Transitioning From a Military to Civilian Career? 8 Tips From an Accomplished Veteran

As any veteran knows, making the transition from armed forces to the private sector often poses a myriad of individual challenges. However, remaining informed, and learning from other veterans who have successfully made the shift, will certainly improve a service-person’s passage into civilian life.


John C. Buckley, II, retired Colonel of the U.S. Army, is a veteran, career coach/mentor, author, and an informed professional on the subject of military-to-civilian career transitions. Most recently, he has worked collaboratively to create and implement “military recruiting and retention programs”.

Buckley has stated that he was initially ill-equipped for the transitional challenges that lay before him. “It wasn’t until I put structure to my problem and began using military problem-solving tools that my performance and results improved,” says Buckley. He subsequently incorporated “military problem-solving tools” which improved his post-military performance as well as his ultimate results. Becoming familiar with the teachings of the historical military strategist/philosopher, Sun Tzu, was integral in his transitional approach. Buckley states, “I realized to achieve success in my transition ‘battle’ I needed to properly prepare for combat. So, I studied the ‘enemy’ (the recruiter), their methods of war (the application and selection process), and myself (by defending my own career interests)”. Buckley affirms that it was only then that he “stood victorious”, overcoming the transitional obstacles and challenges that lay before him.

“Start early, study and analyze the new complex operating environment – the private sector – before launching résumés “down range”, says Buckley. Since learning from his own past oversights, Buckley shares some useful advice to assist others with their transition from military service member to civilian employee.

1. Concentrate on your goal of molding a new career. Remember that this process is considerably more complicated than a basic job hunt. Therefore, identifying your objectives the first time around may save you from having to repeat another employment search the following year.

Related:  Choosing the Right Post-Military Career

2. Assertively pursue “informational interviews” with experts in your desired career or industry. Buckley reminds job seeking veterans, “It’s okay to listen to recently transitioned veterans, but you really need to interview someone who’s been working in your desired career field [for] their entire professional life”. It is only then that you can delve into the more obscure, yet equally valuable, details of your prospective industry.

Related:  Can You Really Be an Expert at Your Job?

3. Construct a career-focused network based on your field of interest. The next step is to leverage those connections with the purpose of gaining information on job opportunities, professional organizations and groups, types of educational and/or certification programs to pursue, as well as the cultural setting of prospective employers.

Related:  Networking Your Way Toward a New Career

4. Create a proactive and professional LinkedIn profile. While LinkedIn is the go-to for professional recruiting and networking, remember to maintain professionalism in all aspects of your online activity. Yet, when it comes to strictly professional networking sites such as LinkedIn, Buckley asserts, “Remove your official military photo, and remove all military jargon and references”. He continues, “Treat others on these networks professionally”. The etiquette for communicating on LinkedIn vastly differs from other social media sites such as Facebook, for instance. “To connect with another professional, use a connection in your network to ‘introduce’ you to the professional, or draft a detailed message explaining why you want to join the professional’s network”, says Buckley.

Related:  Important Reminders for Job Seeking on LinkedIn

5. Tailor résumés to your “audience”. While it may be easier to prepare, a one-size-fits-all résumé is not going to be ultimately effective in helping you land an interview for the job you really want. To create a résumé that will actually get you in the door, be sure to make use of the specifics listed in the job description, and then combine this information with your own transferrable skills. If necessary, don’t hesitate to seek professional résumé-writing assistance.

Related:  Military to Private: Transferrable Skills

6. Have an interview? Prepare, prepare, prepare. Buckley reminds transitioners that there are, in fact, “preconceived ideas about veterans”. While this is not a necessarily a negative aspect, it is still imperative to show that you are capable of successfully mixing with the culture of a private sector company. Therefore, “Rehearse your actions on the objective,” says Buckley. He also adds, “Practice how to answer situation-based interview questions,”, and finally “Learn how to speak a complete sentence without using one single military term, title or acronym”. It’s also important to remain relaxed and personable in a conversational sense, making sure your answers are complete.

Related:  The Best Way to Practice for Your Next Job Interview

7. Be ready to negotiate prior to an offer. When presenting a candidate with a job offer, most companies anticipate a certain amount of negotiation on the part of their recruit. However, it’s best to have these negotiation tools in your arsenal prior to receiving an offer to avoid potential vacillating when the time comes. Buckley recommends that veteran job hopefuls avoid an outward fixation on salary, since “[compensation] packages may provide programs that will strengthen the salary offered and may also be negotiated – perhaps even more easily. The key is to remain knowledgeable, flexible, reasonable, and enthusiastic, while steering clear of ultimatums.


