Veterans Representative Randy Wilde answers questions about how Idaho Department of Labor employees help veterans find jobs.
What does a Vet Rep do?
We have two types of Veterans Representatives: Local Veterans Employment Representatives and Disabled Veteran Outreach Program specialists. We currently have two local employment reps and 11 disabled veteran program specialists positioned throughout the state based on the veteran population within cities, counties and regions.
I am a Disabled Veteran Outreach Program Specialist. My responsibilities are to provide intensive services to all veterans with barriers to employment including service-related disabilities, homelessness, felonies, etc. We help in many ways including assessing the veterans’ capabilities and what they need to do to become employable. We also use other resources such as Veterans Affairs Medical Center, River of Life, El-Ada, Idaho Division of Veterans Services and the Veterans Center to help veterans and get them retrained if possible.
Once they are ready for the job market, the Disabled Veteran Outreach Program Specialist works with the Local Veterans Employment Representatives to help find employment. The local employment representative works with employers to find veterans with the skills and qualifications for the particular position they are trying to fill. Local Veterans Employment Representatives don’t work directly with veterans.
What are some typical questions you hear from veterans?
- “Why can’t I find a position in management?“
- “Will you look at my resume? ”
- “How do I get my GI Bill benefits? “
- ”Why can’t I get an interview?”
What general tips can you share with veterans?
• Be prepared to start at a lower position than where you would like. Most companies want to see what you can do before placing you in management, but your skills and experience in the military can be an asset to help you get a promotion.
• Look at state and federal government jobs where you can use your veterans’ preference points. Every veteran receives five preference points for active duty time, which are used to level the playing field. Having been out of the workforce due to military service, a veteran can be behind in employment experience. Any veteran who was injured on active duty and has a Service Connected Rating of 10% or more receives five additional points.
• Make sure you demilitarize your resume. You can go to Onetonline.org and learn how to show your experience in civilian terms.
• Network, network, network! Be involved in job clubs, join a networking group (such as on LinkedIn.com) or even use your friends and relatives to network. One of the best networking techniques is doing informational interviews, which gets you the kind of face-to-face access that applying online doesn’t.
Are there specific programs job-seeking veterans should sign up for?
• Participate in the workshops offered by our agency. Veterans can gain a better understanding of how civilian (private sector) employers look for new hires.
• Consider the Veterans’ Workforce Investment Program where you can be retrained or receive certifications or licensing that will help you become more employable.
How can a veteran set up a meeting with a veteran rep? Does it cost anything?
The easiest way to meet with a vet rep is to email or call and ask for an appointment. There is no cost.
Anything else veterans should know?
Veterans have priority of service in any of our offices. That does not mean you will necessarily see a Disabled Veteran Outreach Program specialist, but you will be taken care of by someone in the office. All staff in our local offices are trained to assist with core job search services i.e. resumes, interviewing, unemployment insurance claims, etc. You will be directed to the person who can help you the fastest.
Learn more about our veterans services on our website.