Labor Day is not just meant for rejoicing and relaxing. This symbolic day is for honoring and celebrating the spirit of hard work — and no one knows what it means to put in a hard day’s work like a veteran. Military personnel are often trained in multiple skills and have experience in varied tasks and responsibilities that translate to their participation in the workforce. Hardworking, independent and reliable, veterans not only make good employees, but they also make great entrepreneurs.
Why Veterans Make Good Employees
Hiring veterans is actually one of the best moves an employer can make, according to a report from the Center for a New American Security. More than the “right thing to do,” hiring veterans results in the hiring of dedicated employees who have leadership skills, purpose, direction and motivation. Additionally, the company executives surveyed said they were impressed with the veterans’ trustworthiness, dependability, integrity and maturity.
Yet there is a high unemployment rate among new veterans. It turns out many employers don’t know where to look for veteran job-seekers or how to translate their military résumé into skills their company can use.
Hiring Our Heroes, a nationwide initiative to help veterans, transitioning service members and military spouses find meaningful employment opportunities, works to help new veterans explain the skills they acquired in the military. Those strengths include:
- Working well in a team: Teamwork is considered an essential part of daily life and is the foundation on which safe military operations are built.
- Having a sense of duty: Responsibility for job performance and accountability for completing missions are something to take pride in.
- Possessing a strong work ethic: In the military, the mission always comes first.
- Being able to problem-solve quickly and creatively: The ability to follow through on assignments, even under difficult or stressful circumstances, is critical in the military.
- Possessing a variety of cross-functional skills: From extensive training on computer programs and systems to interacting with various people with different skills to accomplish a task to coordinating and troubleshooting problems in novel and known conditions, the military cultivates leaders who excel.
Ultimately, hiring heroes is better for employers’ and companies’ bottom lines.
Why Veterans Make Good Entrepreneurs
Many veterans find that the best job for vets is CEO of their own company. More than 3 million veterans have started their own small businesses after their military service, according to the National Veteran-owned Businesses Association (NaVOBA). These men and women are uniquely qualified to become entrepreneurs, or “vetrepreneurs,” as NaVOBA calls them.
Veterans make good entrepreneurs for many of the same reason that they make good employees. The military teaches its leaders how to capitalize on the rewards of taking a calculated risk, a highly valuable skill for an entrepreneur. Additionally, veterans operate well under pressure and are able to adapt to changing situations. Small business owners must also be able to prioritize initiatives and accomplish a lot with limited resources, skills many veterans learned through their military experience.
Veterans don’t just run small businesses, either. Nike co-founder Phil Knight, GoDaddy founder Bob Parsons and FedEx CEO Frederick Smith are all veterans.
For veterans who want to start a business, there are many resources that can help make a new business a success, such as Capitol Post, a nonprofit organization that offers programming, a supportive network and co-working space for veterans trying to find their stride in business after serving in the military.