Related:  Guidelines for Evaluating a Job Offer

8. “Never leave a fallen comrade.” This “Warrior Ethos military philosophy is one that should always remain part of your value system. Buckley stresses the importance of helping fellow veterans overcome their own transitional challenges via the experience and knowledge gained your own conversion from service member to civilian employee.


Fred Coon, CEO

Stewart Cooper & Coon specializes in career transition services for senior-level military decisions makers and government agency employees by assisting candidates in locating companies who welcome both their leadership and organizational talents.  

Direct Veteran Advice for a Successful Military Transition

Post-military personnel can take comfort in the fact that today, more than ever before, there is an abundance of resources for those in the transitory period toward civilian employment. Considering the number of challenges that members of the armed service can typically face during their return into the private sector, this is quite a pleasing acknowledgment.

Soldiers with military camouflage uniform in army formation

Case in Point

Many of those who wish to pursue a strong professional career in the private sector will have utilized their GI Bill towards a degree, generally congruent with their specialization. Take Brian Poole for an example: Brian served in Afghanistan and Iraq, specializing in “the avoidance and detection of large-scale chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear weaponry threats.” After 21 years of service, Brian’s next step was to reflectively analyze the sum total of his experience and apply his training, developed skills, and military education toward marketable assets in the private sector. In Brian’s case, he was quickly able to draw three highly valuable abilities to the CV-foreground:

  • Logistics
  • Operations Management
  • Human Resources

Had Brian so desired, he could easily have taken a different path toward applying his more technical knowledge of engineering and chemistry, looking for work in those particular sectors. As the story goes, however, he used the above course to secure an excellent position with Wells Fargo in helping other veterans.

Tips & Takeaways

The Army Ten-Miler is an annual benefit race event produced by the MDW, with all 30+ years of its proceeds dedicated toward Soldier MWR programs. The Army Ten-Miler also acts as a box stand for soldiers to connect and to share experience and advice. Among this wealth of advice, shine some of the following guidelines, specifically applicable to those preparing for, or in the process of, transitioning from military to private life.

  1. One of the most vital tips is one of the most obvious: Make use of the resources available to you. Primarily, we’re talking about the GI Bill. This expansive opportunity allows you to pursue traditional academic credentials as well as vocational pursuits, flight school, and much more.
  2. It can be hard not to get tunnel vision after years of service and the behavioral difference between military and civilian life can get complicated. Take the emphasis you put on your rank, and what you did, and focus it in on your goals and professional development.
  3. Utilize your network. This primarily includes your family (for support), and your military experience (putting you in sync with current opportunities, such as finding the right Transitory Advisor, which can be a truly invaluable asset for personalized attention to your efforts).

Post-military personnel can take comfort in the fact that today, more than ever before, there are an abundance of resources for those in the transitory period toward civilian employment.


In Closing

To conclude, always remember that throughout every professional transition, you’re not operating alone. Even if a certain measure of red tape exists through which you must toil, doing so will more than compensate for the effort with benefits rendered. Be methodical and precise, and you will be able to apply the high-end skills you learned throughout your service to your direct advantage in the private sector world of corporate enterprise.


Fred Coon, CEO

Stewart Cooper & Coon specializes in career transition services for senior-level military decisions makers and government agency employees by assisting candidates in locating companies who welcome both their leadership and organizational talents.  


Top Eight Business Careers for Military Veterans

If you are a military veteran, you may find that many of your skills are also transferrable to private sector office jobs.  According to lead analyst, Katie Bardaro, “People in the military attain valuable skills in information technology and leadership. They take that knowledge to the private sector”. She added that veterans have an advantage in the sense that the jobs which require these particular skills usually pay very well.

Recently, reported on a PayScale survey based upon information from responding veterans.  A list was comprised of eight jobs; all of which paid more than $70,000 annually.  (All of the jobs require a bachelor’s degree.)

Jobs graphic with target

1.  Software Developer

$70,800: Annual Median Salary

Incorporating the problem solving skills necessary for military personnel with an aptitude for mathematical concepts and computer programming is a great head start toward developing a career in software development.

