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.
If you’re currently in college or thinking about attending, it’s critical that you think about getting work experience while a student. Even holding down a minimum-wage job can make you seem a little savvier than the competition, but some positions are stronger résumé -material than others.
U.S. News recently collected seven jobs that are available on most campuses and look great to hiring managers. If you’re worried that you won’t have enough time to work, just remember that many of these jobs are part time, and a little effort in the working world while obtaining a degree can provide the edge you’ll need when looking for a job.
1. Social media coordinators. If you’re in college, you probably know some social media junkies and may be one yourself. If you’re a Facebook guru and master of the tweet, then a smart career move would be to get yourself a social media coordinator position. It doesn’t matter which company you reach out to, as long as you’re good at the job; future employers won’t look at what you worked on, only how effective you were at doing it. The job requires a certain degree of creativity and social finesse, but it can be lucrative. Fit it within your class schedule, and provide a wealth of marketable experience.
2. Campus brand ambassador. Ads for campus brand ambassador positions seem to pop up everywhere, so much so that they might seem like "spam," but they’re not something to take lightly. Being a brand ambassador gives you a little bit of power to flex your creative muscles. Rather than performing a monotonous task for a paycheck, brand ambassadors need to find viable solutions for marketing a particular product to a college community. They become mini-marketing managers, and this type of experience demonstrates work ethic, sales knowledge, and an understanding of marketing strategy.
3. Help desk staff or computer salesperson. Time spent on working with computers is never time wasted, even if you’re troubleshooting minor issues or selling them. It’s an opportunity to learn about new technologies and leverage your experience in future job interviews. It may not seem like much, but being able to talk about years of customer service, repair and sales experience will look much better on paper than nothing.
4. Office or institutional research assistant. Researching, analyzing data and producing reports are all very important skills. They’re the kind of tools that job-seekers can use when discussing why they’re qualified for one position or another. Few industries are completely stagnant, so demonstrating that you can learn something, process it and communicate that information will give your employment chances a big push.
5. Career center staffer. Staffers frequently work with new people and learn about the job application process; both can be very useful in finding a job. Working with a steady stream of people provides an opportunity to learn how to work with different cultures and personality types. Understanding the ins and outs of applying for jobs will also give you plenty of experience with a tedious task.
6. Group exercise teacher. Taking on this role gives you leadership and teaching experience, and you’ll get in shape doing it. By leading classes in fitness, you’ll be demonstrating that you’re responsible enough for people to depend on you, and that you have the will and finesse to lead an entire group. Even if you’re not looking for work in a related industry, this is the type of position that can give you many important skills.
7. Chief executive of your own startup. It may sound like too much to tackle, but attempting to start and run a small business is actually a great crash-course in learning about the working world. You don’t have to try to be the next Google – pick a skill that you have and figure out how to leverage it as a company. This can range from knitting scarves, to consulting, to washing cars. Creating your own startup enterprise will display leadership, work ethic and first-hand knowledge of how businesses are run.