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.
When some individuals hit a wall in the job-hunting process, they slow down and stagnate. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the difficulty of finding a job and opt to fret, rather than doing something productive. However, according to the Huffington Post, there are at least five things people can do to help pull themselves out of a job-hunting slump. If you ever get stuck in the process, use these five tips to pull ahead:
Examine your personal network
Studies show that most jobs are found through personal connections. Whether through a friend or business associate, such as a former coworker, these relationships aren’t just a safety net -- they’re the pillars of your ability to find work. Many professionals will tell you that if they ever lost their jobs, they have a support network that would help them find a new one or point them in the right direction.
If you haven’t yet started your career, think about how you can develop a network of contacts. It might sound like a fiendish treasure hunt, but reaching out to people at job fairs, school, during internships, and those you met in the military are good places to start. The important thing to remember is that it’s best to already have some type of relationship with these individuals – asking for "cold" help from someone who barely remembers you is not your best option.
Look into veteran-friendly organizations
In response to the difficulties that veterans face when transitioning to the civilian world, there are numerous organizations that help veterans find work. Sometimes they’ll lead you to job fairs, and sometimes they have direct job opportunities. Remember that just being a veteran qualifies you for many types of assistance.
Build your résumé through volunteering and interning
It’s impossible to overstress the importance of volunteer work and internships when you’re in-between jobs. They aren’t just for students or recent college grads: they keep your skills sharp, show that you’re passionate about your chosen field, and may open doors for more work. Such work is critical if you don’t have enough experience in the industry of your choosing; most starting-level positions are difficult to obtain without a few years of experience. Even if you’re working another job, make time to work in a capacity that’s relevant to your chosen field.
Use your "soft" skills to get ahead
Most job postings come with a litany of professional qualifications, so it’s easy to forget that some of the basic, so-called "soft" skills are important as well. Soft skills are professional attributes that should be ubiquitous among all professionals -- communication, teamwork, leadership, and work ethic are some of the bigger ones. You won’t be able to get a job just by having these traits, but if they accompany a well-rounded resume, you’ll have an edge.
Tell the story of you
Don’t let a seemingly inhuman process get you down; make yourself stand out in your résumé and cover letter. Show off the professional you: what experiences make you uniquely qualified and what makes you an exceptional candidate. Using social media, such as blogging, can also give you a more unique identity to potential employers.
Article courtesy of Military.com