of military with the fantasy that they will be handed the first job that comes along. They seem to have the fantasy that they are going to land on their feet running and rapidly climb the corporate ladder. This is pure fiction in most cases! The statistics and my experience just don’t bear this out as true. We need to inform the family and friends of these separating vets that it is a cruel and brutal job market out there. They need to be prepared to do battle for employment! Vets cannot sit back and allow gaps to open in their resumes. They must volunteer, seek instruction and make jobseeking a full-time and immediate effort!
Tomorrow, I am going to be presenting at the 35th Annual Veterans Upward Bound Conference, with Kevin Walda. Kevin is presenting his enlightening message of creating personal brands. I will be presenting our Veterans Employment Application for mobile and Desktop. I will also be presenting the WebInfused The Reality Social Media & SEO Strategy as it applies to jobseekers. As part of that presentation, I will publicly demo Facebook’s Graph Search and show how it relates to jobseekers and employers. I have the feeling that the world is about to change for our vets, if we can just turn a few heads!