Your military service probably has been one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences of your life. As important as that experience has been for you, however, it’s important to keep in mind your transition back into civilian life — including finding a job if you don’t already have one lined up once your service is complete. Re-acclimating to the civilian world isn’t always easy. Many veterans report difficulties related to the job search after their tours of duty are over. A small but significant number of veterans are unemployed, which speaks to the difficulties many veterans face when entering the workforce. Whether you have a hard time during the interview or simply lack the necessary knowledge needed to kick-start the job-seeking process, here are some basic tips that can help you find a job after your military service is completed.
1 — Know Your Skills
The modern military trains servicemen and servicewomen to tackle a variety of complex and mission-critical tasks. These skills often can be translated directly into in-demand industries in the private sector. Many veterans are uniquely suited for highly specialized work in areas such as engineering, security and logistics. Before your service is over, take some time to assess the skills you have and consider how they may transfer to a civilian job. What may have seemed like a routine and standard part of your duties could be in high demand in the civilian world.
2 — Remove Jargon From Your Resume
Military terminology may have become such a part of your daily life that it’s simply how you think now. However, it’s important to remember that acronyms and terms that you use every day in the service may seem like a foreign language to civilians. It’s a good idea to have a friend outside of the service read your resume and point out what might be confusing or unclear to a recruiter or HR representative. Part of military culture may also involve downplaying your everyday tasks. Still, you need to remember that your resume is all about selling yourself and your accomplishments. A job search is no time to be modest.
3 — Look for Veteran-Friendly Employers
If you’re a veteran seeking employment, the good news is that there are countless employers seeking veterans. Many companies have a policy of prioritizing hiring veterans. There are numerous resources available for veterans to help them find those employers. By starting your job search concentrating on these veteran-focused businesses, you may make the process much easier for yourself.
4 — Network as Much as Possible
The armed forces can be a tight-knit community, which can be extremely useful for veterans who are searching for employment. Be sure to include your military status on job-related social networking sites such as LinkedIn. Also seek job boards on military-specific websites. Additionally, try to find a fellow veteran who already has a civilian job in the industry you’re trying to enter and solicit advice from him or her. Even if this person isn’t able to connect you with a job opportunity directly, he or she can provide you with valuable insight into the job-hunting process as well as the specific industry you’re targeting.
5 — Look the Part
There’s a saying that goes, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” That goes for veterans, as well. Because, the look that may have fit your time in the service may not make the same good impression on potential employers. Dressing to impress is a big part of the job-hunting ritual, so make sure you have a nice suit or business-casual outfit before starting your job search. There’s nothing wrong with being proud of your service, but you also want to show potential employers that you’re a team player and can be ready for the situation.
6 — Don’t Get Discouraged
Finding a new job is a stressful experience no matter who you are. Coming from the results-oriented world of the military, you might feel discouraged if your job search goes on longer than you anticipate. If you’re having a hard time finding employment after your military service, don’t give up and don’t get discouraged. The job hunt can be tedious and frustrating. Though chances are, if you stick with it, you’ll find a job opportunity that will allow you to use the skills you learned in service to your country to serve an employer as well as your career.
When it’s time to start the next phase of your life, you want to be confident that you have a plan in place to do it successfully. Consider the above tips and you can be well on your way to finding and landing a job that’s a great fit for you.