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Young Veterans and the Job Market

Young adults across the board can’t seem to catch a break in this job market, recovery or no recovery. It seems however that young veterans are struggling to find jobs even more than young civilians, and their struggle is slowly increasing as time goes on. For veterans, it’s been an uphill battle for the past few years in so many ways.

According to statistics, in the last quarter of 2011 one out of every three veterans was out of work and in need of a job. That is up significantly from last year when only one in five veterans was looking for work. Not being able to find a job when they return home can make the transition back to a normal lifestyle much more difficult. Often times, veterans returning from combat or overseas suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). If you add the stress of not being able to find a job or being financially sound to the mix, the results can be catastrophic to a young veterans mental and emotional health.

Unfortunately, the slow pick-up of the job market isn’t the only factor working against veterans. Those that are enlisted in the National Guard and or the Reserves have certain laws working against them, even though they were passed with the hope of securing their jobs. The law that requires companies to restore reservists to their jobs after they come home may secure the jobs of veterans that held a position before they were called to duty, but actually makes employers more reluctant to hire those that are in the reserves in the first place. On top of that, a new policy instated back in 2007 on call-ups and the increase of the Pentagon calling the Reserve and Guard members back into service further inhibits employers to hire veterans.

From the perspective of employers, shying away from hiring veterans in the Guard and the Reserves isn’t malicious, but rather a sound business call. If you fill a position with a veteran and they are called back to duty, you have to go through the entire hiring process again to find someone to replace them. On top of that, when the veteran returns, by law the employer must give them their job back. If the veteran is called back into duty even for just a couple months, the company loses a lot of productivity. When they return, doubtless they will have missed out on a lot of important business wagers and time will have to be set aside to get them back up to speed. For an employer, all of the hassle and time lost likely is not worth it. Ted Daywalt, who runs VetJobs.com in Georgia, understands both sides of the situation. “Employers would prefer to hire someone out of the military, but they’re called up so frequently, no one wants to hire them,” he said. “As a reservist, I get real upset. But when I put on my CEO hat, I totally understand why they’re doing it.”

There are a couple of moves young veterans can make though to ensure they are putting their best self forward in spite of the forces working against them. For instance, when writing up resumes veterans often sell themselves short. “On their résumés, they’ll just say, ‘I was field artillery in Iraq for 16 months.'” said Daniel Hutchison, 29, a veteran who started a one-man transition assistance group, Ohio Combat Veterans. “So I’ll say, ‘But you have leadership skills. How much training did you do? How many people did you manage?’ These are all attributes that these veterans have, but they can’t really see it.” With a little help on their resumes, veterans can get a significant leg-up in the market.

There are many working against the laws that are currently in place that shy employers away from hiring these veterans. The Huffington Post reports that Daywalt has testified in court many times pressing the fact that veterans outside of the Guard and the Reserves typically find work when they return. Unless there is a change in policy, these veterans will likely see an increase in the unemployment rate. Unfortunately, any change in legislation takes a long time to pass, and in the mean time veterans need to ensure they are doing everything that is in their control to succeed.

SOURCE: The Huffington Post
IMAGE: The National Guard

Nicole Nicholson

Nicole is the Content Editor for Spark Hire and mainly writes for and edits the work for the Spark News blog. She graduated in 2010 with a BA in Journalism from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. She has a passion for writing, editing, and pretty much anything to do with content. In her free time she frequents the Chicago music scene and writes reviews on shows for her own personal blog. Connect with Nicole and Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter