What Sort of Jobs Do Veterans Excel At? The Top 10

This list is continued from a previous article, where we covered the first three jobs on the list: Administrative Services Manager, Construction Program Manager, and Emergency Medical Technician. Here we’ll cover the last seven jobs in CareerCast.com’s list of best jobs for Veterans in 2014.


The fourth job is Heavy & Tractor-Trailer Truck Driver. While not the most glamorous of jobs, many truck drivers thrive on the freedom that driving affords them. Truck Drivers have an average Annual salary of $38,200, which isn’t going to buy you that Lamborghini you’ve always wanted, but will be enough for you to enjoy a comfortable life with your family. CareerCast.com has the following to say about this job: “Many U.S. trucking companies are facing skills gaps, which makes filling vital positions increasingly difficult. Legislation passed in late 2012 is aimed to help the industry meet the 21% growth in trucking industry jobs that the BLS estimated by 2020. The legislation also eases licensing restrictions for service people who have frequently moved, and thus might not otherwise be able to receive state certification.”

Fifth in line we have the Industrial engineering Technician. An Industrial Engineering Technician applies engineering theory and principles to solve problems in an industrial layout or manufacturing production. The Technician is usually supervised by a member of the engineering staff, and often studies and records time, motion, method, and speed in regards to the operations of the factory or plant. The Technician plays an important role in establishing standard production rates and improving efficiency. An Industrial Engineering Technician provides an annual average salary of $50,890 and can also be great experience to leverage an engineering degree after you’ve completed school.

Number six is an Industrial Production Manager. According to America’s Job Exchange, An Industrial Production manager is “Responsible for managing and directing production activities within an industrial facility or organization. Coordinates the production of goods, ensures machines are repaired and running smoothly, and manages workers on production line.” This job makes the list because it’s compatible with many of the skills that veterans take with them after discharge, as well as the renewed emphasis on the manufacturing industry as part of the economic recovery, which makes for a good deal of openings in this industry. The average IPM makes $89,910 annually.

The seventh job in the list is a Paralegal and legal Assistant. These make an average salary of $46,990 and are often a great fit for veterans because of a good deal of on-the-job training during military service and because the field is expected to grow by 17% by the year 2020. Paralegals are the direct assistants to an attorney, and their main job is to assist the lawyer however necessary. Paralegal’s carry out legal research, draft legal documents, prepare cases when assigned, and can assist in carrying out investigations in relation to a case. A paralegal may also interview witnesses and also perform administrative duties.

Job number eight is a Software Engineer. Software Engineers make a good deal of money with an average annual salary of $85,430, and often love their job quite a bit. With the growth of information technology, computer science, software development, and other technology-related jobs in the armed forces, more and more veterans are leaving the military with extensive experience and training that many software companies find extremely valuable.

Number nine is a Telecommunications Equipment Installer and Repairer. This job has a very long name, but it is very appropriate to many veterans leaving the military. It has a fair average salary of $54,530, and veterans with telecommunications experience are a shoe-in. CareerCast offers this to say about this job: “Each branch of the military deal
s with the most sophisticated telecommunications equipment in the world. The technicians charged with installing and maintaining this equipment enter the workforce with unparalleled insight and applied knowledge which typically exceeds the skills offered by recent college graduates who lack this real-world experience.”

And last but not least, number 10 is a Training and Development Manager. America’s Job Exchange describes a TDM as follows: “Responsible for creating and implementing training programs and overseeing the development of careers. Sets performance metrics, evaluates productivity, and helps workers create long-term career plans within an organization.” A TDM has an average annual salary of $95,400, making it the most lucrative job in the list.

Your Resume: Leverage Your Military Experience

I have several very good friends that manage the Human Resources department in their respective companies. They agree that a well-tuned resume is vital for a prospective employee.  Your resume is the first impression you make on a manager and a strong determining factor in whether you receive an interview at all.

Virtually every single veteran will benefit by understanding how to translate military experience and skills into practical qualifications for civilian jobs. Knowing how to package and present yourself to others is a neglected art.

Call to mind what the US Armed Services invests in its members, teaching a wide range of skills and disciplines and spending a fortune on personnel development. I think it is easily demonstrated that anyone who has served in the military comes out with tangible skills and experience. These skills and experience, if favorably presented, can make an attractive case for employment in almost any circumstance.

I recently came across some really good advice when it comes to preparing a resume that will get you hired. The author is Giacomo Giammatteo and he absolutely nails the importance of a resume. More, he tells you exactly what to do and how to do it.  He has a downloadable Kindle version and a PDF version for a pretty reasonable price.

It Matters How You Communicate

Here’s a sampling of the advice Giammatteo offers:

You don’t say:

    • Increased sales. You don’t even say, increased sales by 20%, even though that’s better.
    • Significantly cut manufacturing costs and improved yields.
    • Number 1 sales rep in region.
    • Brought product in under budget and ahead of schedule.

It’s much better to list it like this:

    • Increased sales by 20%, from $12m to almost $15m in one year.
    • Cut manufacturing costs by 25%, producing a yearly savings of more than $3m, while increasing yields from 92% to 96%.
    • Number 1 sales rep in region (out of 19 reps).
    • Brought product in 10% under budget and 2 months ahead of schedule, saving company $240k.

Giammatteo advocates quantifying your accomplishments, putting things into a perspective that the gatekeeper to your new job finds relevant.  If two nearly equal resumes are on the table, the one that quantifies things (as shown above) is the one that holds the advantage over the other.

