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Why Temp Works When You’re Breaking Into the Civilian Workforce

Are you a veteran or military spouse? Learn how the Adecco Military Alliance can help you.


Making the transition from military service to civilian life can be exciting, but also challenging for veterans. Often, one of the biggest hurdles for fresh veterans is searching for and interviewing for their first civilian job. One way to ease the transition is by partnering with recruiters who know how to effectively market their service, experience and military skills to employers.

The state of veterans in the workforce

The good news is that veteran unemployment is at its lowest point since May 2008, sitting at 4.2 percent. Many veterans, however, are still having trouble translating their military skills into civilian careers due to differing state rules on credentials along with confusing training programs. This situation especially affects highly skilled veterans who face a higher rate of underemployment.

The federal government had hoped to close this gap by implementing programs that put an emphasis on hiring veterans, which seemed to be working. In fact, 1 in 3 government workers is now a veteran, but the government's retention rate of veterans is much lower than that of non-veterans.

Many veterans have noted there's a cultural clash between being in the military and working for the government. They also felt their non-veteran colleagues sometimes harbor resentment toward them due to the preferential hiring efforts favoring veterans. Finally, some simply believe they have a better chance of upward mobility and increased earnings in the private sector.

Veterans' struggles while entering the workforce

Veterans' struggles while entering the workforce.

With hundreds of thousands of veterans expected to enter the civilian workforce each year, it's important to ensure there are ways for them to find good-fitting jobs. Some issues facing them will be:

  • Writing their resumes in a way that makes sense to civilian employers
  • Practicing interview skills
  • Earning civilian credentials equivalent to their military skill set
  • Adjusting to office life and workforce cultures

Temporary work is a great option for veterans

Working with a temporary staffing agency is often an effective first step for veterans transitioning into civilian work, whether they're:

  • Looking to get their foot in the door in a temporary-to-hire position
  • Working toward a certification for technical skills and need a temporary job to earn income during this time
  • Aiming to build new civilian skills
  • Trying different job types in different areas to determine which industry, role and location will be best for them

The demand for hard-working, dedicated employees is high, making veterans even more important in the talent pool. Veterans are hard-working, focused and great at working as part of a team. Temporary staffing firms know the unique value of veterans in the workforce. Not only will the best temporary agencies place veterans in good-fitting jobs, but they'll also offer:

  • Career counseling
  • Resume enhancement
  • Interview training
  • Online skills training

Adecco Military Alliance for Veterans and Spouses

Adecco Military Alliance for Veterans and Spouses.

The Adecco Military Alliance is a partnership between Adecco and military installations around the country to recruit and hire veterans, military spouses and wounded warriors. The program features an initiative geared specifically toward military families that includes recruiting from military job fairs and job boards, as well as directly from military bases. The program also offers career counseling, resume help, interview training and online skills courses. One way for veterans to become more hirable is by taking courses through Adecco SkillBuilder, Adecco's exclusive 3,000-course catalogue with classes ranging from technical certifications to office tool proficiencies to soft-skills trainings.

If you or someone you know is affiliated with the military, we'd love the opportunity to work with them on finding their next career opportunity. Check out our open positions:

As part of our commitment to helping our service members find work, Adecco partners with the 100,000 Jobs Mission, the Army Reserve Private Public Partnership, Hiring Our Heroes, the Wounded Warrior Project and the Military Spouse Employment Partnership.

Are you a veteran or military spouse?

Click here to learn how the Adecco Military Alliance can help you.