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Organizations and companies recognize the unique skills and talents soldiers, veterans and family members bring to the industry.
The competition in the job market is tough, and it is even more difficult to find a job for veterans. You have been out of the civilian job market for several years, but you still have to compete with people who have current skills and experience on their resume.
However, there are some encouraging statistics out there when it comes to unemployment:
- The average unemployment rate for the U.S. as of November 2014 was 5.8%.
- The average unemployment rate for veterans of all wars was 5.5% as of January 2014.
As more soldiers transition out of the Army, private-sector businesses continue to make the pledge to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s “Hiring our Heroes” program to put experienced service members to work. This program is a nationwide initiative to help veterans and military spouses find meaningful employment.
Military professionals have advantages in the job market — it’s just a matter of knowing where to look and how to present yourself; really taking the time to prepare yourself for the job search.
6 How-to Tips to Finding a Job as a Veteran
- Does Your Current Education Meet the Demands of the Job You Want? If your goal is to become an electrician and you received military training in this field, it may not be enough for a potential employer in the civilian world. Determine if the job you are pursuing requires a certificate or degree. If it does, research “military friendly” schools and find one that provides hands-on training and gets you qualified to work in a career you want.
- Get a Real Target in Your Sights. Take the time to determine what types of positions you are qualified for and what jobs you are really interested in. Think about your transferable skills and experience and what industries could use your strengths. The Military Skills Translator is a handy tool that can help you with this process. You may need to complete some training to get you where you want to go, but it can be done.
- Don’t Give Up on Uncle Sam. When you are looking for employment, one area that all veterans should explore is the government sector, and especially the federal government. USA Jobs is the website to go to for a listing of open positions, and you can apply via the website. Federal government jobs give substantial preference to veterans and you receive points for your service that give you a boost over other applicants.
- Location Is Everything. Once your military service ends you can move anywhere you want. USAA released a list of the best places for veterans to find jobs and re-establish themselves once their military service ends. You don’t have to be locked into one location, and you aren’t required to move back to your home of record after military service. Use your “adapt and flourish” skills learned in the military when deciding where to find a job.
- Speak the Language. The military is practically built on acronyms, and there is one for everything you do on a daily basis. Unfortunately, the civilian world isn’t as acronym happy. When you apply for a job, spell out acronyms, and if possible, explain your job in terms that are easy for everyone to understand.
- Get the Interview. Once you’ve decided what you want to do and where you want to do it at, it’s time to start applying for jobs. Fill out applications thoroughly and accurately before submitting, and make sure your résumé is top-notch. Have an expert look it over and help you ensure that it is focused on the skills that are necessary for the particular job for which you are applying.
Interview Tips – Do’s and Don’ts
Do – Invest in a new (affordable) suit, complete with new shoes and tie. This is applicable to male and female veterans.
Don’t – Throw on that pair of patent leather low-quarters with your suit. It will make you stand out, and not necessarily in a good way.
Do – Be polite and professional, but don’t go overboard on the military bearing. Feel free to offer a professional smile and a handshake, but don’t stand at attention or parade rest at an interview. This can be intimidating to a hiring manager or make them feel like you would not be easy to work with in routine situations.
Do – Try to relax at the interview, but
Don’t – Get as relaxed as you would at an informal get together. You don’t have to sit at attention and end each phrase with “sir” or “ma’am.” Be professional, but not stiff or intimidating.
Don’t – Embellish your service or your accomplishments, or list things on your résumé that aren’t correct. Prospective employers verify your service record, so be truthful.
Do – Share clear communication regarding any Guard/Reserve duty obligations. Emphasize the amazing training that you get from your career as a Guard and Reserve member, and let them know that these skills translate into free training that will help you in your duties at your civilian job.
Don’t – Panic and take the first job that comes along because you aren’t sure you will find another. Take your time and make the right choice.
There’s no question that transitioning from military civilian employment can be challenging, but there are guidelines to doing it successfully. Utilize every available resource to direct you toward a fulfilling career for life.
“How Veteran Unemployment Compares To Overall Unemployment In Every State.” Kiersz, Richard and Feloni, Andy. Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc, 15 July 2014. Web. 08 Jan. 2015. http://www.businessinsider.com/us-veteran-unemployment-in-each-state-2014-7
“Best for Vets: Employers 2013.” Best for Vets 2013: Employers. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Jan. 2015.