There are plenty of resources, tools, and organizations available to assist military service members with the transition from active duty to the civilian workforce. But, for some, sorting through that information can make that transition confusing and challenging, especially if they can’t answer a simple question: “What kind of job are you qualified to do?”
A new free app from National Veterans Transition Services, Inc. (NVTSI) hopes to make the move to a civilian career a little more effortless, and ultimately meaningful.
Maurice Wilson, is president and executive director of NVTSI and a retired Navy Master Chief Petty Officer. He says one of the biggest issues is veterans are being told at job fairs and on job boards, “Why don’t you just do the same thing you did while you were in the military?” Part of the problem, he says, is that 90% of veterans are ready to leave the job they were paid to do in the military behind when they leave the service. “They had to do that for the military because that was the agreement, but they don’t have to do that as a civilian.”
Wilson—who also sits on the WorkingNation Advisory Board—says what they actually need is assistance navigating and figuring out the kinds of skills they have and what kind of jobs they can do with those skills. That’s where the Job-Set app comes in.
It operates like a dating app, enabling users to provide information to create a “career DNA map profile” and match veterans with potential employers. Users are asked questions about their background and hard skills, the answers are quantified, and then soft skills are revealed through a gamified-type process.
For example: if your background is in the medical field, additional questions will be asked to verify users can operate a stethoscope, thermometer, and other medical equipment. To assess soft skills, the app will ask questions about a user’s personality and put them into virtual scenarios in which they will swipe “yes” or “no.” Wilson says it can take users about 30 minutes to complete their profile.
“It will ask about a person’s rank and all the things they did in the military that are nomenclature-based. The app finds correlating matching codes and plugs them in,” he says. The app also asks about the user’s civilian experience and even the kinds of hobbies they enjoy. “So, the more the person can spend time adding that in, and the time to play the games for the assessments, the better.”
In all, more than 600 pieces of criteria are gathered and used to create the in-depth profile. “Once it’s done, it’s done. From that point forward, all the individual does is pull out their phone, launch the app, and it automatically goes out and scans (for personalized job matches),”
Wilson says a match is almost instantaneous with jobs from the Department of Labor database, which has millions of jobs listed. Currently, matches are based on geographic locations, but an upcoming update will enable a nationwide search and company-based search.
If users find a match that interest them, they can click on a button to find out how they matched to the job. And just like a dating app, they can choose if they’d like to know more and apply.
The app was just released and so far 968 users are in the system. He’d like to see every veteran using the app, perhaps before their civilian life starts, so they have a job waiting for them once they leave active duty. But there are grander ideas to measure Job-Set app’s success, such as a study about retention–the number of users who stay in the jobs they were matched to a year, two years, and longer.
“If one person using the app is happy, then that’s a success there,” Wilson says. ”If millions are happy, that’s even better.”
Job-Set is free to download and use. Find it in your app store.