(Updated 11/11/2015 to reflect recent employment statistics.) According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for all veterans fell to 4.2 percent in August, a drop from 4.7 percent a month earlier and from 5.6 percent a year ago. The monthly mark hasn’t been that low since May 2008. The figure translates into about 450,000 veterans nationwide looking for work. That estimate was more than 1 million about four years ago and near 700,000 in early 2014.


Here’s some good news to celebrate this Veterans Day: Employers are recognizing the value of hiring veterans. While more than 400,000 veterans nationwide are looking for work, the rate of unemployment among veterans is below that of the overall population.

A study by Payscale indicates the military prepares its men and women well for business in our technological age. The study shows that veterans are most often hired for technology jobs, which isn’t surprising since today’s military depends heavily on technology. The study also noted that businesses may be unaware that the military instills character and personality traits that are valuable to small businesses. Here are just five (of many) traits that make it a smart decision for small businesses to hire veterans.

 1. Leadership

George Washington at Trenton

(Image: via wikimedia commons)

Every veteran has had the experience of being both a leader and a follower, of taking the initiative and also of following the chain of command. That’s invaluable in a small business, where each employee plays several roles. Veterans also excel at establishing and meeting objectives—another important trait in owners, managers and employees of small businesses.

 2. Control under pressure

grace under pressure

(Photo: on Flickr via Marines)

Running a small business requires functioning well under pressure. That’s a skill most people have to learn, and most veterans have the equivalent of PhDs when it comes to performing under stress. They’re prepared to react well to the unexpected and to make good decisions in high-pressure, uncertain situations.

3. Teamwork and dedication

The Battle Of Takur Ghar

(Image: on Flickr via The National Guard)

From their first day in boot camp, veterans learn the value of teamwork for solving problems and meeting goals. Though no longer on active duty, veterans will remain solid team players by following respectfully and leading by example.

4. Integrity

Integrity

(Photo: via wikimedia commons)

Teamwork and trust are possible only with integrity—service members have to be sure they can depend on one another to carry out their assignments. Doing the right thing is just as important in business as it is in battle. Integrity is the foundation of powerful relationships with clients, employees and your community.

 5. Goal-oriented

Naval Academy graduation

(Photo: via wikimedia commons)

Thanks to the chain of command, military men and women have been trained to set and follow goals. They know what happens to individuals who set and meet their goals—they’re promoted. As a result, veterans understand better then most that if you want to strive for upward promotion and success you need to set goals.

(Also contributing to this post were David Hollerith and Bill Hudgins.)

(Featured Photo: via wikimedia commons)

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Resources That Help Small Businesses Find and Hire Veterans

Military veterans are great workers to hire when your business has an opening. Here are groups that will help you find candidates.

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Resources for a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB)

If your company is a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB), it may be eligible for set-asides in federal contracts.

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State Government Agencies That Encourage Business Ownership by Military Veterans

State government agencies that help veterans access benefits, run programs related to the employment of veterans, and encourage business ownership by military veterans.

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8 SBA Resources to Help Veterans Start and Run Businesses | 2013

We encourage small businesses to hire veterans. And for veterans who want to create jobs, we encourage them to look into these SBA programs that assist vets who want to start or already have created businesses.