As mentioned in a previous post, DVNF hosted a webinar for veterans in search of employment. Our speaker, Christopher Kerney, discussed the many different ways that military experience can actually give a veteran a leg up on the competition.
A problem that so many veterans have is with the wording of their resume. When using military-specific terms, it often tends to go right past the HR manager. Kerney mentioned that around 48% of hiring managers have a difficult time understanding military hierarchy. He also said that when a veteran is interviewing for a position, there is a common (and unfair) preconceived notion held by hiring managers that the veteran will have issues that affect work performance, such as PTSD or active duty recall. While these instances certainly seem to put you at a disadvantage, it is your job as a veteran to sell yourself and prove to the interviewer that you are more than qualified for the position!
Kerney stated that there is a basic list of items that recruiters look for. There are ways to market yourself and check off all of the items on that list.
- Self-confidence- Along with self-confidence, you must be able to show that you are mature and willing to accept responsibility.
- Ability to take initiative
- Adaptability and creativity
- Positive attitude
- Sense of humor
- Organization- the ability to balance personal life and work effectively.
All of the items on this list should be inherently ingrained within you from your military service. All of these items are vital for service members, and undoubtedly carry on past your term of active duty. Now, all that is necessary is to use these characteristics to your advantage on your resume and in interviews.
Though many roles in the military won’t directly translate into the civilian world, the intangibles that were acquired in the military absolutely will. For instance, if you were a Marine sniper, you will hopefully not be using that skill in an office setting! However, you probably did lead small teams to navigate your way through high pressure situations, which can tell the hiring manager a lot about your courage, leadership skills and ability to work under pressure.
Other intangibles earned in the military that will likely be unmatched by any civilian: your organizational skills and your integrity. The military teaches these things from your first day in basic and they are carried on throughout your lifetime. And you better believe that they are important in the workplace!
If you are thinking to yourself that you have demonstrated all these characteristics, but still can’t find a job, then there are some additional steps that could benefit you. While there are many skills taught in the military, unfortunately you are still going to need some valuable work experience in the type of job that you are pursuing. For example, if you are applying for a job as an analyst with a company, they will likely choose a candidate who has been employed in a related position with a couple years of experience. Though you can undoubtedly do the job, there are still things you can learn in an office setting that will better prepare you for a career. Internships, while low-paying (or no-paying!), are very useful for your portfolio. They are a great way to earn valuable experience, prove yourself, and get a great reference for future opportunities.
If you are a veteran in search of some more useful information on finding a job, please visit the archived webinar section of our website!