For many of the 8.3 million military veterans in the civilian workforce, transitioning into a career can be a difficult process. Even after securing a civilian job, veterans and their spouses often find themselves in roles that leave them underemployed, meaning their skills are not fully utilized, making it difficult to make ends meet.
“When you’re a veteran or military spouse, it can be challenging to know where to start your job search and how to get employers to understand how your job skills, experience and character transfer to a new position,” said Troy Broussard, senior adviser to AARP’s Veterans and Military Families Initiative.
Veteran employment by state 2020
Highest percent of unemployed veterans
- Michigan: 11.3 percent
- Arizona: 9.6 percent
- Nevada: 9.4 percent
- Ohio: 9.3 percent
- California: 9 percent
Lowest percent of unemployed veterans
- Nebraska: 2.7 percent
- Colorado: 3.5 percent
- Georgia: 3.8 percent
- Alaska: 4 percent
- Arkansas: 4 percent
- Virginia: 4 percent
— Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Despite the drop in veteran unemployment to 3.2 percent in December 2021, two-thirds of all veteran and active-duty spouses employed in the civilian sector say they are underemployed in some way, according to data from the Blue Star Families’ annual Military Lifestyle Survey.
To help alleviate unemployment and underemployment in the veteran community, AARP created the Veteran and Military Spouses Job Center.
“This free, one-stop resource will help veterans and military spouses learn how to effectively leverage their military skills and experience to give them an edge in today’s competitive job market and avoid underemployment,” said Broussard.
The center includes a suite of free resources to help find jobs, explore new career fields, get advice, take a job training course and more. Among the resources offered are:
AARP Job Board: Veterans can search for employers who value military experience and how it applies to their industry. Use the “Veterans Wanted” filter to search for employers who are actively seeking applicants with a military background.
AARP Resume Advisor: Get a free expert review of how well your résumé communicates your skills, and obtain personalized recommendations on how to make your résumé stand out. Discounted writing packages are also available to rewrite your résumé, cover letter or LinkedIn profile.
Be Your Own Boss: Many veterans have gone on to become successful entrepreneurs in civilian life. For those interested in starting a business or a side gig, AARP has compiled resources to help aspiring entrepreneurs take that step.
Veteran Career Advantage Course: This free online class offered through MindEdge Learning includes short videos of veterans sharing their firsthand experiences on topics such as résumés, networking, personal branding and the common challenges veterans face.
Veterans and Military Spouses Job Search Toolkit: Learn how to translate military service, skills and experience to the civilian workforce and jump-start a new career path.
Aaron Kassraie writes about issues important to military veterans and their families for AARP. He also serves as a general assignment reporter. Kassraie previously covered U.S. foreign policy as a correspondent for the Kuwait News Agency’s Washington bureau and worked in news gathering for USA Today and Al Jazeera English.