Transitioning from one stage of a career to the next can be a somewhat daunting prospect, even when you are a highly trained member of the military. And it’s true, moving from the military to civilian life is an adjustment in many ways, your career is just one of them. The truth is that deciding what your next career step should be and finding a new job are a big deal for everyone. We can all use advice on the journey.
That’s where we can help! We know a thing or two about how to find a job.
ATR has been bringing companies and people together for over 30 years. We’ve helped thousands, connecting IT, Engineering, Finance and other professionals to the businesses that need them in industries from Aerospace, to Technology, Life Sciences, Telecom and Financial Services. We’re job search experts and we’ve written on numerous job-related topics over the years, including the many discrete parts of the process.
We’re happy to share our knowledge and experience. In fact, we think it’s our responsibility to do so. Most of the advice we give is applicable to every job seeker. Whether it’s advice about your resume (The Best Advice All in One Place, Learn From Leonardo Da Vinci’s Resume), how to network (Building Relationships Helps Build Your Tech Career), preparing for interviews (Three New Tools That Make The Interview Process Better), or online tools and social media (How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile), we’ve got you covered.
Our people have shared their knowledge and experience about numerous topics. Please take advantage of it. We think it will be helpful. Knowledge is a powerful tool.
As much as all job seekers are alike though, there are some ways where they are not. Here is some advice about things that veterans of the military should be especially aware of.
What job are you looking for?
It’s the big question for everyone, to some degree, but for those in the military it’s even bigger. Military skills are transferable; military job titles usually aren’t. What industry or type of company do you want to work in? You may be an Air Force veteran and want to put your IT skills to work at an aerospace company, or you might want to do something different like financial services. Maybe you don’t even have that much decided on.
If you’ve got a plan, great! If not, there’s help. Think about what you like to do or what kind of work your personality and skills are suited to. There are many good books on the subject that can help you through the process. The internet can be a good resource for information. You may want to consider what jobs you need a degree for or what jobs pay the most and where – all things which can help you narrow your search. The military offers assessment tools and assistance, so take advantage of those.
You can also work with a recruiter.
Recruiters are immersed in this stuff. It’s their fulltime mission to understand hiring and salary trends, the culture of the companies they work with, and how to match employees with a position and company where they can be happy and successful. A good recruiter knows the questions to ask you and they listen. They may help you uncover things you didn’t see about yourself, and they almost certainly will know about jobs that you didn’t even know existed. They can help you discover your path forward and the best opportunities out there. Check out “Develop a relationship with a tech recruiter. It will help your career.” to learn more.
Your resume is critical. It can open OR close a door for you. You know that. It’s critical for everyone. For you, there is a particular thing you need to be careful of: make sure your resume isn’t laden with military jargon or language. Don’t confuse people. Most hiring managers do not understand military jargon. At all. They don’t know that a Field Grade Officer is the civilian equivalent of a manager. A title such as Electronic Warfare Specialist or as direct as Sniper may very well scare someone off!
Fair or not, it’s the truth. Make sure you translate your experience as much as possible into corporate speak. Using terms that the civilian hiring managers recognize will allow them to better understand how your skills apply to their position, as well as demonstrate your ability to integrate into their company’s culture. Our advice to all job seekers is to tailor their resumes to the company and job description as much as possible. Jargon and slang can creep in from any industry or previous role on a resume. For veteran job seekers, it’s even more important to make sure it doesn’t. Check out The Best Resume Advice All in One Place to learn more.
Your resume is important, but it is not the only way you get a job; it’s the way you get an interview. Your interviews are even more critical to success. The best advice always, always, always, is prepare (Don’t do this on a video interview!) and then prepare some more (The Must Do’s of Phone and Video Interviews). And then prepare again (4 Videos to Watch Before Your Next Big Interview). All of this applies to anyone who is going to an interview. But for veterans there is one specific thing that they should watch out for – being too humble.
The military teaches “WE” for everything. In our experience, Veterans are often overly humble in an interview, saying “my team did this” instead of “My role was to.” That’s great in the military, and sharing credit for success is an admirable leadership quality, but you need to sell yourself too. Don’t make it seem like the team did something without you. Take justified credit for your contribution and highlight it appropriately. The company isn’t hiring a team; they’re hiring a person – you. It’s fine to share credit and not brag, but be sure they hear “me” in there too!
Job Searching as a Veteran
Sure, there’s some anxiety that goes along with change, and changing jobs is a big step, but it’s a positive. It’s something to be celebrated much more than feared. So, thank you for doing your military “job.” We are truly grateful. And, congratulations on entering the next phase of your career! Take advantage of the help and advice that is available to you and the process will be less painful and much more successful. Remember that we are here to help. Send us your resume and give us a call.
If you’re a veteran looking for your next career opportunity, contact us. We can help!