Landing a career as opposed to a job is what most every transitioning military person or military veteran desires. There are countless websites, books and other instructional resources that can help with figuring out what you want to do for a career, how to get an interview in your chosen profession, career networking, and how to land that dream job. Today’s post is not intended to be comprehensive but rather a guide for getting started once you have an idea of what you want to do for a career.
“This seems like a lot of work” – Just remember, battles are frequently won or lost on the quality of intel. Your job search is no different. The more intel work you do, the more background knowledge you have of your desired position(s) and potential employer(s), the better you will do. Know your industry to the best of your ability through research. Practice being conversant about your field, your desired job, and about your desired employer in order to get the most out of your interview.
Part I: Interview or Job Fair Preparation:
Use a military skills translator and find the jobs that your skills translate to in the civilian world. Remember that these are a rough guide and not an exhaustive list. Many times your skills can translate to jobs or positions that are not seemingly aligned. This is where it is also important for you to do some research to see what it is you want to do job-wise. Research the jobs you want, the employers, and the job descriptions. Translate your experience to match where applicable.
Market yourself as broadly as possible – If you are an aircraft mechanic and only want to interview for aircraft mechanic jobs then market yourself very specifically in just that skillset. However, if you want to look at other possibilities in mechanics from auto mechanics to wind turbine mechanics to oilfield mechanics then be more broad with how you market your skills within mechanics. Highlight mechanics related skills that translate across several disciplines.
When you are preparing for a job fair and you know there will be a variety of employers, make sure to have several resumes in different formats that are industry specific. You can also have resumes on hand that are very specific to your ideal job on hand in case you are leaning to a particular specific position. HINT: keep each resume kind in a file folder that is clearly labeled so that you can quickly and easily access them when moving from employer to employer.
Resume Format – Know the correct format for your particular industry. There are on-line resources that give plenty of examples of resumes; focus more on the examples for your particular industry. For instance, an engineering firm wants a conservative resume, a graphic design firm wants something with creative flair. However, if you are applying for a government contracting position with a company such as Lockheed Martin or Boeing they will most likely have a format they want you to put your resume into. Check out this link for some industry specific examples:
Network, Network, Network – Use LinkedIn, make your profile as neat and professional as possible. Use the above pointers, such as being brief but concise.
Look for and maintain network connections with people in the fields you are looking at going into. Network with people doing the work you want to do. Do not pass up opportunities to meet with these connections in person. Take concrete steps to meet these connections, especially in person. When reaching out to a potential connection on the internet, especially on LinkedIn make sure to make your message personal, do not use the default message.
As a veteran you are given a year of LinkedIn pro. Make that happen. (Offer is good as of the writing of this article)
In your network connections make sure you have a few trusted professional connections that can review your resume, and your LinkedIn page to make sure that they are as professional as possible.
Those trusted mentors are good resources for practicing your interviewing skills with.
Network with professional organizations, groups, and clubs that have people in your industry as members.
Dress to Impress – When interviewing put your best foot forward with regards to your appearance. When interviewing for a job it is important to go with business dress, a suit or at minimum; slacks, button down shirt, and a tie. Vests can be worn as well but try to keep your overall appearance conservative. That bright red silk shirt might be great but keep it for another occasion. If you need to appear in uniform ensure that your uniform is impeccable. ACUs are never acceptable for an interview or when meeting employers at a job fair. The exception to this would be if there is a job/career fair that is brought to your (military) location during duty hours and it is understood that everyone will be in ACUs.
These tips and suggestions should help you move toward landing the job you are looking for and starting on an exciting new career.
Check out the Tools and Resources page on our website for valuable links to help in your veteran job search or your military transition.
Make sure you bookmark this site and come back for parts 2 and 3 where we will continue with social media and interview tips and suggestions.
If you are looking for a chance to put some of these tips and suggestions to work for you then make sure you come to the Veteran Employment Transition Networking Event on November 17th. This event will give you the opportunity to meet with potential employers, veterans organizations and more. Click here for more info…