Huffpost Impact
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Kevin O'Brien Headshot

A Bachelors Degree Or Battle Tested Experience?

Posted: Updated:

Every month, we at Milicruit connect thousands of employers with men and women who have served in our armed forces through our virtual career fairs: http://www.veteranscareerfair.com . Many of these employers represent some of the biggest and most well respected brands in the world, and they all need to be applauded for stepping up and recognizing the skills and value veterans and military spouses bring to the workforce.

One challenge we continue to see however is just how many well qualified, highly skilled, trained, and experienced veterans get overlooked simply because they don't have a sheet of paper stating they are qualified. I am all for a college education, and as a father of two, I know we will do everything in our power to ensure both attend college after graduating high school, but I do not agree that college is for everyone.

Let's say you are hiring for a logistics manager position, and you are faced with the following 2 resumes;

27 year old graduate of Penn State, 3 years experience, 1 year managers experience working in supply chain for a mid size company

24 year old veteran of the army who managed logistics and supply chain in Afghanistan, and served a tour in Iraq. Five years on the job training, manages a team of 8, and responsible for millions of dollars worth of equipment and supplies. Direct responsibility for vehicle parts needed for soldiers in the field.

I am not saying the non veteran with the degree would not be a fit for the position, but I am saying that the veteran is probably equally if not more qualified, but is just lacking that piece of paper. In the current environment we are currently in, it is no secret that employers can be pickier than ever, and often times they will not waiver from the core requirements of the job description, but when it comes to our nation's finest, don't let the degree be the only thing holding them or you back from adding great talent to your organization.

Many of these brave men and women will be coming home and taking advantage of the Post 9/11 GI Bill so it is more than likely that they will soon also have the degree.

Many of the employers we work with have taken a hard look at the job descriptions for many of their open spots, and it is great to see that while they would like the veterans to come with a degree in hand, they are not disqualifying them right away because they do not. I encourage all employers who are looking to add more veterans to their workforce to interview and get to know the veteran before counting them out because they lack a degree. You will quickly realize that there is a wealth of talent and skills out there, and in most cases, they are probably the best fit for your job.

There is a reason that the unemployment rate for veterans is lower than the national average, currently 6.9% and it is not because employers feel obligated to hire veterans because they have served the nation. Veterans are loyal, dedicated, motivated, and are more than reliable, and they know what it means to be part of something much bigger than themselves. Isn't that what we all look for when we hire anyone?