It comes as no surprise to anyone in the drilling industry that we face a shortage of skilled-trade labor. It may surprise you, however, to hear that many veterans transitioning from military service don’t know anything about our industry! I call that a shame. Veterans learn fast, adapt to challenging situations, and are no strangers to hard work and dedication — ideal candidates for driller roles. So how can your organization tap into this talent pool?

Identify Transferable Skills

Often, we assume a good driller candidate has drilled before, but that isn’t necessary the case. Drillers are made. Many veterans have transferable skills can ease their transition into successful drillers. “Transferable” skills, of course, are qualities easily transferred from one job to another or abilities that a person can find relevant use for in different careers.

When I think about veterans, I can think of many skillsets that might benefits them in drilling careers. These might include:

  • Construction design or building
  • Vehicle/equipment maintenance and repair
  • Heavy equipment operation
  • Plumbing, electrical or HVAC installation
  • Welding and/or fabrication
  • Utility maintenance
  • Leadership and/or project management

If you look at a veteran’s resume, keep this in mind. While they may have spent 10 years working as an aircraft mechanic, some of those valuable skills can easily apply to the drilling industry.

Use Social Media

Social media can serve as a tremendously useful tool for recruiting veterans, both for sharing job openings and finding potential candidates. Use platforms like LinkedIn or Facebook to search for veterans who use keywords in their profiles, such as “engineering,” “construction” or “maintenance.” Many transitioning veterans will create professional social media accounts for the sole purpose of securing a job in the civilian sector.

Veterans learn fast, adapt to challenging situations, and are no strangers to hard work and dedication — ideal candidates for driller roles.

You can also use your company social media accounts to recruit! If your company doesn’t have a LinkedIn or Facebook page, consider establishing one. On that page, you can share whatever content you like about projects, rigs, etc. Sprinkle in a few posts every month or quarter about open roles, or thank veterans for their service on appropriate holidays. The number of veterans who take the time to like or comment may surprise you!

You might also consider joining groups on Facebook made up of transitioning military members seeking a new career. Use these excellent resources for posting open jobs, and selling the value of your organization and a career in drilling. A simple Facebook search for “veteran employment” shows you the following groups you can join:

  • Veterans Hire Veterans Employment Network
  • Skillbridge and Veteran Employment Network
  • Veteran2Hire
  • Veteran Employment Network
  • Veteran Ready Jobs
  • Hire Veterans
  • Veteran Employment Opportunities in Texas

You’ll find hundreds of groups to consider joining, but the most important goal is to get the word out about opportunities at your organization.

Partner with Veteran Organizations

Partnerships with veteran organizations are hands-down the most effective way to increase your flow of veteran candidates. RecruitMilitary connects employers with veteran job seekers through a veteran database with more than a million members, the nation’s second largest veteran hiring publication and more than 100 job fairs in the U.S. each year. Learn more at

The Transition Assistance Program (or TAP) is another great resource for drilling companies. The program provides tools, information, and training to ensure service members and spouses can transition successfully into civilian life. If your office is near an active military installation, contact the base’s TAP office to get involved in employment workshops.

Additionally, federal programs exist to help organizations hire transitioning veterans through establishing apprentice programs. The Hiring our Heroes Fellowship program is a zero-cost program for the employer and sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. The SkillBridge program is another excellent apprenticeship resources sponsored by the Department of Defense at zero-cost to the employer. If you haven’t heard of these organizations, check them out online at and

The last resource I’ll mention is veteran job boards. There are hundreds of them to choose from, but some of the more commonly used ones include Helmets to Hardhats, and Hire Heroes USA. Some job boards provide free postings, while others come with a fee.

Veterans possess many traits and skills that make them valuable additions to your drilling team. Following these tips should put your organization on the road to success with veteran recruiting and outreach.