2.  Electrical Engineer

$72,800: Annual Median Salary

A career as an electrical engineer is a natural choice for military veterans who dealt in creating electrical test standards, researching/perfecting navigation systems, and developing weapons. Besides engineering firms, veterans can locate work at public utilities and government agencies.

3.  Intelligence Analyst

$73,100: Annual Median Salary

This professional allows veterans to continue serving their country, even after retiring from the military. Frequently an FBI position, intelligence analysts work toward protecting U.S. national security by analyzing intelligence that’s been gathered through field offices and identifying realistic threats.

4.  Business Development Manager

$77,100: Annual Median Salary

Proper leadership is a crucial part of being a valuable member of the military. Commanding respect of fellow service people while planning for missions is a skill that easily lends itself to many careers in the private sector. Business development is certainly one of these careers, as managers in this field must composite formulas and strategies to cultivate a business, while also motivating others.

5.  IT Project Manager

$81,000: Annual Median Salary

When assorted portions of a technology project must be accomplished accurately and on time, it is the job of the IT project manager to ensure that everything goes smoothly. Project managers assure that team members are working according to plan. Veterans who were responsible for a unit or worked with multifaceted technology, in the field or on base, would possess the accuracy, leadership and organizational skills necessary for a successful career as an IT Project Manager.

6.  Aviation/Aerospace Program Manager

$84,300: Annual Median Salary

Veterans with aviation experience would complement this field.  Excellent organizational skills, and the ability to direct projects from beginning to end via research, design, testing, and integration are all part of a career in aviation/aerospace program management.

7.  IT Program Manager

$96,300: Annual Median Salary

Military troops are often required by their commanding officers to know the job of the person higher than them. Therefore, if a member is injured during battle, another can swiftly step in and make necessary decisions. In the private sector, the IT program manager is depended upon to learn and understand the job duties of all his or her team members — from start to finish — to assure that the project is successfully completed on time.

8.  Management Consultant

$98,100: Annual Median Salary

Military members are known for their efficiency; as they learn to work under circumstances where time management is a must, and jobs and missions must be successfully completed. Likewise, management consultants must recognize a client’s inefficiencies, and devise a resolution strategy.

Jobs puzzle concept

Related: Choosing the Right Post-Military Career

Note: All listed salaries provided are the average annual for full-time employees possessing between five and eight years of job experience in the field. Figures include commissions, bonuses, and/or profit sharing, according to the PayScale Database. Survey respondents are five-plus year veterans who stated that they were active service members in the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, or Navy.


Fred Coon, CEO

Stewart Cooper & Coon specializes in career transition services for senior-level military decisions makers and government agency employees by assisting candidates in locating companies who welcome both their leadership and organizational talents.  


Financial Advice for Transitioning Military Personnel

If you are in the process of transitioning from the military into the private sector, chances are you’ve been hard at work seeking civilian employment.  However, there are other factors to consider in addition to preparing your resume and confirming job interviews.  Whether you are still in the planning stages of your transition, currently experiencing a gap between your service time and employment, or starting out with a lower salary than anticipated, it’s crucial that transitioning service members make the necessary arrangements to protect their financial security during this somewhat tenuous time.


Here, we review some important aspects to consider both before and during your transition:

