According to Hire Our Heroes, a non profit dedicated to helping veterans, over one million veterans are unemployed and another one million will be leaving the armed forces over the next five years and looking for work. If you’re among this group, there are things you can do to increase your odds of landing a job in the civilian sector.
- Start with a resume re-do
You want your resume to reflect your accomplishments in a way that is understood by those who don’t have a military background. You can’t assume that recruiters or hiring managers will know what your specific role involved.
Think of actions you took that provided value. When you are describing yourself and what you have to offer, be sure to mention skills to back it up. A list of descriptive adjectives means nothing without those actions and experiences. Be numbers oriented. For example, instead of “Managed team” say “Directed and trained a team of 40, successfully coordinating timely execution of intelligence tasks.” Employers want to see how you succeeded in your role. – Steve Davison, Operations Recruiter, OBE
- Look for Military-Friendly Companies
There are organizations that actively promote opportunities for veterans. They may advertise or, at the very least, post on their web page or social media channels their veteran friendly status. Bonus points if you actually see success stories or testimonials from veterans currently employed at the organization.
- Find jobs that match your skills using a Military Skills Translator (MST)
This will translate your skills and match you to suggested jobs that make the most of your qualifications. See an example of one HERE.
- Start your search early
An average job search can take months up to a year. Get your plan in place and head in the game as soon as you can. Even small steps now, while still actively deployed, can make a difference.
- Get on Google
Google recently introduced a feature where you can search for jobs using your Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) code.
- Leverage your LinkedIn Page
Not on LinkedIn? You need to be! The key is to maximize and list your experiences in layman’s terms, without the military jargon. In addition, check the LinkedIn For Good Veterans page to see what services they offer to help vets, which currently includes a free year of LinkedIn Premium.
Don’t underestimate phone screen and interview prep!
Practice explaining what it is that you did in the military to non-military folks, so you are ready for a screening call from a recruiter or an interview with the manager. Learn how to simply explain what you did for work, what you were responsible for, who you worked with and the training that you received. If your interviewer doesn’t understand what you did, they won’t know if you are qualified for the position!
– Lilian deLascurain, Operations Recruiter, Oldcastle APG
Recruiters and hiring managers are constantly searching for candidates who have your discipline, leadership qualities, motivation and perseverance. Follow these tips to set you up for job search success!
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