Starting the Job Search as you Transition out of the Military
Many service members leave the military with a variety of honed skills. But even with the great training you received in the service, it’s not feasible to think that you can jump into a civilian job without proper planning.
Prepared yourself with the skills, degrees, certifications and experience that will make you a qualified candidate. Then start planning how your approach to the job search:
– Establish your parameters for an acceptable job
– Find job openings
– Package and prepare
– Accept an offer or adjust your parameters
Don’t be afraid – jobs are out there
The good news is that there are thousands of job openings at any point in time – even in precarious times like today. The trick is to seek jobs that most closely meet your needs and skills. Finding these jobs depends on timing, location, networking, and yes – a little luck.
If you are active duty, think about when you will leave the service and start keeping an eye out now for job opportunities and contacts. Contacts made with contractors on specific projects can often make the transition a no-brainer. They already know you, so seeking follow-on employment with them is a good first approach.
If you have a security clearance, it can be a particularly valuable asset for a follow-on job with a government contractor.
Be open to various job parameters.
Setting acceptable job parameters is important, but being flexible is, too. Start by seeking jobs with your specific requirements and broaden the scope if needed. If your search becomes drawn out, you may need to take a part-time job in the interim.
Find jobs through unconventional means.
Obvious starting points include the Internet, newspapers, periodicals, local employment offices, and job fairs. But indirect means may prove most effective.
– Social networking. Think of the various internet groups through which you discuss topics that interest you. I see job openings daily in these discussion groups. Plus it keeps you up-to-date on the latest trends and news (good for interviews).
– Head hunters. While pricey, head hunters and placement agencies can do much of the search legwork and assist you through the entire process.
– Personal contacts. Make a list of associates, sponsors, mentors, friends, and family who know you and are willing to vouch for you. A personal referral made directly to an employer is probably the best opportunity for landing a job.
Tips for creating your resume package
– Make your cover letter and resume specific to each job application.
– Research the company
– Prepare ideas to show how your skills and experience can help them achieve their mission.
The interview doesn’t have to be daunting
Your education, specific training and experience will help immensely in the interview. Don’t try to over qualify yourself. Do your homework on the company and be able to show how your qualifications match the job requirements.
Ask questions! Employers want to know that candidates are as interested in them as they are about you.
Getting the offer may take time
You will likely not be offered a job on the spot. But be prepared for when the offer comes – make sure you have all the information you need to make the right decision. Ask additional questions if you have any.
If you don’t receive an offer, try broadening your parameters and start the process again. Keep positive and make use the many military transition resources. In the meantime, don’t stop learning!