As you exit the military, it makes sense to seek an employer who understands military culture, workstyle and protocols. This could make your entry into the private sector smoother as you’ll be less likely to face misconceptions around military service.

But how can you know which employers are military friendly? If they have a military focused employee resource group (ERG), is that sufficient? Here are some tips for identifying which employers may present a smoother landing spot after military duty:

1. Refer to Their Website

Look for a military-focused page that highlights their commitment, services and understanding of the military and military duty. Do they offer reintegration programs? Are they simply acknowledging veterans on Veterans Day or doing more throughout the year? Do they have military-specific mentoring programs (to simulate Battle Buddy-style arrangements, for example)?

If they don’t have much depth in their military focus but appear motivated to understand and embrace prior military members, that’s also a good sign. Some companies are only now learning about the value of hiring prior military members, and their motivation to do so is sincere and deep.

2. Review the Published Lists

Annual lists are published by credible organizations to highlight which employers meet certain standards to be deemed “military-friendly” or even “military-ready.” These lists can be a helpful start to find employers who align with your interests, skills and values. keeps a running list of recommended employers that can be found here. Additionally, publishes annual lists highlighting employers who stand out for their commitment to veteran employment. Read more about the 2024 list here.

Veteran Jobs Mission (formerly the 100,000 Jobs Mission) also highlights employers to make a public commitment to offer opportunities for veterans and their civilian counterparts who want to learn more. Its list is published here.

VETS Indexes annually awards employers that meet criteria for best-in-class recruitment, hiring and development of veteran employees. Its list can be found here

Even business publications such as Forbes lists employers that veterans say excel at hiring prior military talent in lists such as this.

There are many lists out there — organized by company, location, industry, etc. Look for the common company names mentioned. This is a good indication that an employer stands out for their commitment and services to prior military talent.

3. Talk to Your Veteran Colleagues

Ask people who’ve exited the military before you what they think. If their employer is listed as a military-friendly employer, how do they experience the support? Where is their employer going above and beyond, and where could they do better? What is your colleague’s experience growing their career and building their skills at this company?

4. Assess Their ERG Activities

If the company has an ERG (sometimes called a veterans resource group or the like), look at who’s part of it. Do they include allies — employees who haven’t served but are passionate about serving those who have and learning more about the military experience — and employees at all levels in the organization? What programs, events and learnings are available through the ERG? A good ERG can help a new veteran hire quickly integrate to the company culture, pair up with a mentor, offer guidance for military spouses and much more.

5. Trust Your Gut

After all this research, what does your intuition tell you? Is this an employer you could enjoy working for? Do you see yourself starting or growing your civilian career in their company and industry?

Not all companies are the same; even in the same industry, they are vastly different. For example, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics Corporation and BAE Systems are all very large defense contractors, but their company cultures are unique to their mission. Which company feels best suited to what you’re looking to accomplish in this next chapter of your career?

The research required to understand an employer’s military-friendly readiness is worth the time. With this understanding and information, you can then focus on employers that meet all your goals and needs and customize your resume, cover letter and outreach to highlight the areas of their retention, veteran development, spouse support and programs that appeal to you the most.

Want to Know More About Veteran Jobs?

Be sure to get the latest news about post-military careers as well as critical info about veteran jobs and all the benefits of service. Subscribe to and receive customized updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Story Continues