FORTUNE -- Most people in charge of hiring for big companies would toss a resume with no previous job experience in the trash. But companies might need to view job experience differently. Soon, discharged men and women from the armed forces will be coming home and looking for work. Many will have spent a large chunk, if not all, of their time since 9/11 far from the private sector.
"We've been off fighting for our country for the last 11 years and the American people have been getting on with their lives," said Admiral Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Monday at the first official Fortune 500 dinner at the New York Stock Exchange in Manhattan. The event focused on how the military and Fortune 500 companies should help veterans integrate into the workforce.
The two sides are often divided by a language gap, and companies might not immediately recognize the leadership and technical skills that former military personnel have cultivated in their years of service. On the flip side, many discharged men and women need help communicating their skills to civilians -- helping veterans see their attributes outside the military context and cutting out the jargon in their speech.
It's a pressing issue: By 2014, President Obama has said, Afghanistan will run its own democracy. The U.S. currently has about 90,000 troops stationed there. In the next two years, many of them will be coming home, some after multiple tours of service.
MORE: 6 companies hiring vets
Many of these vets will need training and support, but once they get it, Mullen says, they will thrive and companies will reap the benefits: "They're creative and innovative, they perform well under pressure, they have tremendous skills and potential, and for the price of a very small investment on the part of America, I believe [they'll] perform at a spectacularly high level." More
While the unemployment rate for recent military veterans is higher than the national average, recruiters from plum post-biz school gigs are actively courting many vets who opt for an MBA. By Ethan RouenJul 13, 2011 10:13 AM ET
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