By Dr. Maria G. Hernandez
Latina Cubicle Confidential™
Are you returning home from your tour of duty? Between 2011 and 2016, the US Veterans Administration estimates that roughly 1 million men and women in the armed services will return to civilian life as their tour of duty ends.
Currently there are 1.2 million Latino veterans. Latinas, however, have joined the armed services in record number comprising 7 percent of female veterans compared to 6 percent for Latino men.
If you are one of the many coming home, first and foremost — thank you for your service and sacrifice. Your courage and bravery are testament to the strength of Latinas everywhere. May you and your family always feel the gratitude of your community.
As you begin the transition back to civilian life, the key to your success is reaching out to get the support and assistance available from services like VetSuccess and the National Resource Directory which are designed to assist veterans secure a job.
Though you may be in a rush to find work and resume your life, make time to develop a career plan that puts your long term goals in clear view. Don’t make a fast decision and settle for “a job”. Use your veteran experience to network with others and select an employer that will truly value the experience you bring.
Some employers are taking clear steps to welcome you and build on your success. Here are a couple of things you can look for when you approach a potential employer during a job interview:
Companies with a strong commitment to hiring veterans are making themselves known through special outreach and initiatives. First they are educating recruiters how to translate the skills you learned during your tour of duty to the workplace.
For example, if your duties focused on providing logistical support for your unit, you may find that you would be an ideal candidate to support supply chain managers. Another important match for your skills may be to oversee a company’s supplier diversity programs. If you had any programming skills to manage a database, there may be work for you with a similar role in a company’s human resource department. Even the fundamental skill of working within a multinational team to achieve key results is not to be underestimated in today’s competitive global workforce.
Another step companies are taking to welcome veterans is to create Employee Resource Groups that are focused on supporting veterans working within the company. These are comprised of employees who are themselves veterans or those who want to support veterans in the workplace.
They may have informational sessions, offer support, or educate others about how those with military service experience bring new skills and new perspectives to the workplace.
These are just examples of what companies are doing to welcome you home. Make sure you research a potential employer’s commitment to you when you review a job opportunity and ask about this during your interview.
You deserve a job that reflects how valuable you are to the nation.
Tell me about your transition from combat to cubicle or the corner office at Latina Cubicle Confidential™ or join me live at the next LatinaVIDA.
Dr. Maria G. Hernandez has 20 years experience consulting in both the United States and Mexico to senior executives in Fortune 50 companies and facilitated change initiatives for elected officials and their staff. She has worked in academia, business, nonprofits, technology startups, and public agencies. For more information, visit Latina Cubicle Confidential™ on Facebook or on Twitter @SavvyLatinaInfo.