Former military personnel strive for leadership, make great team members, and bring many skills that could help build an onsite business


Unemployment continues to plague many veterans once they leave the military. Despite their years of dedicated service and a wide variety of work and life skills, veterans are struggling to secure full-time jobs to support themselves and their families.

According to Joseph Kernan, chairman of NS2 Serves and retired Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy, “Hiring a veteran not only provides your company with a devoted employee who has the potential to become a highly productive member of the team, but you’re also giving a deserving veteran a fresh start in post-military life and a chance at a fulfilling career.”

Veterans can thrive in a wide variety of work settings, including the onsite industry, where many of the skills they’ve learned over the years may translate well to a service business. They may know how to operate large trucks or equipment, communicate well with other technicians and your customers, and are often trained in technology areas that could bring added value to your operation.

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Kernan explains, “This is why SAP National Security Services established the nonprofit NS2 Serves, to train and employ veterans in high-tech careers. Through this program for predominantly enlisted men and women, we prepare graduates with the skills that hiring managers and organizations look for in a highly qualified, technically trained and dedicated employee.”

He suggests seven compelling qualities that demonstrate why a veteran should be your next pick.

1. Veterans strive to be leaders
In the military, leadership is continually fostered until it becomes an ingrained attribute. Veterans respect and understand the roles of leaders, and willingly accept and seek leadership opportunities. Most importantly, there is a clear understanding of a preeminent responsibility to those entrusted with leadership roles — lead by example, in a way they would like to be led.

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2. Veterans know how to work as a team
Working successfully in a team is considered an essential skill in most workplaces; it’s also the foundation on which safe and successful military operations are conducted. Veterans have developed an uncompromising responsibility to their peers, subordinates and superiors alike. They understand that there is “no I in team” and that success is invariably related to the depth of teamwork.

3. Veterans are trained to quickly learn new skills and concepts
While in the service, members of the military are continually trained in a multitude of cross-functional skills. The demand for both administrative and occupational skills is high, and the ability to adapt to technological enhancements is essential. No matter what their job assignment, veterans must master the operations and react quickly to flaws and failures.

4. Veterans are mission-/goal-oriented
In the military, the mission is paramount. Vets have been trained to adapt to complex tasks that are inherent in office and field settings. Their sense of duty, responsibility and accountability for job performance and mission success is an enduring priority. The culture and training in our military continues to breed success and respect around the world.

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5. Veterans have the ability to perform in high-stress situations
In today’s fast-paced work environment, having the ability to persevere under difficult or stressful circumstances is crucial. Veterans are trained and expected to perform under stress, and still accomplish tasks in a timely and effective manner with the resources at hand.

6. Veterans are able to adapt
While in the military, veterans undergo rigorous training programs to become experts in a wide range of skills and concepts that are applicable in a civilian work environment. Being able to adapt to changing situations is imperative to mission success and, when transferred to the workplace, it ensures a highly successful employee. While military duties stress teamwork and group productivity, they also build individuals who are able to perform independently when the situation demands it.

7. Veterans have strong communication skills
Veterans have learned to work effectively side by side with individuals regardless of race, gender, religion, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, economic status and geographic origins. Regardless of varying intellectual and physical abilities, each individual is respected for his or her critical role in the organization. Military personnel are taught to have a questioning and thoughtful mentality, and they are not afraid to offer perspectives and recommendations to supervisors in a respectful manner.

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Also, Kernan asserts that, “From the day they begin their training, military personnel are instilled with a strong sense of character and work ethic. They are able to fill leadership voids, or follow direction until the goal has been achieved.”

He believes every company should look to veterans when the time comes to grow or fill vacated positions, and calls on business owners to help support those who preserve our values and security. For more information getting involves with NS2 Serves, go to ns2serves.org.

Dana Manciagli is a career expert, Fortune 500 sales and marketing executive, member of the board of junior achievement and author of, “Cut the Crap, Get a Job!” Contact her at danamanciagli.com.

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