Finding work when you're a veteran can seem like a hopeless and daunting task. You may have a disability, or your schedule may be hectic, and it could be hard to find an employer who is understanding when it comes to potential medical needs. However, there are significant ways that you can get ahead of the competition in your job search and put yourself that much closer to a face to face or digital job interview.
1. You Have Unique Skills
There's no question that you learned a lot during your time in the military. So emphasize your transferrable skills like leadership, strategy and planning experience, ability to remain calm during crisis situations, and so on. Not only do these skills look great on your resume, but they can transfer into work settings, too.
Chances are you have an extensive network of people you know. Take advantage of that network-- someone may know about a position that you may not have been aware of, and he or she can vouch for you as a candidate. Your referrer can emphasize your skills and how you would be a great employee. To find great referral advocates, reach out to previous mentors or co-workers, or attend veteran-friendly networking events. If you have any past employers, try there, too.
3. Social Media
Consider using social networking platforms to tell your story. Your LinkedIn bio can show how your time in the military shaped you as a professional and how your experiences would benefit an organization, and you can join helpful job search groups there. Additionally, Facebook can help you in discussions and networking.
A number of organizations and employers pride themselves on being veteran friendly. Oftentimes, there will be a button on their website or a blurb on their external platforms which emphasizes their desire to hire veterans. Do some research into who these organizations are, and if they look like a good match for you, apply. GI Jobs is a great starting point for identifying those companies, and can help you get started.
5. Know the Law
Unfortunately, discrimination against veterans does happen, though veterans are protected under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), which was established under the Department of Labor in 1994 to protect civilian job rights and benefits for veterans and members of Reserve components.
If you encounter discrimination in your job search, reach out to the Department of Labor, which will help you process claims. They'll evaluate what they can do to help you, and pursue the problem if need be.
You've served our country, and many Americans are grateful to you for that. In the process, you learned a number of great skills that will make you an incredible employee. Though it may seem like your job search is difficult, you have a tremendous number of advantages. Just stick to these tips and keep at it to maximize the effectiveness of your job search.
-- Dan served in the Army Reserves for 8 years. During that time he advanced to the rank of Seargent and spent 15 months in Iraq in 2003 as a combat medic supporting the infantry. You can connect with Dan Hixson, Regional Sales Manager at HireVue on LinkedIn or contact him with questions at email@example.com.
If you or someone you know would like to improve your digital interviewing skills while preparing to transition to the civilian workforce, contact firstname.lastname@example.org – we have internal programs to help you succeed and partner with organizations that can assist in your job search!