  1. Start a Transition Nest-Egg – It’s never too soon to begin saving for your post-military life.  Plan to save enough to carry your basic living expenses for approximately one year, separate from your TSP funds.  While you may be lucky enough to transition straight into a civilian job, it’s still important to have a financial cushion to sustain you through any possible financial breaks.
  2. Pay Down Your Debt – A percentage of your income should be dedicated to paying off any remaining debt you have incurred.  As your transition date grows closer, increasing your debt payments will help reduce some of your financial post-military strain.  Of course, the balances with the highest interest rates should take first priority.
  3. Get Insured, Protect Your Loved Ones – The topic of life insurance is frequently neglected due to the sensitivity of the subject matter, but it is still an important part of your transition plan.  Transitioning military personnel are eligible for Veterans’ Group Life Insurance upon retirement.  To avoid medical underwriting, be sure to apply within 120 days of your departure.  However, if you wish to save costs, are generally in good health and a non-smoker, you may want to consider a commercial life insurance policy.  Remember to sign up at least six months prior to your retirement to ensure the best coverage for your family at the most affordable cost.
  4. Make Proper Use of Your TSP – Your Thrift Savings Plan is an important military benefit, but it must be handled responsibly.  Your choices are generally narrowed down into three basic options. 1) Leave your funds intact in your TSP account.  2) Roll your TSP funds into a conventional Individual Retirement Account.  3) Roll your funds over into your employer’s 401K plan, if offered.  Whatever your preference, your Thrift Savings Plan provides you with a tax-advantaged financial safety net.  However, think twice before cashing in, especially if you are 59 ½ or younger, as the income tax and withdrawal penalties would significantly reduce your profit.
  5. Watch Your Taxes – When it comes to post-military transitions, relocation often plays a major role.  Therefore, recent veterans must remember that different states often have different income tax laws.  Consider these variations when searching for jobs.  One that offers a lower salary in a state with fewer income tax deductions may actually pay off better than a slightly higher-paying position in a state with more exorbitant income taxes.  Researching these factors along with general cost of living details is a must during your transition.
  6. Consider Health Insurance Options – While you may have access to TRICARE as a military retiree, the service isn’t free, and you may decide to enroll in your employer’s benefit plan.  Of course, employer provided health insurance plans are never created equal as far as what they offer and the costs involved. Therefore, be sure to carefully compare your employer’s benefits against your TRICARE policy before making any final decisions. If you do choose an employer plan, remember to take these extra costs into account when negotiating your salary.




The military-to-civilian transition phase can offer you the opportunity to truly take stock of your ultimate life goals, both personal and professional.  Creating a solid, realistic financial strategy will allow you to accurately recognize your future expenditures and budgeting needs; and help you make the most of your opportunities.

Fred Coon, CEO


Stewart Cooper & Coon specializes in career transition services for senior-level military decisions makers and government agency employees by assisting candidates in locating companies who welcome both their leadership and organizational talents.  


Choosing the Right Post-Military Career

If you are a veteran transitioning into civilian employment, you may find that you are faced with many questions.  After all, such a change is often difficult and complex. You may wonder what type of role you should pursue; what field or industry you’re best suited for; and where you can make the best salary.  There is also the apprehension that you may make the wrong choice, and end up back at square one.

Post Military Jobs - Flag and camouflauge


Think first.

Before you make any final decisions, your first course of action is to identify your strengths and weaknesses.  Furthermore, remind yourself why you are leaving the military.  This may have a large effect on where you are headed.  For instance, a veteran who has simply retired from the armed forces will have different employment needs than a soldier with a hardship discharge.  In addition to helping you recognize your path, you will also be practicing for answers to common interview questions down the road.

Remain open-minded.

The biggest mistake a veteran (or any job seeker) can make is to overly limit your options.  For former military personnel who are seeking a corporate job, holding out for the Fortune 500 is not necessarily a good idea.  Don’t discard job opportunities at smaller, private companies, as they often provide a great opportunity for growth. Just remember to do your research.

Review your choices.

While you may already have a distinct view of the type of post-military career you plan to pursue, there is also a strong possibility you are confused and overwhelmed.  This may be especially true for career military personnel who have likely spent limited time in the civilian job market.  If this sounds familiar, you may want to seek out a formal career assessment to assist in isolating your strongest and most marketable skills, attributes, interests, and talents. There are also books available, directed toward former military personnel seeking this particular knowledge.

Another aspect not to be overlooked is the power of networking.  Keep your eye out for professionals working in your field of interest. Utilize professional networking sites such as LinkedIn, join groups, and remember to put the word out within your own social circles.  This is not the time to be reticent, especially if you want to benefit from the resources that surround you.  If fact, you will likely find that many would be happy to offer you their knowledge.

If you are still having difficulty deciding on a clear employment path, and you find that time is on your side, consider the benefits of continuing education.  Earning a degree in a brand new field will not only give you the knowledge to reach your goals, but a valuable competitive edge.

Post Military Jobs - you're hired sign

Stay positive.

Remember that what you have achieved in your line of duty, alone, is more than many can ever hope to.  Don’t allow a few bumps in the road offset your enthusiasm toward reaching your post-military career goals, and enjoy this new and exciting stage in your life.

Fred Coon, CEO


Stewart Cooper & Coon specializes in career transition services for senior-level military decisions makers and government agency employees by assisting candidates in locating companies who welcome both their leadership and organizational talents.  


