Military Service, a Resume Booster?
by James Glaser
February 26, 2012
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I met a young man yesterday who is signing up to join the Marines. One of the hooks his recruiter used was this recruiter's belief that men and women coming out of the service were sought after by corporations for employment.

That sounds so good to a young man who can't find a decent job. Young people realize that they have nothing to offer an employer in most cases, and they will quickly buy into the recruitment story that industry is going to need the skills you learn while serving your country.

According to ABC News, veterans are not that sought after by American employers:

The unemployment rate in 2010 for veterans between the ages of 18-24 was 20.9 percent, up from a prerecession rate of 11.7 percent in 2007.

National Public Radio reports it like this:

December 1, 2011

The jobless rate has declined a bit in the past year, but among veterans who have served in conflict since 2003, it is increasing. The unemployment rate for vets serving since the Iraq war began has risen 1.5 percentage points to more than 12 percent in the past year.

Recruiters will say anything and promise anything to get our young men and women to sign that enlistment contract. The promise of a school by a recruiter means nothing as does the promise of learning useable job skills while serving in uniform.

Yes, there are employers who will give a veteran a job, but usually those employers are veterans themselves. If the man or woman interviewing you is an anti-war believer, being a veteran is not a plus on your resume. Being in the infantry, artillery, driving a tank, being a sniper, or being good with demolitions does not give you transferable job skills.

Being a veteran is looked upon as a plus by your family, some of your friends, and probably members of your church, but the veteran population if the United States is only 7%, and most Americans will wonder just why you signed up. Why didn't you go on to school? Why couldn't you find a job? Were you in trouble, and the military was the only choice you had? There is a reason that 93% of Americans opt out of joining the service. Yes, at a young age everything that Recruiter tells you sounds good, but just maybe you should spend a little time volunteering at a VA Hospital. How about talking to a vet who did his time in artillery. Then think about if you really do like to listen to music.

Do a little researching on what combat stress does to hundreds of thousands of veterans or read up on traumatic brain injuries. Think about why an employer would want to hire you after your tour of duty. After you have really looked at the pros and cons of enlisting, see if you think that the 93% of Americans who want nothing to do with the service are just out wrong. Then try and figure out why veterans have a higher unemployment rate.

Then ask yourself if military service on your resume is going to be a plus or a minus.

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