One of the biggest movements in the military community is making sure veterans have the tools they need to find successful careers after ending service.
Scrolling through message boards or LinkedIn, there are hundreds of service men and women looking for work that have no idea where to start. For them, finding a job is much more than sending out a resume to several places in the neighborhood and going in for interviews. Their questions and concerns slowly take on a life of their own – How do I connect with companies when I’m oversees? What if my resume only has my Army service on it? How do I apply my combat and military specialty to a civilian job?
There is no one-and-done quick fix to these questions and concerns, that’s why the amount of people trying to find solutions is growing each and every day.
With that in mind, here are just a few ways a soldier can prepare, but nothing can compare to reaching out to the community that’s working to help your transition…
Reach out, get assistance
That makes our first piece of advice very easy and a bit redundant. Speak up! Get into a group, take a class, find veterans assistance programs designed for you and your goals. The Transitions Assistance Program (TAP) was designed to help you launch your career search and be smart about it.
Do your research, know what you want
Figuring out what you want to do might be the biggest challenge. It seems like the possibilities are endless but all equally intimidating sometimes. Take your time figuring out what you want to do and what kind of company you’d like to work for.
Companies and organizations are all structured very differently and have different cultures. An office culture is very important, especially for a transitioning veteran, so make sure you do your research, know what you want and aren’t afraid to say no to a job that isn’t the right fit.
Find and connect with military-friendly recruiter and employers
Military members have one huge advantage when leaving service – the amount of people rooting for you to succeed and that want to help you. Get on LinkedIn and connect with these recruiters, put your resume out there, ask for advice and remember that there are business owners that want YOU because YOU have skills and character traits that other people don’t.
Change your mindset
It’s easy to get stuck in the military mindset – I’m sure that several of the positions you’ve had weren’t sought out, you didn’t put together a resume and apply, then interview a week later. Rather, you were assigned a position and moved up through the ranks as people saw it was a good fit.
In most military roles, you get a position, you learn how to do it well until you excel at it, then you’re moved up. It’s a process of learning each job as a new challenge and thriving in the role before you’re moved up to the next step. However, in the civilian workforce, you must demonstrate that you’ll thrive before they offer you the role. Being great at the roles below you won’t help you land the job you’re applying for.
This article was inspired by a post from LinkedIn, by a military member who was retiring in the next couple months and was anxious about job hunting. The article received more than 50 comments and ended up connecting him with more than one career counselor to help him… there are people out there to help, and they’re excited to do it!