Veteran Unemployment, It’s not just applications and interviews

Don’t get me wrong, being unemployed sucks no matter if you are a veteran or not but veterans being unemployed comes with a different set of playing cards. They possess a different set of skills that aren’t understood by those in the private sector unless they’ve been there themselves or related in someway. They earned skills not easily attainable, skills no private sector job can teach you.

James has been unemployed for several months now. The previous employer/contractor wasn’t awarded the contract for the job. Most of his co-workers applied for the job through the contractor who was awarded the contract.  Unfortunately, only a few of his co-workers were hired.  The employer claimed they were setting the teams up in tiers and would consider him at a later date.  At this point we hold no hope in him returning. So job hunting became a daily thing. I guess it is a good and bad thing that most of today’s employers will post available positions online either on a job forum, site or website that posts jobs for veterans.  The available jobs in our neck of the woods on websites like HireHeroesUSA.org are slim to none (literally, there are 2 job postings in the state of NC as of this morning). We have other sites like Indeed, USAjobs, or Feds Hire Vets but in my experience it seems to be a lot repetition. We tend to look at Indeed and USAjobs the most. USAjobs you can filter the search for people eligible for federal employment (i.e. present federal employees, veterans) and then the city, state, or zip code.  You can apply online and for the most part you stay on that website or it opens up on the employers website and you finish it there. You can upload your resume, DD214 (military discharge), veteran preference, or other documents that employers may ask for.

There are a few downsides though, your best bet when submitting your resume is customizing it for the job you are applying for. Which means that resume you got help with from veteran organizations has to go under the knife. It looked so good when you looked at the finished copy and then you have to edit it to fit the job.  That ”cookie-cutter” resume isn’t all it was cracked up to be. You end up having multiple copies of your resume and each job description you see all seem to differ in one way shape or form even if it’s for the same position. A play of words end up being the name of that game.  I do not know how they do it but you can take someone’s resume with the simplest skills, experience, etc and boy they can make that person look as if they’ve been around the world in 80 days, nominated for a noble prize, saved someone’s life while bleeding profusely, carrying a 180 lb unconscious person and wading through 6 feet of infested water.  Wonder why those people aren’t working for Hollywood? But then again some of those same people are  probably the ones working for these over-bearing politicians.  Ones that claim they have your best interests at heart but are mainly opportunist’s looking to capitalize on your needs.  All politicians, not are the same I admit, but they sure hone a “special set of skills”.

He has applied for numerous positions over the past several months. Most of which he hasn’t received any kind of response. There were several that he applied for that I know with 100% certainty that he was qualified for but he would  receive these response codes that translated  “not qualified”.  It is extremely hard to watch him as he reads their responses and not become depressed or even contemplate personally contacting that employer and asking them for some sort of clarification to their “not qualified” response.  Sometimes I wonder why he even bothers to submit the veterans preference form because it looks as if they don’t either take the points into account, don’t even  look at their applications much less vets pref.  Or- once they have seen that a veteran has submitted it they jump to conclusions and assume the veteran somehow is lacking in their abilities to perform the job to a certain standard (normally beyond the norm) and are quick to no longer consider them a viable candidate.  Or like a lot of veterans has ptsd and they don’t want the hassle of dealing with it.

Want to know what a job seeker’s biggest frustration is? Nearly half (45 percent) say it’s when employers don’t respond to them. In fact, job seekers say 4 out of 10 (38 percent) of their applications never receive a response or any type of communication. So if you want to stay a step ahead of your competition, do yourself a favor and avoid that dreaded black hole. –www.thehiringsite.careerbuilder.com/2016/05/13

Then there are those jobs that he gained skill and experience while in the military, BUT, lacks a certificate of some sort. For instance, plant operator, this was one of his jobs while in the Marine Corps. It was listed on his resume but they responded with ”not qualified”.  A lot of jobs in the military are unattainable without a piece of paper stating they graduated this course/certified they learned a certain trade or skill. I think that is one reason why veterans have a hard time adjusting to the civilian job sector. It is kind of like they are being told all that experience meant nothing. All the knowledge they gained in a particular field is worthless. He still needs to go to school to earn a certificate verifying he learned how to operate a plant. Yet, while in the Marine Corps, he learned how to run that plant from an academic standpoint not to mention practical application. They receive certificates for those skills but those aren’t accounted for when applying for jobs. All he can do for now is keep applying and submitting his resumes.

Thankfully, Kayla has been able to become certified as an EMT (emergency medical technician) in the national registry and that was in her first few weeks of being in medic training.