It was May 2011 and I couldn’t wait for the last few days of my college education. Completing 6yrs of college was going to be an incredible achievement in my life. It was my goal in the beginning to attend school and go for something I truly would love to do once I separated from the service. Once I graduated, I was ready to finally start my new career working as a School Guidance Counselor. Though I knew the task would be a little tough trying to find a job in my new field during these times, I wasn’t ready to realize just how tough it would be.
Even before graduating in May I had already began the job hunting process looking for employment in state. I had applied to local public schools, colleges and even to a couple of military schools such as West Point and the Naval Maritime Academy through USA Jobs. Although I know how horrible the economy is, I didn’t want to believe it was so bad that at the end of the summer I’d be in the same position I was in from the beginning, working part time for the government. Having applied to over 24 positions only to hear back from one school with the message of “Although we are very impressed with your resume, we have chosen someone else” took a big hit on my confidence. Sadly, that email was closest I came to an interview so far.
Some may read this blog and think I’m seeking sympathy, which is not the case at all. I know things can be a lot worse and many of you are dealing with extremes right now. I’m writing this blog to share what I have been going through, what approaches I have taken to hopefully help others, and what I have learned in the process. Being stressed, losing confidence, blaming self and getting frustrated are emotions I have been going through during this process, but its common and understandable. Though these emotions cannot steer me away from my ultimate goal of becoming a Guidance Counselor, I’ve worked way to hard to get to this point and quitting is not an option (something I’m sure you heard repeated during boot camp).
Staying positive in tough times is what I must do in order to accomplish my ultimate goal. Though times are tough when it comes to getting a job or even an interview, one must continue to stay focus and be prepared for that moment you are given that opportunity. Below is what I have applied and learned during job hunting and hopefully it will help you as well.
– Understand the difficult times we are facing with so many losing their jobs and so many applying for jobs. This helps when you want to put all the blame onto yourself for not finding work, when in reality there is so much competition out there now with so many looking for work.
– Apply in state, out of state, city, suburbs, overseas, wherever to give yourself more opportunities.
– Continue to network, by volunteering or contacting people in the field of choice.
– Post your resume everywhere and be sure to check off employers can view your resume. Websites to post your resume include Linkedin, Careerbuilder, Monster, all Federal job banks (http://transitioningveteran.com/wiki/index.php?title=Job/Internships_Links#Government_Job_Banks), just to name a few of the best.
– Use every resource out there to help in your search for work such as websites, newspapers, programs and anywhere else job postings and employment help can be found.
– Apply to as many opportunities as possible. Never apply to one position with high hopes of hearing back. Sad to say, but while waiting to hear back you are probably missing out on other opportunities. Some employment opportunities also are posted with a specific application deadline, however before that deadline is up, the company has already hired someone and postings can come and go in a matter of days.
– Use your connections, I use to think just having a great resume was all you needed, when in fact it’s not the case anymore with so much competition.
– Use your time wisely to learn more about your profession so when that call does reach you about an interview, you will be well prepared to show you are the best choice for the position.
– Make changes to your resume if need be.
– Stay positive and patient, though tough to say that when sometimes I find myself losing patience. Talking to others and seeking guidance is something that gets me back on track when I find myself drifting towards negative thoughts.
I hope what I have shared helps all of you who find yourselves in a similar situation. Be sure to check out Transitioning Veteran Wiki for resources to help you in your search. I wish you all the best. -Steve