While it’s never easy to find a job, it can be even more difficult for veterans returning to civilian life. Let’s go through a few tips that will help to make your civilian job search go more smoothly.
Get to know your personal brand
Although personal branding isn’t something that military personnel will have much experience with, it is crucial to obtaining a civilian career. Essentially, your personal brand will help convey to potential employers how good of a fit you will be within their company and why they should hire you.
Getting to know your personal brand will require that you ask yourself a few important questions. First, what do you have that will make you stand out from other applicants? As a veteran, you have countless valuable skills that you developed during your time in the service that many civilian applicants don’t possess.
Second, what sort of work structure would be the best fit for you? Think of the types of people you worked with in the military. Would you like to work with similar people in your civilian career? Also, in what type of setting are you accustomed to working? Do you thrive on collaboration, or do you want to work as part of a team? Are you accustomed to working mainly indoors or outdoors? Answering all of these questions will help you find the perfect civilian career to fit your unique preferences.
Lastly, what is your passion? Retiring from the military gives you an ideal opportunity to pursue a career that will make you happy, whether you want to work in technology, education, or business.
Be patient and persistent
Your civilian job search won’t yield results overnight. As difficult as it may be, treating the process with patience will help you achieve success in the long run. Every employer has their own list of priorities when it comes to job applicants, so you may find yourself waiting to hear back about potential job offers for longer than you had expected. Moreover, you may not receive a job offer until you’ve spent months applying to open positions. Don’t give up, and you will get there eventually.
During your job search, you will need to learn how to balance patience with persistence. When you apply to jobs, make sure to follow up with the employer after about a week or two. There’s no guarantee that they read your application, so reaching out to them can solidify your spot on their radar. Persistence will also help you to get through those periods when you may think of giving up on your job search. If you find that your approach isn’t working, then you should look for new ways to pique the interest of potential employers.
Know where to look for jobs
There are countless companies looking to add veterans to their teams. You should look within this pool of organizations for a potential employer. Some—like government entities—even use a system that gives preference to veteran applicants. Others will begin recruiting active service members, either through local job fairs or on military bases. You should take advantage of these opportunities, as they can make it easier to find a great career before you even begin your transition back to civilian life.
Devise a long-term career strategy
Entities in the civilian sector don’t always share the same attitude as the military does when it comes to training and investing in their employees’ future. When you are searching for your first civilian job, you should, therefore, begin thinking in the long term. Take some time to lay out your career goals and where you would like to see yourself in 10 or 20 years. Will the jobs you’re currently interested in get you there? Even if you are looking at an entry-level role, it should come with ample training, networking, and promotion opportunities that will provide the stepping-stones you need to advance in your career.
Tailor your resume to each position
No two job openings are the same, so why would you submit the same resume to each employer? As you read each job listing, try to pick up on the specific skills they are seeking and determine how well your own experience aligns with their needs. No matter how similar two job descriptions may seem, every employer is looking for something different in their applicants. Understanding this will help you adjust your resume to fit each job opening, giving you a better chance at securing an interview and, ultimately, landing the job.
If you want to create an even more targeted resume, then you should research the company culture of each organization to which you are applying. Knowing the little details about their mission and values will make it even easier to tailor your resume to the job opening they have to offer.
Be a salesperson
When looking for a civilian job, you’ll need to play the part of a salesperson whether you’re going into a sales field or not. During the job interview, you will need to sell the hiring manager on the reasons why you’re most suited in the job they have available. This will involve more than answering all of their questions. You should never leave an interview until you’ve reiterated how interested you are in the job. This essential aspect of the “sales pitch” could mean the difference between landing the job and being rejected.