When it comes time to put your uniform away and begin transitioning into civilian life after years of military service, you may be feeling confident about your job prospects. After all, the military taught you a variety of valuable skills, including leadership and how to be a team player.You would be an asset to any employer.
Unfortunately, the unemployment rate for veterans is much higher than that of the general population. That means there could be a disconnect somewhere between the skills valued military members offer and those that civilian employers are looking for.
The following reasons are why many veterans fail to get hired, but the accompanying tips will help ensure that you’re not one of them.
Mistake: Not realizing that starting over may mean taking a step back.
You may have attained a high level of experience and enjoyed a leadership position in the military, but you should be prepared to accept that you are starting over with a new career. It’s unlikely that you will be able to move directly into a managerial position.
Even if you possess all of the transferable skills that you prospective employer is looking for, don’t be offended if they offer you a position that is less than what you had hoped for. Just remember that as you gain valuable experience at the entry level, your military experience will help you move up the ladder much faster.
Mistake: Not translating your military experience into civilian friendly terms.
Very few civilian employers are able to translate military terminology into terminology they can understand. In other words, most will have no idea how your military skills, education and experience applies to the job they are offering.
It’s a good idea for you to anticipate this and go ahead and do the heavy lifting for them. Show them how your skills and experience are exactly what they need.
You also want to use as many relevant employer friendly keywords. Especially if you are going to be uploading your resume into one or more job related websites. Potential employers will be able to find you much easier when you’ve made sure to include the keywords they are looking for.
Mistake: Not preparing for your interview.
Because of your vast experience dealing with promotion boards and other interview situations during the course of your military career, you may feel that preparing for your interview is unnecessary.
Unfortunately, military veterans can have a somewhat undeserved reputation for being overly rigid or too formal. By practicing your interview approach a few times, you can overcome the stiffness that results from being nervous.
Be sure to to do your homework on the company. Visit their website and do an online search to find out what other employees past and present have had to say about the company. At the very least, make sure you know what the company does (it’s not always obvious). Be prepared with a few questions of your own that demonstrate your enthusiasm for the job or for the company and their mission.
Mistake: Not getting the specific skills that you need.
There is always the chance that the reason you aren’t being hired is because you lack the specific skill set that the employer is looking for. Of course, the skills and work ethic that you are bringing to the table are valuable, but there could be gaps.
Before applying for a position, you can talk to someone in the industry you are hoping to enter and find out what type of background and education employers are expecting.
If you discover any gaps in your education or skills, you can deal with this very easily by taking a few college level courses at a local community college or university. Accepting a temporary position through a temp agency can also help you gain any necessary experience.
Jasmine Cooper is a blogger with constant and unquenched thirst for self-improvement. She works at Get Qualified Australia – professionals in the field of education.