SEPTEMBER 20, 2021 – There are few things more intimidating for men and women leaving the military than the prospect of entering or reentering the civilian workforce. Years spent in the military, often doing highly specialized jobs, not to mention the structure and institutional support of military life, can make the comparatively insecure and hard-to-understand civilian labor market seem like an intimidating place.
In many respects, it is, but veterans can do plenty of things to increase their odds of finding a job. With that in mind, below is a valuable guide to job search for veterans. It includes information on how to present yourself on a resume, how to manage your expectations, and the help available to you.
Use a Current Resume
Resume styles and trends, like anything, change over time, with certain things coming in and out of vogue for various reasons. There are also different resume styles and formats depending on your area of expertise, previous work and educational experience and the industry or niche you are trying to target. This is true for military resumes as well.
It is important that your resume emphasize your experience and qualities that are most relevant to the industry and job you are searching for, and using a tried and tested military resume template is a great way to do that. You want your military experience to be front and centre and to inform how you list your work and educational experience with respect to the job description and its various requirements.
Set Your Expectations Going in
If you are entering the labor market for the first time or are perhaps back after a lengthy absence because of your military experience, it is important to know what you are up against. What has been referred to as a “worker shortage” throughout the pandemic has been characterized by other observers as a wage and workers rights shortage. These two factors are dissuading jobseekers from filling positions and taking offers, not the absence of workers per se.
It is also important to understand that, as a veteran, there are hurdles to finding gainful employment post-military that would exist for you regardless of that job market. Part of success in a global, highly competitive labour market is perseverance and mental strength. You need to be able to withstand the ups and downs and recognize that finding a job is a number game that can take a while to produce results.
Understand the Applicability of Your Skillset
Your transition into the civilian labor force is, like any major employment-related transition, one that requires mapping your qualities onto new requirements. One of the main problems faced by veterans looking for jobs is not that they don’t have the skills required to succeed in a particular industry, but that they haven’t done a good enough job of identifying and highlighting the relevant skills they do have.
It is absolutely crucial that you understand how your military (and non-military) skills add value to whichever role you are applying for. It can be easy to become discouraged when you see job description after job description asking for experiences and abilities that may not appear to be ones you possess.
What you will find upon closer inspection and reflection, however, is that there are either related or equivalent skills you have that will do just fine, or perhaps even capabilities and experiences that make you an even more ideal candidate than others. Especially important are the leadership skills that many veterans bring to the table, on top of strong teamwork, integrity and work ethic.
Consider a Recruiter
Recruitment firms play an important role in the modern labor market, as organizations and their HR departments increasingly seek to outsource this task to specialized professionals. Different recruiters focus on different industries, and there are military recruiters out there with proven track records of finding work for veterans.
Recruiters have large and diverse professional networks to draw upon and can find job seekers opportunities that are in line with their skills and interests, as well as ones that may be difficult to locate through formal job search channels. A recommendation or good word from a recruiter can often sway an employer’s decision, especially if they have had success with the recruiter in the past.
Finding work as a veteran can seem like and often is a daunting prospect. If you have just left the military, you are entering into one of the worst job markets in a long time, with a huge surplus of job seekers and employers unwilling to budge on wages and benefits.
There are, however, various things you can do to increase your odds of finding work. Keep the above job search guide in mind and consider your options when it comes to assistance, approach and the mental side of succeeding in the modern labor market.