In a competitive job market, military veterans have advantages that other candidates might not possess. With skills like, leadership, discipline, and teamwork, veterans are desirable in the workforce but it can be tough to leverage experience. Here are some military veteran job seeker tips to help strengthen your career outside of the military.
Tap your network: Networking is a critical part of the job search. Connecting with other military members, former and active, is a great way to discover job openings, training programs, and companies of interest. Microsoft’s senior director of military recruiting, Sean Kelley tells transitioning military professionals to make a list of 50 people they know and schedule coffee meetings to pick their brains and discuss opportunities.
It’s recommended to spend about half your time networking when searching for a job. Networking can be anything from coffee meetings to professional gatherings with potential coworkers or employers. Set a goal to attain a few contacts at each event and follow up with them on an individual basis. Getting in front of the right people and getting your name out there, can make all the difference when trying to find the right career.
Play up your military experience: Highlighting military experience can open new doors when applying for jobs. There are a variety of military skills translators that help explain skills so hiring managers in the civilian workforce can better understand.
Military experience can be a great selling point on a resume if translated correctly, so make sure to include a list of accomplishments, with quantifying realists when possible.
Emphasize soft skills: Aside from military experience, including soft skills on a resume like being good communicator and ability to work as a team are desirable skills companies look for in veterans. Below are some key soft skills to highlight if you have the experience in these areas.
- Team oriented
- Disciplined approach to work
- Respect and integrity
- Ability to perform under pressure
- Leadership skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Ability to adapt quickly
- Attitude of perseverance
- Communication skills
- Strong technical skills
Enhance your personal brand: Social media and the online scene can be a powerful tool for any job seeker. Creating a profile on platforms like LinkedIn will open doors and create more exposure for candidates. Many hiring managers who recruit veterans use LinkedIn on a daily basis to find top talent, so creating a profile that lines up with your resume and experience is key. Connect with people you might know, people in the field you’re interested in, and hiring mangers for companies of interest.
Another powerful tool is a personal website. This should be a reflection of experience and professional background so recruiters and hiring managers can get to know their potential hire.
Know your target: Determining an industry or career field is an important step in the job search. Recruiters don’t want to see a generic resume, so choosing a field with a specific field in mind will help you focus on the right career path and weed out jobs that aren’t a good fit. Make a list of companies and jobs you’re interested in and research them. This will better prepare you for potential jobs, interviews, etc. When applying for a position, it’s best to edit your resume to target specific skills, job descriptions, and/or companies so they can see the benefit of choosing you.