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Want to Hire More Veterans? Drop the Jargon

To bring veterans into your business fold, you'll have to stop sounding like a robot in your company job descriptions.

Here's another reason to drop the business jargon from your job descriptions: You might be alienating veterans. 

Derek Bennett, chief of staff at the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, recently made the case that the business world's penchant for clunky phrases like "back-office cost" and "synergy" is in part responsible for driving disproportionate veteran unemployment.

The unemployment rate among Gulf War-era II veterans (who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces at any time since September 2001) is especially high at 9.4 percent, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

This compares to an unemployment rate of 6.9 percent among veterans as a whole and 7.9 percent among nonveterans.

Bennett writes:

For veterans who are transitioning into the civilian workforce, there is just as much, if not more, confusion in trying to decipher the language of business than there is for you to decipher the language of the military...In the military, we all wear our resumes on our chests; it's readily apparent what your position and function, not to mention additional areas of expertise, are at a single glance.

So to attract veterans (and top talent in general), make your job descriptions more conversational, specifc, and energetic (some even suggest to think of it as a love letter). 

A few other tips: Keep it short, make the first line pop, and put a human voice in your job post.


Last updated: Mar 29, 2013


Julie Strickland covers start-ups, small businesses, and entrepreneurial endeavors of all kinds for Inc. Her work has been published in Brooklyn Based and City Limits in New York, the Free Times in Columbia, SC, Real Travel Magazine in London, and Daegu Pockets in South Korea. She lives in New York City.

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