Written by Mike Wood, Assistant Director–Career Counseling, Career Center
As a rule, veterans tend to be highly self-sufficient and successful in many industries. With a “mission first” mindset, combined with traits such as self-discipline, leadership skills, self-motivation, and high ethical standards, veterans are well prepared to succeed in the workplace. Often the most challenging time is the initial transition from military to civilian work. There are a new set of rules, acronyms, and language to learn in the civilian sector. (Fortunately, during this transition you will not have the memorable experience of a drill sergeant/drill instructor screaming, “You have 30 seconds to get off my bus!”) Thankfully, there are many helpful resources for veterans to navigate these challenges. This article will summarize unemployment rates for veterans and highlight three helpful job search resources specifically intended for veterans.
Unemployment rates for veterans
As of January 2021, the national unemployment rate in the U.S. was 6.7%. The unemployment rate for veterans in December 2020 was 5.4%. In 2019 (pre-COVID), the unemployment rate for veterans was 3.1%, which was the lowest rate in 19 years. Although we are in challenging economic times, many employers still appreciate the unique strengths veterans bring to the job market. Veterans should capitalize on these strengths and apply them to the job search process. Below are some helpful resources to get started.
Job search resources for veterans
Careeronestop has a Veterans Job Matcher, which provides the option to enter one’s military occupational code (MOC) and branch of service. For example, entering 68W/Combat Medic Specialist (enlisted, Army) yielded 49 civilian occupations. These include jobs such as Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics, Medical Records and Health Information Technicians, Medical and Health Services Managers, and much more.
Another helpful resource is Veteran Employment Services, accessible at jobs.mo.gov. One example is the “Show-Me Heroes On-the-Job Training.” The goal is to connect veterans returning home with Missouri employers who have productive careers. These employers recognize that veterans have the education, motivation, character, and training that will prove vital to Missouri’s economic future. Enhanced career services are available at Missouri Job Centers for veterans who are Gold Card Eligible. This includes all veterans who have served in the armed forces on or after September 2001.
My Next Move for Veterans is another great resource. This website allows the veteran job seeker to browse for careers by key words, industry, and by entering the name/code of military classification. If you are not sure where to start, spend some time exploring the O*NET Interest Profiler, which suggests careers based on the type of work you enjoy doing.
The Career Center at Missouri State University is happy to assist student veterans and alumni in preparing for the successful transition to civilian work. Please call our office at 417-836-5636, or schedule an appointment through Handshake. Handshake is available under My Missouri State as well as under Quick Links on the Career Center website.
Lastly, the Career Center staff thanks you for your service to our country. We look forward to assisting you!