When it comes to resumes, remember that less is more. Use simple language, jargon-free, and remove all acronyms and other confusing terms.  Your resume is really translating what you are and what you do to the most simple version possible—understandable to anyone and everyone.

More to Remember

When you apply for that new civilian job, here is some more timely advice:

  • Assume that those you are talking to know nothing about the military. Describe your skills and experience in simple terms, demilitarize everything, and then practice describing your experience and skills in easy-to-understand language.
  • Emphasize your soft skills. Soft skills are the “people skills” that you have learned. These include leadership ability, work ethic, working well under pressure, adaptability, efficiency, self-directedness and a commitment to excellence. Every employer is looking for these skill sets in a potential hire, and nearly every veteran has them. .
  • Remember, after writing your resume, to have at least two people read it to help ensure everything is grammatically correct and the document is easily understood by civilians. There are many online resume builders that can help you. Go to a few different websites and see what is offered. With a little time invested, you will begin to see patterns and consistent messages that will help you hone your resume and refine your presentation.
  • If you earned extra stripes, awards and medals, then show them off. Prestigious awards and commendations are appreciated and respected. In some instances, the topics of your medals or awards may be private. A simple firm “with all respect, I’d prefer not to go into detail about that particular subject” will secure your privacy without harming your chances to get the job.  Listing your awards, from distinguished service to good conduct, can be a great addition to any resume.

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Is Veteran Unemployment as Big of an Issue as it Seems?

Short answer: No. Long answer: see below.

It seems that there is no shortage of politicians swept up in a righteous fury about the rate of unemployed veterans. While the author certainly would never claim to have any sort of doubt about the sincerity of a politician’s claims, it certainly seems that an awful lot of veterans are unemployed. But is this actually the case?

The unemployment rate among post 9/11 veterans continues to decline, as it has all year so far, from 11.7% in January to 7.2% in June, compared to 7.9% for the nation as a whole in January, and 7.6% in June. So currently a greater percentage of veterans are employed than other americans, though that was not true as recent as a few months ago. But the overall data for veterans of all ages shows that in June the unemployment rate for all veterans was 6.3%, much lower than the nation as a whole.

So as a whole, veterans are better off in the unemployment area than the rest of the nation, but newer generation veterans are much closer statistically to the rest of the nation, and only the last few months have they been so; previous to March, the unemployment rate of post 9/11 veterans was much higher than the national average.

It is interesting to compare the male veteran unemployment rate with the female veteran unemployment rate. The female unemployment rate tends to jump up and down each month quite a bit – from 4.9% in May to 8.9% in June of this year. The unpredictable and extreme nature of the statistic is commonly attributed to the significantly smaller sample size – meaning that when one female veteran gets a job, it affects the percentage more than when one male does, because there are more male veterans than female.

As of right now it is uncertain what is causing the unemployment rate among post 9/11 veterans to drop so drastically. Many theories exist, including little-publicized policies passed by congress or the expansion of the VA which provide benefits for businesses who hire veterans. One theory that has some credence is how much the topic of veterans has been in the news lately, and it’s potential effect on the minds of business owners and hiring managers. Whatever the cause, the unemployment rate will hopefully continue to go down, not only for veterans but for the U.S. as a whole.

Wal-Mart to Hire Thousands of Veterans Needing Employment

Wal-Mart recently announced that they will employ any veteran currently in need of a job and will find a place for them based on individual expertise.

The newly hired veterans could be placed in Wal-Mart stores, distribution center or any other Wal-Mart offices and spaces.

The news comes with thousands of veterans returning home from deployments and government plans to cut back on the amount of men and women in the U.S. Armed Forces.

The Obama administration has made a recent push for major American employers to reach out to veterans coming home from deployments and offer our troops training and employment.  Whether Wal-Mart’s decision was based on the White House plea is unsure, but its announcement certainly sets the stage for other companies to follow suit.

Wal-Mart is currently the world’s largest retailer and employs well over 1 million workers.  The new veteran hires could potentially reach as many as 100,000 over the next five years and could give the sluggish economy a nice boost.

Wal-Mart also plans to spend approximately $50 billion to buy more U.S. made products and merchandise over the next 10 years providing another initiative that could help improve the economy.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2011 and 2012, there were approximately 3.6 million new private sector jobs created.  These numbers give additional insight into the 100,000 potential new jobs from ONE company over the next five years and could potentially account for nearly 1% of the total jobs created in the next five years.

Wal-Mart Chief Executive, Bill Simon, stated one of the main reasons for this decision in an interesting quote:

“The election clarified for me that it’s time for those of us outside politics to get to work,” Simon said. “I find it fascinating that during the campaign we all waited with bated breath each month for the government to tell us how many private-sector jobs were created. After all, it’s the private sector that creates jobs.”

Wal-Mart has often been criticized for its treatment of its employees and this announcement could potentially give the company a much-needed image boost.  There can be no denying that part of this decision by Wal-Mart is based on public relations, however, the announcement will help thousands of deserving veterans receive employment with no guaranteed ROI.

Wal-Mart is a worldwide power and any announcement from the enormous company attracts attention.  In a recent article by NPR, they stated an interesting stat saying:

“With $444 billion in annual revenue, if Wal-Mart were a country, it would rank among the largest economies in the world.”

Wal-Mart’s plan to hire veterans is based on the massive amounts of troops returning from military deployments and the continuing rise in veteran unemployment. In

December 2012, unemployment rate for military personnel serving deployments in Iraq or Afghanistan was a shocking 10.8% compared with the national overall unemployment rate of 7.8%.

The program is scheduled to begin on Memorial Day 2013 and plans to continue over the next five years.

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