Skills Translation Is Key For Veterans

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November 9, 2015
By Kirk Murray
From CapitalGazette.com

Veterans Day is an official United States federal holiday observed annually to honor those who served in the U.S. Armed Forces.

The military presence in Anne Arundel County is unavoidable with Fort Meade and the Naval Academy sandwiching the image of kirk murraycounty. According to the 2013 census, there were over 54,000 veterans in Anne Arundel which accounted for just over 13 percent of the county’s population. Fort Meade has over 14,300 active military personnel working on the installation and is one of only three Army installations projected to grow, adding an additional 1,229 personnel before 2019.

While Fort Meade is a large employer in the county, the civilian and military workforce commutes to the installation from all across Central Maryland and as far north as Pennsylvania and south as Virginia. The largest concentrations of the workforce however are located in Anne Arundel, Howard and Carroll counties.

Many of these individuals will stay employed at Fort Meade for years to come, however service members transition out of the military on a regular basis and many of those newly transitioned veterans will call Anne Arundel and the surrounding region home.

Any major transition in life can be a daunting task, transitioning from military to civilian life can be especially difficult because it affects almost every aspect of life. One thing that stands out is finding a career within the civilian realm. Beyond the question of what career path to choose, transitioning military members must face the reality of many citizens across the county, securing a job.

While veterans in Anne Arundel have a lower unemployment rate than the county as a whole, there are still a large population of veterans who are unemployed.

There are a plethora of businesses within Anne Arundel and the region eager to hire veterans, however to land these positions veterans must adjust to the civilian world. This includes translating skills acquired through military service into terms understood by civilians, and learning how to navigate the job market.

Avoiding military jargon is key, but can be harder than expected because responsibilities have always been described in military terms. Not only do transitioning military and veterans have to be able to communicate their skills and the value of those skills in an interview, they have to be able to translate and communicate those skills on paper through their resume in order to get that interview.

These can range from technical skills acquired through training to those “soft skills” cultivated throughout service including leadership, communication, teamwork and time management. All of these skills are important to a potential employer, but if they don’t understand what the resume says or if the resume can’t be found using a keyword search of skills in a database of resumes, there is a slim chance of making it to an interview.

Many service members that transition to civilian life from Fort Meade have a technical background due to Fort Meade’s focus on Cyber Defense. Cybersecuity is a large and growing sector of the region’s economy and is facing a workforce shortage that could be partially filled by service members separating from the military. According to the 2013 census the median income of employed veterans was $20,000 higher than the median income of nonveterans, which could be a result of the technical skills acquired by military personnel on Fort Meade.

These skills are needed across the region by employers in almost every industry. If you are a veteran, a veteran spouse, or a civilian in need of career guidance I encourage you to visit a Career Center.

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