Finding a job in this volatile job market is tough for anyone…especially Veterans. You have sacrificed 4+ years of your post-high school life (for the most part) serving your country and acquiring skills that most could only dream about obtaining or experiencing. You may or may not have a college degree to add to that. For some reason, Veterans have a harder time finding a job than your everyday civilian and that, in my opinion, is a shame and I can’t really put a finger on as to why it is the case. What I do have that is tangible are 5 Job Hunting Tips for Vets that may help Vets land that job that they deserve.
1. Determine Your Objective. Be realistic with yourself with respect to the level of education, skills and other assets you do have. I think that one of the tough things for Veterans to do is make a real assessment of their value to a particular career goal and get disappointed when things aren’t working out. True, there are some employers who understand and value the skills you have as a Veteran, but the reality is most don’t. Read, soul search, and seek advice from friends, professionals, and anyone else who can help you come to closure on what you want to realistically pursue as a career. Having an objective is the most critical step for finding employment.
2. Research! The three best tools for this are the Internet, books and networking. Of all these resources, the most effective, reliable, and current data, in my opinion, is obtained through non job-specific interviews with someone in the field in which you want to work. Ask to meet with a corporate lawyer, engineer, corrections officer or even a truck driver. Talk with them about what they do, how their days usually flow, how they got started, etc. Listen, this type of inside information will not only give you great insight on how/where to start but if you ever do get that job interview, that person will realize that you know what you’re talking about and are serious about the job you’re applying for.
3. Compile a GOOD Resume. I capitalize GOOD for a reason. Not many people know how to write a good resume. They oftentimes put down awful details about themselves and their skills, use poor grammar/spelling and are unable to sell themselves to an employer. One big thing is to only highlight the skills that are important to that employer. This may mean that you have a write a few different resumes for different people, but oh well. Take the time to have others review your resume as well. Many local community colleges and universities may offer free resume reviews and may even sit down with you to help you compile a good resume based on a face to face conversation about your skills.
4. Sell Your Military Experience Wisely. I know that being an Infantry Squad leader requires leadership, common sense and a lot of hard work, but your everyday employer doesn’t. Sure you may be one hell of a shot and can mass fires on target, but what good does that do for someone who needs their corporate accounts managed? Take some time to review the job description and think about what skills that job will require. Now, think about what capacity you have served in the military and try to find some corollary between the two. Being an Infantry Squad leader might mean much written as such, but if you divulge into the level of responsibility you undertook (i.e. organization and accountability of equipment, leader of 6-10 Soldiers, written and verbal communication skills (OPORDs, etc.) and other skills) it will be clear to employers what your bring to the table.
5. Search Out Military Friendly Employers. This all comes back to networking. Once in a while I see advertised military oriented career fairs. Attend them! Not only will you show your face and possibly land a job, but you will be exposed to the companies and organizations that actively seek military Veterans. That is a huge leg up when you can narrow down your employment to a handful of companies that actually want to hire a Veteran. Talk with other Vets as well. They may know a friend, who knows a mailman, who has a sister that works for the CEO or boss of a company who is a Veteran himself and may be willing to offer you a job. Government and state jobs are also very military friendly!
The bottom line is that you need a game-plan if you want to find a good job in today’s marketplace. It definitely won’t happen by accident. Follow the five steps I mentioned above and you will be well on your way to getting the job you want and deserve.
What are your thoughts? What are the best job hunting tips for Vets that you can think of? Leave a comment and let us know.