Education and Transition

Microsoft wants to help more veterans get tech jobs

The coronavirus has changed the way many businesses operate, compelling some to allow much of their workforce to remain home in order to slow the spread of the disease.

The largest software company in the world launched a toolkit on Veterans Day with resources and tips for veterans looking to transition into civilian tech careers during the pandemic.

Microsoft’s Transition Toolkit is meant to give veterans who may not know where to start in a potential tech career the first steps. It was developed by the software giant’s Military Affairs division, headed by Chris Cortez as its vice president.

“For years, Microsoft Military Affairs has been committed to helping veterans learn to apply their military experience to meaningful technology careers,” said Cortez in an emailed statement. “I’m very pleased to share our new Tech Transition Toolkit to help those who have served take their next steps toward building those careers. Even in such uncertain times as these, we believe in the power of perseverance and we know the value veterans bring to our industry is as important as ever.”

Cortez retired from the Marine Corps as a major general in 2004 after more than 33 years of service. Cortez led the Marine Corps Recruiting Command in Quantico, Virginia, recruiting more than 75,000 Marines before retiring. He also spent time as director for the Pacific Command, where he oversaw operations for 300,000 military personnel.

The software company claims when companies focus on veterans, that attention yields higher retention rates.

Microsoft credits its high retention rates of veteran employees to being not just veteran-friendly, but “veteran-ready,” by providing the unique resources veterans need to thrive in the civilian world, the company said.

“The expertise and strengths veterans gain through service often align with what private companies are commonly recruiting for: logistics, operations, finance, and human resources,” Cortez said. “There’s a close connection between military background and industry need.”

Microsoft’s toolkit provides tips on how to create a LinkedIn page that stands out to recruiters, which tech terms to learn and use in your resume and how to optimize your virtual workspace.

One of the most important tactics for securing any job involves networking. Microsoft suggests veterans sign up for a free year of LinkedIn Premium, which will help in growing their network and increase their job search prospects. To sign up, you have to first log in with your “Troop ID,” which can be obtained by creating a new account if you don’t already have one.

Once on LinkedIn, job seekers should join groups that pertain to the job their looking to secure. Reach out to people you’ve worked with in the past, Microsoft said, and don’t be afraid to make new connections. Find out how you can help others before asking them if they can get you a job.

Microsoft has created solutions for veterans and their families before, with support for transitioning service members and veterans, military spouses and military children.

Each year, some 200,000 active duty service members transition out of the military, according to a 2018 report from the Congressional Research Service.

“Those shifting out of military service are often overwhelmed when seeking civilian employment,” Cortez said. “It’s not always clear to them that their skills and experiences align with what the private sector seeks. Especially in tech, veterans are uniquely qualified for some of the most in-demand and under filled roles—and often have the security clearances companies need and want.”

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