Many military veterans have lived and worked abroad during their military careers, and may be more receptive to your company’s international assignments than the average candidate. The military has assignments in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, South America, Australia, and Africa.
All service members who serve overseas are provided training on the local culture. A number of service members, by virtue of the time they spent overseas or as a result of the job requirements they had while stationed abroad, speak a second (or third) language. Most of the military services have even set up programs whereby their members can take free language training through Rosetta Stone. Online access to all 30 Rosetta Stone language training courses is free to all Army Active, Guard, and Reserve soldiers as well as Army civilian employees and contracted Reserve Office Training Corps (ROTC) and United States Military Academy (USMA) cadets. The Air Force has contracted for a similar program. The Marine Corps offers the Rosetta Stone courses for free, but for a select number of languages.
So why should recruiters and hiring managers care? Employers who are knowledgeable about hiring military know that service members begin exploring civilian career options as far as a year in advance of separation. So, if hiring for international positions is routine for your company, you should begin reaching out and building relationships with separating veterans as early as possible. You can describe the types of international positions and assignments you have and if those positions require a level of proficiency in a language, you can remind the service member that he or she can increase their level of hiring attractiveness by taking advantage of the free language training the military offers. Then, when the veteran is 1-2 months away from their separation date, they can apply for your position and already have the language proficiency requirement met. And that doesn’t cost the employer anything other than the time to build the relationship.
Some military officers have a job specialty called Foreign Area Officer which requires them to become regional experts on a geographic area and on the culture of the people who live there. Their military jobs require them to be able to communicate and interact with foreign militaries and organizations in their assigned regions. The Foreign Area Officer Association is made up of over 750+ current and formers military FAO’s from all services. The association allows employers to post positions and to review member resumes for free.
Posted by Lisa Rosser, Author of and Speaker/Workshop Leader on The Value Of a Veteran(TM): The Guide for Human Resource Professionals to Regarding, Recruiting, and Retaining Military Veterans