Every year, approximately 200,000 United States service members transition to civilian life (according to the Department of Defense). That’s 200,000 people who have to answer the question: What’s next?
Many people don’t know that I was once in their shoes. I served as a Logistics Officer in the United States Marine Corps for more than four years before starting my career in the corporate world. I had various responsibilities while I was serving, including asset management, maintenance operations and process compliance. It was during this time that I found my passion for leadership and the work I do now. This experience also gave me firsthand appreciation for the skills and discipline veterans bring to everything they do.
But it’s not always easy for veterans. When service members leave the military, many of them may have never created a resume, had a behavioral interview or made a LinkedIn profile before. Much less competed for a civilian job against people who have had those experiences! Thankfully, efforts like National Hire a Veteran Day on July 25 can help through simple awareness-raising, resource-sharing and positive reinforcement. Here are ways both veterans and organizations can get involved to make the transition easier:
Join an organization like the HireMilitary program, which is focused on connecting veterans and transitioning service members with employers. With around 19 million veterans in the United States, employers have many opportunities to find a great candidate in this highly trained and disciplined demographic.
If you’re an employer looking to hire, check out SkillBridge, or other resources supporting veterans looking for work. Many veterans acquire skills during their service that translate well to roles in all levels of the organization. SkillBridge partners with employers to help train and retrain military members to make the transition to civilian life smoother.
Connect with other service members. At Xylem, we have an organization called the Xylem Veterans’ Network. Members are represented by all branches (Army, Navy, US Marine Corps, Air Force) and include supporters and those with family connections. It’s always an honor to connect with the people in the group and support one another. We often discuss networking, Watermark events, career development and how we can help others understand the experiences of our veteran community. It will also provide a platform for us to help educate managers that don’t have military experience understand the types of transferrable skills veterans have that don’t always show up on a resume – traits like discipline, flexibility and perseverance are common in veterans given the diverse experiences and stressful situations they have faced during their military service.
I’m proud to be a veteran and grateful for the people who have served and are still serving our country today. While the transition to civilian life is often not easy, I’m proud to work for a company that embraces the military community and helps make it a little easier.
Learn more about all of the Xylem Employee Networks and our diversity, equity and inclusion efforts around the world on our careers page!