3 Elements to Avoid in Your Post-Military Résumé

Preparing and creating a quality résumé can take on an entirely different spin when you are a military veteran seeking employment in the private sector for the first time.  While many of the same rules do apply (see our recent article, “Outstanding Résumés and How to Write Them”), there are a few fundamentals that post-military personnel should keep in mind while résumé-writing.

Post-Military Resumes - green light keyboard

Here is an overview of certain pitfalls to avoid when preparing a résumé for the civilian workforce:

  1. Avoid replicating your billet description.  Although your assignments, duties, and positions held while in the military are to be commended, steer clear of copy/pasting the complete text of your billet description directly into your résumé.  Instead, draw upon specific skills and expertise you gained in the armed forces that may relate to the civilian job or field with which you’re seeking employment.
  1. Avoid overly jargonized text. Keep in mind that your résumé is going to be read by civilians, most likely HR reps and hiring managers who likely do not have any military experience whatsoever.  Explaining your military duties is fine, but exchanging the military jargon for “civilian descriptives” will ensure that your résumé gets the consideration it deserves.
  1. Avoid information relating to personal affiliations.  While indications of awards and group memberships are perfectly fine, do not include any information that reveals your race, ethnicity, religious background or political party affiliations, etc.  Unfortunately, precarious, “hot button” topics such as these can cause employers to sidestep your résumé altogether.

Post-Military Resumes - mail message graphic

With these tips in mind, what else should veterans keep in mind when creating a résumé? 

Well, proofreading is certainly a non-negotiable.  However, other aspects, such as keeping a clean and simple format, not exceeding two pages (even better if you can reduce it to one page), and making sure your contact information (including your email address) is clear and current, are among the basics which will help give your résumé a professional and competitive edge.

For sample résumés and downloadable templates, websites such as ResumeGenius can offer some great resources for all first time-time résumé writers.


Fred Coon, CEO


Stewart Cooper & Coon specializes in career transition services for senior-level military decisions makers and government agency employees by assisting candidates in locating companies who welcome both their leadership and organizational talents.  

7 Advantages to Hiring Military Veterans

Recently, employers in the private sector have begun to further recognize the magnitude of exceptional talents and strengths that military veterans have to offer the civilian workforce.  Established civilian business owners as well as veterans seeking to leverage their military background in the job market should review and consider the following attributes which make former military personnel so valuable to civilian employers.


1.  Consistent work ethic

Veterans are adept at realizing the significance of creating and maintaining a working schedule.  Staying motivated and adhering to a specific itinerary shows responsibility and maturity; and through their service, military veterans have mastered this skill.

2.  Strong capacity for leadership

Since most veterans have spent a great portion of their military careers in leadership positions, it’s only natural that former military personal will not only gravitate toward, but thrive in, civilian leadership employment roles.

3.  Take action with follow-through

Post-military personnel have a knack for seeing the big picture in a challenging situation and understand when action must be taken. Military culture conditions service members to remain on task until the goal (or mission) is accomplished, which makes them ideal civilian personnel, as well.

4.  Education-friendly

Since individuals who choose to serve their country are also eligible for government financial assistance toward college and higher education, employers can be confident that their new post-military associate is likely capable of earning a degree toward their choice of civilian vocation, if they have not already.

5.  Team loyalty

During a time when the employee turnover rate is at a noticeable high, military veterans are one group that employers can rely upon for a sense of trust and company loyalty.  Due to their background and training, veterans are known to shine as solid team players in the workplace.

6.  Self-discipline

The temptation to peruse social media or online shopping sites, for instance, can be overwhelming to even the best employees.  However, respecting and honoring the rules of their employer at all costs is a clear strong suit of post-military personal.  Their ability to work autonomously while still adhering to guidelines is always a welcome asset to employers.


7.  Further incentives

In addition to the attributes listed above, employers and military veterans should also remember that state and federal governments will offer certain tax credits and incentives to companies who hire post-military personal.  This not only benefits employers, but adds employability value to veterans seeking civilian employment.  More information on government tax incentives for employing veterans can be found here:

National Guard Center for America: American Jobs for American Heroes [PDF]

U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs: Veterans Opportunity to Work


Fred Coon, CEO


Stewart Cooper & Coon specializes in career transition services for senior-level military decisions makers and government agency employees by assisting candidates in locating companies who welcome both their leadership and organizational talents.  

