iStock_000012937144XSmallAccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than a quarter million veterans with a service-connected disability are unemployed. Aiming to service these vets, both young and old, VetsFirst has released a new Knowledge Book, Disabled Veterans Employment and Education: Gearing up for Your Future.

The guide is chock full of information on: creating a path to employment; choosing school as a path to employment; understanding and defining disability; and self-advocacy: knowing your rights and responsibilities.

In a series of four posts we will outline each section, answer any questions, and hopefully entice you, the reader, to dig in to this invaluable tool.

Section 2 of this helpful guide offers six steps for active and discharged vets considering joining the workforce or finding other ways to contribute to the community.

Step 1: Try a Military Translator
– Use an online military translator to plug in your military title, rating, etc to find out which jobs line up with your skills. If the results don’t interest you, use online tools that can help you identify work you might enjoy.

• Employment could mean a full-time position, half-time or less. Disabled vets can find work in the federal government, private industry (including veterans associations and non-profits), and self-employment. Volunteering and internships are always an option. Future employers often view internships and time spent volunteering as relevant experience.

Step 2: Check out Your Local Community – Use online tools to find out if the jobs you have identified are available in your community.

Step 3: Research & Discover – Is this Job a Good Fit for Me? – Do the job requirements match what you can offer? Would you be happy at a desk, outside, working with people? Online tools, networking and setting up informational interviews are some ways to answer these questions.

Step 4: Structure Your Resume and Ace the Interview – Use online tools to build a resume that is tailored for the job you are seeking and identify what makes you the perfect candidate.

Step 5: Considering Disability – To Disclose or Not to Disclose (Reasonable Accommodations) – Employers are required by law to supply reasonable accommodations to an employee with a disability. You must decide, first, if you want to disclose your disability (even if its obvious). If you do, accommodations can include special keyboards, headsets, allowance of service dogs, raising desks and making spaces wheelchair or otherwise accessible.

Step 6: Reach out for Support and Find a Mentor – Reach out to friends, family or make use of vets mentoring programs. You should have no less than 3 people you can call on for support.

Check out Section 6 of the Knowledge Book for a list and links to Resources as well as Guiding Questions to help you through the process.

Questions, comments about this post or creating your path to employment? Ask VetsFirst. We want to support and celebrate your achievements.

Thanks to Heather Ansley, VetsFirst vice president for Veterans Policy, for her leadership, vision and extensive work in developing this guide.

Carol Tyson
VetsFirst Policy Associate