The working world is no different. No matter what you did in the military, no matter how competent you are with the core skills necessary to do the job you want, it takes training and experience to climb the ranks. Although some may move quickly, the learning curve is unavoidable.
When they join the civilian workforce, it’s important that veterans realize they are, more often than not, taking a step down. Their responsibilities won’t be as intense or, likely, important as they were in the military. Accepting that is imperative to maintaining a focused, realistic perspective.
How do you condense the depth and breadth of your work history and military experience into a single sheet of paper? According to Business Insider, you don’t. The trick is to cherry-pick jobs and tasks from your work history, military experience included, that are most relevant to the job you’re applying for. That means you might need to create a slew of resumes for different applications, but doing so will prove fruitful. An employer will respond more favorably to a resume that clearly identifies what in your history suits you well to the open position rather than a laundry list of miscellaneous accomplishments.
The civilian working world takes LinkedIn seriously, and so should you. You don’t have to be a social media expert, but creating a complete profile and remaining open to networking opportunities will serve well any job-seeker. Some may even argue it’s a necessity. A LinkedIn profile shows off that you’re capable of navigating modern technology and adapting to shifting business standards. Even if you don’t have your sights set on working in upper management, having an easily accessible professional online profile will help you regardless of your chosen industry.
A few years ago, scoffing at Myspace or the then young Facebook wasn’t an outmoded thing to do. Social media started off as an interesting way to reach out to others online, but only recently has it exploded into a nearly ubiquitous cultural phenomenon and enraptured the working world. Just as with LinkedIn, you don’t have to be an expert but competency will make you a stronger candidate.
Websites like Facebook and Google+ allow you to remain in contact with individuals who may offer you a new job; even if you don’t see each other face to face on a regular basis, professionals tend to remember who they like and trust when it’s time to fill a position. Furthermore, Twitter isn’t just for bragging about food or lamenting about “first world problems” – hiring managers and companies alike often tweet about job openings and provide information about their company, industry, and other useful information.
No matter how many jokes you’ve heard about professionals successfully faking their way through work, the reality is that valuable employees train, prepare, and make sure they’re ready to accomplish a given task. Job interviews aren’t to be taken lightly, and research and practice can only help you. The more you know about a company and the industries it’s a part of, the more knowledgeable and prepared you’ll appear during an interview. Potential employers respond well to candidates who show genuine interest, and that’s proven by knowing who they are, what they do, who their competition is, what industry trends they’re grappling with; the list goes on and on.
Thank you notes are simple, easy, and help you stand out. After a job interview, get busy procuring and crafting your note, and make sure it gets to the right people as soon as possible. Having said that, it’s not enough to write: “Dear potential employer, thank you for the interview. I’m awesome. Take care, veteran of the U.S. Military.” The thank you needs to be accompanied by genuine introspection. Recall what you discussed during the interview, and mention one or two points in the thank you note. The note itself is a mark of appreciation, but what you write is an indicator of what you learned and how much you pay attention.
If you really don’t know what you want to do professionally, your job-searching forays are a poor time and place to figure it out. Candidates who lack focus aren’t appealing to employers. You might not know what you want to do, but no one else will figure it out for you, especially hiring managers and recruiters. Rather than use job listings and the application process to find your path, try securing informational interviews, attending gatherings for different careers, and researching online.”