Post-Military Resources: Understanding TAP (Transition Assistance Program)

What is TAP?

Military veterans ought to recognize the acronym, TAP as the “Transition Assistance Program” which is an indispensable resource for military Soldier and professional civilian shaking handssoldiers who are transitioning into the private sector.  TAP offers information, important document access, as well as specialized training for Service members — prior to separation from Active Duty — in preparation for various types of employment or education.

Incidentally, TAP was recently redesigned to offer an even more effective level of assistance to separating Service members and their spouses.  The change stemmed from an interagency collaboration which aimed to make military transitions easier by providing necessary information and resources on a more comprehensive, accessible level.

Transition GPS

Under the redesigned TAP, transitioning Service members have the opportunity to acquire skills and expertise which will allow them to meet the career standards established by the Department of Defense (DOD).  Known as Transition GPS (or “goals, plans, success”), the training program includes a wide range of methods and curricula directed by various partners (DOD, DOL, OPM, VA and the Military services).

The five-day mandatory workshop also includes added optional days of training, based upon the Service member’s selected post-military path. Transition GPS is divided into three sessions:

Two days are devoted to training under the core curriculum, which includes review of personal finances, VA benefits, mentorship, and family adjustments.

Three days will be dedicated to Department of Labor workshop, which focuses on resume writing, job interview drills, practice job searches, and social media/networking basics.

The final two days are optional, and spotlight three different post-military pathways:

  1. Educational:  Information on financial aid and classroom adaptations
  2. Working:  Guidance on technical career training and certifications
  3. Entrepreneurial:  Instruction on small business start-ups

VA Briefings

TAP attendees will learn a great deal about benefits and services for which they are eligible as U.S. Military veterans, through the VA Benefitssoldier - interview I and II briefings.  Both briefings are vastly interactive, and activity-based.

  • VA Benefits I:   Information on health care, education, compensation, home loans, life insurance, vocational rehabilitation, counseling, and employment benefits, is provided during this four-hour briefing.  This particular program helps attendees facilitate their own personal strategy in regards to VA benefits.  The class has a 50-personal capacity and is also open to spouses and family members, who are encouraged to attend.
  • VA Benefits II:  This supplemental session is a two-hour briefing which includes video presentations and provides a summary of the eBenefits portal as well as further useful facts regarding VA health care services and benefits; including process for disability compensation.

Military veterans who have recently entered the private employment sector have a clear advantage after utilizing a service such as TAP, regardless of their career path of choice.  Even those who decide to pursue further professional development services within the private sector can trust that any new expertise gained will only be enhanced by the fundamental and comprehensive knowledge attained through TAP.

Fred Coon, CEO


Stewart Cooper & Coon specializes in career transition services for senior-level military decisions makers and government agency employees by assisting candidates in locating companies who welcome both their leadership and organizational talents.  

Military Veterans: Employment Rights and Resources

The number of military veterans with service-related disabilities has risen in recent years by approximately 16 percent. Disabled veterans who are considering civilian employment should first be aware of their rights before entering the job market.

SCC Leaving MilitaryHere, we review two major federal laws and resources which offer needed protection to veterans with disabilities, whether they are seeking civilian jobs or are already employed.

“Uniformed Service Employment and Reemployment Rights” (USERRA)

Under USERRA, employers are prohibited from discriminating against job applicants or employees based upon military obligations or status.  Additionally, it shelters the rights to reemployment for individuals who either involuntarily or voluntarily leave their civilian jobs for military service.  This includes District of Columbia, U.S. Reserve forces, and National Guards.

Employers are required to make “reasonable efforts” to assist military veterans who are returning to civilian employment so they may become properly trained and qualified for the job duties they would have performed, if not for their military responsibilities; regardless of service-related disability.  If a veteran cannot perform the necessary job functions due to disability, the employer is required under USERRA to make reasonable efforts to help the veteran meet the criteria for a job of corresponding pay, status, and seniority, including duties for which the veteran is either qualified or potentially qualified to carry out.  This may consist of offering free training/retraining for the particular position.

