Recently Business Insider wrote a great article titled "Thank You For Your Military Service — Now Here Are 9 Reasons Why I Won't Hire You" ( While there are some of us in the veteran and military community who might at first glance state that this article only furthers the "anti-military" bent in America's hiring process, we need to help our community understand several key points.

While I encourage everyone to read and share the article in its entirety, let's focus on three points that were made that we as a community of veterans need to reinforce and help service members transitioning out of the military understand.

1) You Can’t (or Won’t) Accept That You’re Starting Over
Too many service members getting out today do not understand that what they are about ready to embark on is a major career change. Sure there are those of us who will leave the military and transition in to the exact same job we had while in the service. But for the vast majority of service members, the military has not adequately provided them with all of the tools necessary to make a lateral transition. This does not mean that they can't be great leaders, nor that they will not be successful in the civilian sector, rather that there are certain things that they will either need to obtain or do to quickly climb back up the rungs to get to where they "were" when they left the military

2) You Don’t Have a LinkedIn Profile (Or, Even Worse, It’s Not Complete)
As common sense as this point might seem (since we all are on LinkedIn), many of those transitioning out of the military do not have a LinkedIn profile. Most of the veterans who I help in my resume and interview clinics lack a LinkedIn profile for two reasons; they didn't realize how important a LinkedIn profile is in their search for a job, and they don't know what they can use on their resume, much less their LinkedIn profile when searching for a job. 

3) You Don’t Know What You Want to Do
Many times when service members are transitioning out of the military they lack two things that help them define what's next; what do I want to do, what do I want to achieve. It's not hard to understand why many service members lack the aforementioned two things- most Americans lack these as well. Often times when you ask a veteran what they want to do, they will give you a job title or field, IE I want to be in the Intelligence Community. The reality is this isn't what they want to do, this is just a title that they associate with what they want to do. We have to help them dig deeper into this question by helping them define what they want to do. By helping them dig deeper into what they want to do, we will help them focus on what is required for them to be successful in their career change and also help them realize that there are multiple opportunities that they had not yet considered. 

While briefly mentioned in the article, there is one point that we need to harp on with our transitioning service members: you aren't always actively fishing, but you always have a line in the river. Regardless of where you are at, who you are with, or where you are in your career, you always need to be ready to take advantage of a great opportunity that comes your way. This means that you need to be a step above your competition, because let's face it, unfortunately there are those in our country who start off believing that veterans do not have the same "professionalism/capability" as their civilian counterparts. So what are some steps that service members can take to set themselves apart?
- Have professionally printed personal business cards with their LinkedIn address on them. 
- Have a suit that is clean and properly tailored. (regardless of the field, it is always good to have their "Sunday's Best" ready).
- Bring a portfolio with resumes printed on paper that is heavier than normal printer paper to an interview.

AuthorJoshua Lawton