By Caroline Levchuck, Yahoo! HotJobs
There's a competitive war for talent being waged in companies across the US, and people with military backgrounds stand to win.
The Skills Have It
Discipline. Loyalty. Leadership. "Stick-to-itiveness." These soft skills can be hard to come by in job applicants -- but not those with military experience.
Bob Putnam, senior manager of retail HR development for RadioShack, agrees. "At RadioShack, the core values that we hold near and dear are integrity, pride, trust and teamwork," he says. "That's really what people in the military are all about, and that's what makes candidates with a military background perfect for RadioShack."
Employee retention is an important factor in winning the war for talent, which is why recruiters look to this pool of professionals.
"One of the wonderful things about military people is that they are trained to be extraordinarily loyal," says Peter Weddle, publisher of employment resource guides at Weddles.com.
Leadership Abilities Stand Out
Technology provider Perot Systems actively recruits talent with military experience. "Many of our top leaders and managers in the company have a military background," says Mark Williamson, senior military recruiter. "These individuals have been instrumental in our company's phenomenal growth."
Companies like 7-Eleven and Cintas are also fans of the military's brand of leadership. Sally Hart, national military recruiting director for Cintas, says, "Military people lead from the front. They get in and get their hands dirty and they don't mind doing the job themselves."
Weddle, a graduate of West Point, adds, "The military is the most diverse workforce, and the people in it have learned to embrace that diversity and work well in teams within it."
Military Jobs Translate Well
Perot Systems recruits "individuals of high moral character, who are calm under pressure and who are comfortable with technology," according to Williamson. Many veterans fit the description.
"In today's modern military, folks coming out have sophisticated technical skills," Weddle says.
Many other hard skills military service members acquire may be tailor-made for private-sector employers.
"There are certain occupations in the military that are a great fit for us," says Cintas' Hart. "Support occupations, such as intelligence, military police, supply -- these folks all understand customer service. Artillery, infantry, armory and other front-line folks understand an industrial environment. They haven't been sitting in an office or a cubicle all day and we're not going to have them doing that either."
Hiring Hints from the Insiders
"Highlight your leadership abilities and provide examples of how you've motivated and developed others as well as examples of where you've been a team player," says Richard Kenny, SPHR, field staffing manager for 7-Eleven.
Hart suggests smiling during the job interview. "That's tough for folks getting out of the military," she says. "They're told to be all business, but they need to get their personality across to hiring managers and recruiters."
Williamson advises vets to demilitarize their resumes. "I would encourage candidates to read Web articles and books on interviewing, specifically behavioral interviewing," he says.
"We have lots of stores near military bases. A lot of military folks were my customers when I first started out," says Radio Shack's Putnam. "Go in to a store and talk to our people to see what working with us is really like."