DID YOU KNOW: Military Talent Programs
I had the privilege of attending a conference recently where I had the opportunity to share with others the work I am doing to help support the meaningful employment of the military community. In my elevator speech, I stated that “we help companies build military talent programs.” About 10x in of giving the same speech and receiving the same “what is a military talent program” response, I realized two things 1) I need to revamp my speech and 2) that many members of the military community do not know that companies have programs dedicated to finding military talent.
Military Talent Programs in a nutshell
In this post (and in life) I reference Military Talent Programs. Note that they may also be called Veterans Initiatives, Military Recruitment Programs, Military Hiring Programs or a plethora of other names depending on the company/organization. What is important to know is that these programs generally fall under company Diversity and Inclusion programs which work to bring diverse talent into an organization. Those who manage or work in these programs may or may not be military affiliated (and I encourage all members of the military community to embrace patriots because they help bridge the gap between civilians and the military) and they may have titles that include the terms program manager, recruiter, or talent acquisition. These programs, and the people who work in them, are focused on bringing military talent into their organization. This includes transitioning and veteran military members, members of the Guard and Reserve, and military spouses.
Why would a company focus time, personnel, and resources on hiring military talent?
I cannot tell you how many times I have had a member of the military community tell me that they believe that companies only hire veterans out of charity or because of the tax write offs. I am here to tell you that while that may be the case for a negligible number of companies, that the majority of companies do it because they recognize that hiring members of the military community makes business sense and supports the company’s bottom line.
How can I determine if a company has a military talent program?
Go to your preferred search engine and conduct what is referred to as a Boolean Search (searching using multiple keywords and the words “AND,” “NOT,” “OR”) and search for [company AND military employment]. Let me show you some examples:
This type of search can also be conducted in the search box on LinkedIn to find and connect with the individuals who work within a company’s military talent program. Again, let me demonstrate:
As you can see, one of the perks of having a LinkedIn account is that you have your very own company contact rolodex. If you need additional encouragement to open a LinkedIn profile, please read my post “Love, Hate, and LinkedIn” where I share my own LinkedIn journey, why else you need it, and how to get started.
I can dedicate an entire article on what to do next, but for now, I will say that I encourage you to explore company websites and their career opportunities. Review the available employment opportunities at organizations that are the best fit for your experience, education, and interests. Look at start-ups, small to mid-sized companies, as well as large, well-known companies. Determine 5-10 companies of the greatest interest to you so that you can research them further to get started.
After you conduct research, use LinkedIn to conduct a search for military affiliated individuals, recruiters, and people who work in the role you want at each of those 5-10 companies and reach out to them via a personalized LinkedIn connection request. Build relationships with them and then request informational interviews. This should be a set time (for example 15-20 minutes) where you speak to them about questions you have regarding the organization, the hiring process, the person’s experience, the role, etc. This is not the time to ask them if they can help get you a job, this is only a time to gather information. Look at this as an opportunity to gain valuable intel and possibly a champion.
Companies face as many challenges connecting with the military community as the military community faces trying to connect with companies. I wrote this because I identified an opportunity to help educate the military community and work to bridge the gap. With that said, I have created a presentation that dives deeper into this topic. Anyone with an interest in attending a free webinar, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will determine what the level of interest is and go from there to schedule a date.