Once separated from the military, transitioning veterans will be faced with new challenges entering the struggling civilian job market. Older veterans will be faced with age discrimination and budget cuts. Younger veterans will be faced with salaries not matching their experience and stiff competition. As a veteran though, you can better your odds finding employment opportunities by avoiding making these common job-hunting mistakes.
Lets start with these four tips first.
Using one Method for Job-Hunting
1 – Thanks to technology today, job searching can be done in your own home, though other ways can be just as beneficial. Conducting your job search over the Internet will be the most efficient way to find employment opportunities. Never rely 100% on applying to positions online, since nothing is guaranteed you will hear back in a timely fashion as myself and other veterans have experienced with www.usajobs.gov. Instead, try using other tactics such as looking for employment opportunities in Newspaper and magazine ads, taking a trip to your local Department of Labor office and let’s not forget attending one of the many job fairs. After applying for a position, always be sure to follow up with a phone call to show your interest and inquire about the status of your application. Also think about the option to create a separate email account to receive job notices from veteran friendly job boards and websites. Having a separate email account will alleviate confusion with personal emails and also keep you up to date with current job openings.
Disregarding Social Media
2 – A 2010 article in Military Times Edge titled “The New Networking” by Adam Stone, shares tips for using social media in your job search. Social media is no longer just about staying connected with your military buddies, today it is used for networking, job searching and even by fortune 500 companies for recruiting. LinkedIn is the best in the business when it comes to networking with key personnel. Having a well written resume may be great, but simply that alone doesn’t guarantee your resume will be reviewed. Knowing someone in the right position could have a greater influence on whether or not you get called for an interview. Networking is so important today, simply by having a professional page on sites like LinkedIn can get you noticed and even a job.
Resume “Not up to speed”
3 – Sending out a resume with poor grammar, misspelled words, false information and once again “Military Jargon” won’t cut it. Having others look over your resume can make a world of difference when applying for employment. Being honest on a resume will only help you when it comes to answering questions during an interview. When it comes to military jargon there is only one rule, “keep it off your resume”. Using websites such as www.Onet.com or www.MyNextMove.org for veterans will enable you to turn that military jargon into civilian words and skills. An employer will greatly appreciate being able to understand the experience you gained in uniform without having to translate language using the Dept. of Defense Dictionary of Military Terms.
Lack of knowledge about your civilian career field
4 – Knowing everything there is to know about your career field is a must. When it comes to finding out where the jobs are posted, the important people to connect with and being prepared for the interview. Some fields have specific websites or job boards for employment opportunities. For example, for someone in the education field here on long Island, you will know that olasjobs.org is one of the go to sites for open positions. However, you may not have known that not every school lists openings on this site. Though if you had taken networking seriously with key personnel in the field, you will have a better understanding of other resources such as the NY Times Newspaper, schools personal websites and education personnel should all be on your go to list when job-hunting. When it comes to interviews, knowing as much as you can about your field is a no-brainer. For example, one question you can usually expect on an interview is “what do you know about our company” or as a reader mentioned “What can you do for the company”?
Be sure to find my articles in “Best for Vets” in the Military Times