When you leave the military, the biggest question is "what's next?" It's a scary job market right now, but the skills you've received in the military make you highly marketable. The Legion sponsors dozens of veterans hiring fairs each year, and our employment experts also provide tips to writing resumes, networking and making a strong impression in the interview process.
Savvy job-seekers know there are six things everyone must do to prepare for a successful job search.
-Write a great résumé. Your résumé is your personal marketing tool. It should showcase key positions held, notable achievements and projects, honors and awards, academic credentials, and other distinguishing skills.
-Write lean and clean e-letters. Traditional cover letters have morphed into concise and hard-hitting e-letters that highlight your résumé's most notable points to entice the reader to continue.
-Prepare an elevator pitch. When someone asks what you do, be able to communicate "who" you are with ease and simplicity, like so: "I'm a network engineer best known for the ease in functionality of my designs."
-Get on LinkedIn. Amid all the social-media noise, one site - http://www.linkedin.com - is heads above the rest in its current value for job search. Get on LinkedIn, write a strong career profile rich with achievements and keywords, and start building your network. Other social sites can also be of value, but LinkedIn is definitely No. 1 for careers.
-Work your traditional network. Your friends, co-workers, neighbors and others have other friends and co-workers. Nothing is more effective than one-on-one networking.
-Always follow up. Follow up with an e-mail or phone call after every interview and with everyone you meet. You never know who that person knows who may very well want to know you.
Wendy Enelow is co-author of "Expert Résumés for Military-to-Civilian Transitions" and "Executive Résumé Toolkit." http://www.wendyenelow.com