USERA is applicable to employers and companies of all sizes, and covers all veterans, including those with or without service-related disabilities.  The “Department of Justice” (DOJ) and the “U.S. Department of Labor” (DOL) are responsible for enforcing USERA; more information can be gleaned at

“Americans with Disabilities Act” (ADA)

The ADA, which is implemented by the “U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission” (EEOC), disallows private, local, and state government employers with over 15 employees from showing discrimination against any individual based on disability.  Veterans who meet the description offered by the ADA are protected by the law, regardless of whether or not the disability is service-related.

According to Title I of the ADA, employers are prohibited from participating in unfair treatment of an employee or job applicant based upon a disability or history of a disability.  This incorporates all facets of employment, such training, hiring, job assignments, promotions, American Flag and tagstermination, and any other employment-related actions or privileges.   For instance, an employer must not decline to hire a veteran on the basis that he or she has PTSD, received a prior diagnosis of PTSD, or because the employer presumes PTSD is present.  According to the ADA, employers have access to a limited quantity of employee medical information; and any type of poor treatment (such as retaliation or harassment) is also prohibited under the act.

The ADA also provides eligible disabled employees and applicants with reasonable accommodation from the employer when applying for and/or performing their jobs, as well as the opportunity to reap equal privileges and advantages of employment. This encompasses access to the same areas of employer facilities that other employees are allowed, as well as employer-supported job training and social activities.  This particular law is enforced with the exception of excessive hardship to the employer.

To be considered under the ADA, an individual must fall under the description of an “individual with a disability”, which includes:

  • Having a physical or psychological impairment which greatly inhibits one or more significant life activity.
  • Possess a documented history the impairment, such as the condition prior to treatment.
  • Already receiving employer accommodations for existing impairment, regardless of significant limitations.

Employees are considered qualified if they are capable of meeting the employer’s job requirements, such training, education, skills, licenses, or employment services; and are capable of performing the job’s basic necessary duties, with or without the presence of reasonable accommodations.

For more information on the ADA, visit

For information on other veteran employment protection laws, please access the following resource links:

State Benefits at

Veterans Preference Act – U.S. Department of Labor

Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference

OPM Veterans Employment Initiative




Fred Coon, CEO


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Why Military Vets Make Great Business Leaders

A strong resolve and the ability to make hard decisions are not only common, but necessary traits of military soldiers.  Therefore, it is no corporate militarysurprise that as veterans, they maintain the ability to show strength and composure during difficult and stressful situations, especially in positions of leadership.

Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families conducted a recent study concluding that military veterans hold many of the characteristics that employers commonly seek in top job candidates.  The report, entitled “The Business Case for Hiring a Veteran”, indicated exactly which traits helped veterans succeed in the workplace.  Researchers discovered that among the most useful, were complex team-building skills, a keen commitment to organization, and “high levels of resiliency”.

Of course, there is considerably more at stake in a military environment as opposed to a civilian employment setting, however many of the same military philosophies can be applied to achieve successful results in the corporate private sector.

The military ethos enforces and emphasizes the importance of the team beyond the individual. This framework can be easily and productively applied to business, where a team is only considered as strong and effective as its weakest member, especially in newer organizations. Within the context of a team, results are more readily achieved by calling upon the combined specific strengths of each member, rather than relying on separate solo efforts to reach a challenging goal.  The ability to work as an integral part of a greater whole as well as organize and build an effective team structure is just part of what makes military veterans shine in civilian leadership positions.

SCC-team-player-team-leaderWhether on the front lines of combat or within a competitive business situation, it is the responsibility of the leader to strategize ways of surviving and securing an advantage over the enemy (or competitor).  A capable leader keeps a long-distance view of the situation, avoiding distraction and derailment, while also empowering the team.  Both military officers and business leaders also understand how to create a sense of accountability, not only within the team, but within themselves; for it is their example that sets precedence for the group.

Just as the military is mission-focused, so are successful corporations.  Although a business wager is not a life and death situation, both officers and executives must keep focused on the plan toward ultimate success (or victory).  Just as training, groundwork, and strategy are crucial during combat, the right skill-set mixed with proper planning and follow-through is also a must in the business world. Moreover, understanding how to respond when a situation does not go according to plan is an expertise that translates particularly well from the military into the corporate world, and it’s also another area where military vets show great strength in leadership.

It is within the discipline, tenacity, and directive abilities of military veterans where leaders of all kinds can realize and measure their own capabilities and standards of excellence in the business world and beyond.


Fred Coon, CEO


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