With technical skills that translate well to civilian careers, military veterans know that finding a great job isn't simply about having the knowledge it takes to make it -- it's about finding the right fit in the right industry.
Fortunately, those technical skills might mesh perfectly with one industry that is both looking for skilled tradesmen and supervisors and committed to hiring veterans: construction.
Related: Search for construction jobs.
And it's a sector that both wants and needs veterans' help. Not only is the industry looking to fill more than 500,000 job vacancies in the U.S. but, according to Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), more than 100 construction industry organizations have pledged to employ 100,000 veterans by the end of 2019.
Here's how can you get the perfect veteran job in the construction industry.
Step One, Get Free Certifications
The National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) and its Build Your Future initiative, which promotes construction as a career, created Hard Hat Heroes to help recruit, train and hire veterans.
The Hard Hat Heroes initiative provides free online training to service members and veterans. It also includes a database where veterans can post their résumés and employers can post job openings, as well as a list of military-friendly construction companies veterans can contact.
NCCER credentials are respected throughout the construction industry and could help you earn higher wages and opportunities for promotion.
Step Two, Explore Job Opportunities at Military-Friendly Employers
Here are five companies that want to hire vets:
AECOM is a full-service, soup-to-nuts, global engineering design and construction firm headquartered in Los Angeles that actively recruits military veterans for a wide variety of careers around the world.
AECOM employs more than 9,000 veterans in a multitude of professions, disciplines and markets worldwide, according to its website.
AECOM stands out because its commitment to veterans also extends to military spouses. It belongs to the Military Spouse Employment partnership 100,000 hires club and has received the 2019 Military Friendly Top Ten Employer Gold award and 2018 Military Friendly Spouse Employer award.
"Even though I am no longer wearing my country's uniform on active duty, my job as a defense contractor is very rewarding," said Barry "Bear" MacNeill, Air Force veteran and AECOM's vice president of Unmanned Programs (UxS)."I feel like it is a continuation of my time in the military, and I am doing exactly what I'd be doing if I had remained in the military."
As part of its commitment to veterans, AECOM partners with organizations such as the Wounded Warrior Project, Semper Fi Fund, American Corporate Partners, the Officers' Association and the Career Transition Partnership, which ensure veterans have the support they need during and after their service. For career opportunities, visit AECOM's website.
Related: Does your resume pass the 6-second test? Get a FREE assessment.
2. Athena Construction
Athena Construction is a service-disabled veteran and woman-owned company headquartered in Triangle, Virginia.
When she founded Athena Remodelers, Melissa Schneider applied the leadership and project management skills she had honed as an officer in the Marine Corps. For help, Schneider recruited fellow Marine Amber Peebles, a veteran with a reputation for sharp business sense, impressive sales acumen and savvy project management experience.
Peebles joined Athena as its president, and together, they transformed the company into Athena Construction Group, the nation's premier Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business, Small Women and Minority-owned, construction company.
Athena has worked on notable projects; including the National Geospatial Agency, Walter Reed Navy Medical Hospital and the National Museum of the Marine Corps.
The quality of the work and the meticulousness of the process earned Athena Construction Group the designation of 2012 Government Contractor of the Year in the American Express Victory in Procurement Program, and the elite status of Protégé to Hensel Phelps in the DoD Mentor-Protégé program. For career opportunities, visit Athena's website.
If you take a look at a variety of veteran job fairs around the country, there's a good chance you'll find Bechtel as a sponsor. Bechtel is headquartered in Reston, Virginia.
"There is a lot of similarities to the military and construction," Chad Hall, a Marine veteran, said in a video interview posted by NCCER. "In the military, you have a mission … here, it's the project.. Same concept, mission, goals, objectives. The transition is super easy."
Bechtel works to recruit, train and retain "top talent from all service branches, including Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard and all components (former active duty, National Guard, and Reserve)" through a variety of recruitment programs, according to its website. Those include Bechtel Military Veterans' Employee Resource Group, Helmets to Hardhats, Network of Champions and targeted job postings on military job boards.
Check Bechtel's website for career opportunities.
Very few construction jobs are about swinging a hammer and pounding nails. Many jobs in the industry require a high degree of technical training and expertise.
If you're a veteran, chances are you already possess a high degree of technical training. KBR, headquartered in Houston, wants to help train and place you in a high-demand job within the Government Services and Hydrocarbons sectors.
In addition to its robust military and veteran recruitment programs, KBR also partners with Fort Polk, Louisiana, and Central Louisiana Technical Community College for their Veteran Pipefitting Trade program. According to its website, the program aims to train active-duty military in the pipefitting trade to assist service members who desire to pursue an industrial civilian career following their military service.
Check KBR's website for career opportunities.
Fluor is a global engineering, procurement, fabrication, construction and maintenance (EPFCM) company, headquartered in Irving, Texas, that consistently lands on the top military-friendly employers list -- and for good reason.
Fluor's commitment to veterans is apparent through its partnerships with Hiring Our Heroes and Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), as well as its support of many active-duty and veteran organizations through the Fluor Military Support Coalition.
"Fluor is committed to providing jobs to the men and women who have served our country and, with the booming oil and gas market, we see a number of great opportunities in the construction industry right here at home," said Richard Meserole, vice president of Fluor's energy and chemicals business line in an interview with the Houston Chronicle.
Check Fluor's website for career opportunities.
Related: For the latest veteran jobs postings around the country, visit the Military.com Job Search section.
Master Your Military Transition
To learn more transition tips, Military.com has you covered. Sign up for a free Military.com membership to have military news, updates, and job resources delivered directly to your inbox.