Making the transition from military service to civilian employment is a challenging process for most veterans. Fortunately there are some special resources and strategies which can help vets secure jobs. Here are some job search tips for vets:
Convert your military skills to civilian employment by using a military skills translator. These assessments will also help you to prepare a list of your marketable skills for networking meetings and job interviews.
Tap the resources of the Veterans Administration (VA) VetSuccess at Work program including resume assistance and career counseling.
Investigate training and educational opportunities through the GI Bill if you discover that your desired career requires a degree or certificate.
Join as many veteran's groups' as possible and reach out to other vets for information and advice. Schedule as many informational interviews as you can; other vets will have a heightened appreciation of what a fellow vet might bring to the table.
Create a complete LinkedIn profile and join Groups that relate to your status as a veteran and career fields of interest. Approach fellow group members for informational consultations and advice.
Draw up a list of family and friend contacts and compose a flyer which will update them about recent events in your life. Add in your desire to connect with any of their contacts working in career fields, with employers, or in locations of interest for informational interviews. Include a photo and send via regular mail to your list. You may be surprised by who your contacts know and how eager they are to help someone who has served their country.
Construct a resume which highlights the skills, accomplishments and experiences that are most related to your target job. Draw from military as well as non-military experiences including any volunteer work, academic projects and freelance work which you have done.
If you are at all interested in public service, make sure you investigate employment opportunities in state and federal government agencies. Most agencies provide some preference to veterans in the employment process.
Scan leading job sites and set a goal of applying for at least 10 jobs each week with cover letters tailored to each opportunity. Register with job sites geared towards veterans as well and access listings from employers interested in recruiting vets.
Identify companies which typically hire veterans and consider applying directly to those in industries and locations of interest. Creating a target list of companies will help you keep your job search focused.
Consider using a temporary employment agency as a device to get inside an organization where you can make contacts and impress staff with your work ethic and professionalism.
Devise a job search schedule for each week and plan to spend 20 to 25 hours on various activities. Recognize that networking is widely accepted as the most effective technique for finding employment especially for non-traditional candidates who might not fit the prototypical profile of the ideal candidate. In those cases, it will be essential that you cultivate believers on staff at your target organizations through firsthand interactions. Plan to devote at least 50% of your budgeted job search time to networking activities such as sourcing contacts and conducting informational interviews.
Consider starting your own business if you are inclined towards entrepreneurship. Tap resources like the Senior Core of Retired Executives (SCORE), Small Business Administration (SBA), the Veterans Administration (VA) and business people in your network as you fine tune your business model and devise your formal plan. The SBA also offers loans and grants. There are special funding opportunities for women, minorities and those who are starting businesses in rural areas or underserved communities.
Maintain the exercise and conditioning regimen which you learned in the military to relieve stress and regenerate the energy necessary to carry out your search.