Veterans Transitioning to Civilian Careers
Job Search and Networking Strategies
Leadership, communication, teamwork, resource planning and competitive strategy are qualities most veterans acquire while on active duty. These valuable skills are transferable to a variety of civilian careers as you transition out of the military. Networking can be a powerful tool in your job search; it connects you to people who need what you have.
Job Search and Networking Strategies
Consider joining veterans' organizations that have networking events. They allow you to connect to an extremely vast network of veterans who understand your concerns, anxieties, struggles, desires and goals. We work with several of these organizations to attract military veterans who are looking to transition into civilian careers. Managers want to hire people who are not only competent, but who they would also enjoy working with, so be positive and never bad-mouth your current or previous employer or leadership.
Remember that companies are looking to fill positions and want to make meaningful and memorable connections with candidates. Put your best foot forward, put away your nervousness and engage in conversation.
Career Fair Tips and Strategies
- If you can do a bit of reconnaissance ahead of time to scout which companies will be at the career fair, it will save you time and help focus your efforts.
- Identify the top five companies that most interest you.
- Go to the company website for each of those five companies and look at what openings you’re interested in.
- On the website, create a profile and upload/enter your resume and apply to at least one opening.
At the Event
Some events are more crowded than others. Consider arriving at the beginning of an event to secure your spot at the front of the line. Check to see if the recruiting team is conducting on-site interviews or collecting resumes.
What to Say
- Have something to talk to a recruiter/manager about when you meet them in person.
- Have an idea of what you would like to do. Do not try to figure out what the recruiter wants to hear, but speak from the heart about your passions, skills and desires.
- Aim toward your ideal goal or position and let the recruiter/manager know where you want to go.
Here are a few ice breakers:
- What’s something you like about working at your company?
- Tell me about the culture at your company.
- How many veterans do you employ at your company?
- What kind of positions are you hiring for at this time?
- Preparation is key to a successful interview.
- Review the job description.
- Perform an internet search of the job title and see what results appear online, including other individuals who have the position currently.
- Create a list of career accomplishments that support your candidacy for the position.
- Prepare a list of questions specific to the position, company and employer benefits offered.
- During the interview, take time to reflect on your answers, be confident in the valuable skills and experience you have, and remember to relax, smile and breathe.
- After the interview, send a thank-you note to the interview team and follow up with the recruiter to get the status of your candidacy.
- Handwritten notes are memorable, but not always necessary. A well-written email can be very effective and is timelier. If you don’t have the manager’s email address, it is okay to ask the recruiter to forward your note on to the manager.
Most importantly, never settle. Your experience is unique and valuable; your career should be too.
What to Bring
- Review your resume and bring multiple paper copies with you.
- Keep an electronic copy of your resume (in a PDF format) ready on your mobile device. More and more organizations are going paperless, so this is a quick answer for resume submission. You can email a copy directly to any recruiter/manager that asks for it.
- Bring breath mints and a handkerchief with you. You will be doing a lot of talking, your mouth will get dry, and eventually, your breath will be affected.
- Also, bring a handkerchief or tissues, as you may get nervous or warm, resulting in sweaty hands.