Five Biggest Employment Challenges Faced by Veterans

Norwich Pro

May 11, 2021

Five Biggest Employment Challenges Faced by Veterans

About 200,000 Servicemembers transition to civilian life each year, according to the US Department of Veteran Affairs. Many are apprehensive about finding stable and well-paying employment that uses transferrable skills from the military. Nearly two-thirds of new Veterans face difficulties moving back into the civilian world, reports


While the federal government and private sectors are making strides to improve civilian employment opportunities for former military personnel, they still struggle to get jobs. A study conducted in conjunction with Veterans of American reported that the unemployment rate of Veterans ages 18 to 65 is higher than the unemployment rate of non-Veterans. Understanding the obstacles of getting a civilian job and the benefits of continuing education from a military-friendly college can help prepare Veterans to move into the workforce. Below are five of the biggest challenges that Veterans face in entering the job market.


1.) Skill and Education Gaps

Veterans possess many transferrable skills in leadership, teamwork, and communications that can serve them well in civilian careers. Often that’s not enough as employers look for specific skills to fill jobs. Gaps in education and experience may leave them unqualified for employment in certain fields. For example, many management and highly technical positions require both a specific degree and a working background. Veterans who entered the military right after high school may have little or no civilian work experience. And most don’t possess a bachelor’s degree - often a minimum requirement in many corporate positions.


Veterans can build on hard and soft skills developed through the military career by attending trade schools or earning an advanced degree such as those offered at Norwich University, the nation’s first private military college, to reach professional goals faster. Through associations with military-friendly higher education institutions, Veterans can participate in internships to gain needed expertise and experience. The following job training resources can help vets assess job skills, apply to jobs, and receive educational counseling:


2.) Competition

COVID pushed US unemployment to some of its highest levels since the depression. While the job market is in recovery, the unemployment rate was 6% in March 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics – still higher than pre-pandemic levels.

As workers return from extended furloughs, the pace of new hires is slow. As people look for jobs, competition is stiff. According to Inc., every corporate job opening attracts 250 resumes. Among them, only four to six people get called for an interview. And, only one person is hired.

Veterans must compete with civilians who have working experience and savvy with interviews in finding jobs. When applying for jobs, Vets must consider the best fit and differentiate themselves from the competition with a focused resume that lands the interview. More on that in the next section.


3.) Relevant Resume

For many that served their country, the military was their first job. So, Veterans may have never needed to develop a resume or at least one focused on getting a civilian job. As inexperienced job hunters, some Vets may put all their military experience into a resume, hoping future employers find relevant traits and experience. BusinessInsider suggests picking skills that correlate to the job. Creating different resume versions to match specific job requirements increases the chances of landing an interview.

Translate military experience into civilian terms. Learn the terminology and use buzzwords from the job description. Put information into civilian language. For example, instead of using “military personnel office”, replace it with “human resources,” or use “employees” instead of “subordinates.” Refer to for help in translating military skills.

Obtain a Verification of Military Experience and Training (VMET) document that offers guidance on resume preparation and job applications after separating from the service. Several other resources are available to help Veterans in building their resumes, including:


4. ) Learn to Network

Networking is considered the best way to land a job. It is responsible for filling as many as 85% of jobs! Today’s networking is a combination of traditional and more modern techniques. Here are a few of the most important modern networking techniques:

  • Join professional associations and attend job fairs to meet prospective employers or people with a common professional interest.
  • Join community organizations, do volunteer work, and talk with members at the gym. Meeting new people creates an opportunity to obtain a professional reference or lead to a job. An industry study indicated that once interviewed, a referred candidate has a 20x higher chance of getting hired than someone who applied online.
  • Establish a presence on LinkedIn. Don’t underestimate its power as LinkedIn is used by 675 million people a month and over 80 million small businesses worldwide. Recruiters and HR departments often target potential employers from this social media platform. Build an online profile using relevant keywords so that your name is captured in searches. At the same time, use LinkedIn to connect with people to build a professional network. Follow companies and recruitment agencies who often post new job openings. Over 85% of younger job seekers use social media in the first decade of their careers.


5.) Choosing Best Career Path

The best jobs are those that utilize skills acquired from military service. For example, Vets who value protecting the lives of others may foray into the healthcare profession. For Veterans who prefer a more active or physical job, a warehouse or logistics position could be an ideal choice. IT is another career path for Veterans with a background in systems engineering, cybersecurity, data analysis, and information security analysis.  One in four Veterans also works in government or public administration.

For those open-minded to explore career possibilities, certain sectors of the job market are in higher demand after the pandemic, including leisure and hospitality, public and private education, and construction. Investigate different vocations to determine best matches to a military background and personal interests. Then, go back to college to pursue a certification, trade, or degree to build credentials for a career.



Military-Friendly School

Not all higher education institutions support the military. With over 200 years of educating military leaders, Norwich is one of the few universities that understands the challenge of transitioning from military to civilian life. Offering high-demand online bachelor’s, master’s, and Norwich Pro certificate programs taught by field experts with military backgrounds, Norwich advisors help Veterans navigate the admissions process. Use your Veterans Benefits to fund your tuition.

For Information on Norwich Pro complete roster of Certificate Programs that develop and deepen professional skills to get ahead in careers or enter new ones, visit

Have questions? Contact Norwich at or by email at


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