Markets In Your Community

Bridging the Gap: Getting More Veterans into Financial Services

November 11 is Veterans Day, when the United States honors the men and women who have served our nation in uniform around the world and through the ages. The financial industry has been a longtime supporter of the veterans’ community, and is committed to creating career opportunities for many of these outstanding professionals after they separate from service.

The benefits of hiring veterans are well understood—but sometimes military experience doesn’t always correspond neatly with the typical corporate background.

To compound the problem, veterans sometimes have difficulty translating their military qualifications and explaining their training in a way that makes sense for recruiters and interviewers. That breakdown in communication means that many private sector firms are missing out on chances to recruit from a talent pool of potential workers that is both deep and wide.

The strengths that military veterans bring to the table can’t be undersold. At a young age and under difficult conditions, they’ve developed leadership skills, a team orientation, a strong ethical background and a can-do, problem-solving attitude—attributes that would be an advantage in virtually any work environment.

However, these young professionals face unique challenges when it comes time to make the transition to the civilian workforce. Some may lack certain education or professional credentials compared to their civilian counterparts. Many may not have had time or opportunity to build a strong network at home while serving deployments overseas. Veterans may also be less accustomed to “selling themselves” in a civilian job interview, and they sometimes require a period of adjustment to navigate corporate culture after spending formative years in the more hierarchical and structured military environment.

While impressive strides have been made at recruiting military veterans and providing them with the transitioning and mentoring support they need, there’s always room for improvement. And that begins with improved communication and understanding—the linchpin of a successful veterans’ recruiting strategy.

Particularly as more veterans have exited the military after completing their service commitments in the post-9/11 campaigns, the industry has done a better job of seeking out and identifying candidates who might make a good fit in the financial services world. For those military veterans of any age who are thinking of making a career shift into the world of financial services, banking and capital markets, here are some helpful resources from SIFMA and others to get you started moving in the right direction.

Six steps for military veterans interested in financial industry careers

For military veterans seeking to make the transition into financial services—or current military personnel planning to separate from service soon—check out Project Invested’s guide to how to get your foot in the door through networking, taking advantage of veteran recruitment programs and other tactics.

Why military veterans should consider financial industry careers

A U.S. Army veteran who served in Afghanistan and a corporate recruiter who works with prospective employees with military backgrounds talk to Project Invested about what financial services firms are looking for when hiring. Includes helpful actionable tips for both the veteran seeking a career path and for hiring managers.

Honoring our veterans by opening doors to financial careers

This Project Invested article offers a look at various special programs aimed at boosting veteran hiring in the industry. Includes a focus on Veterans on Wall Street, a non-profit initiative with chapters in eight cities and led by military veterans tied to the financial services industry, that partners with leading financial firms to help current and former military personnel to transition to the private sector.

The good news is that the private sector has gotten much savvier about working with the military, government agencies and veterans advocacy organizations to improve recruiting and hiring of veterans. But there’s still a great deal of work to be done. The financial industry is committed to keeping up the progress and creating more career opportunities for former military personnel.