12 Ways to Land That Civilian Job
You’ve proven your commitment, discipline and resourcefulness in the military world. Now, it’s time to trade in your experience for a great job. Just like everything, it’s all about readiness and attitude. Start early. Be prepared. Go for it. Military OneSource has the tools and resources to help you land your next job. (All links below open in new windows.)
1. Verify yourself. Your Verification of Military Experience and Training summarizes your skills, knowledge and experience, and suggests civilian equivalent job titles. To obtain a copy of your VMET, visit the milConnect website.
2. Get a career assessment. You have considerable strengths and skills. Now, how can they be applied to a civilian job? A career assessment can point the way. Contact your local transition assistance office and ask your counselor how you can be set up with a career assessment free of charge.
3. Translate your experience. Your military licenses or certifications might not be recognizable to the civilian world. Learn how to translate your training and experience into skills employers recognize with Credentialing Opportunities Online. Visit the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service website to learn more and locate your service branch’s COOL website.
4. Assess, repeat. Narrow your search to a few career fields, check salary information and common skill requirements. The CareerOneStop website, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, offers free skills and interest assessments, career exploration tools and much more. They also have a section specifically for transitioning service members, veterans and military spouses. Decide on the type of job, pay range and location you’re willing to accept. But don’t pigeonhole yourself. If you’re not making headway, adjust your expectations or explore new options.
5. Tap your transition assistance office. Take an employment workshop. Get referrals for employment agencies and recruiters, job leads, career counseling and computer access for online job searches. Transition assistance offices have a wealth of services. You can also visit the DOL’s Transition Assistance Program website for more resources.
6. Get out there. Take advantage of every resource and opportunity: recruiters, military transition offices, veteran service organizations and online information. Utilize and grow your network. Contact your nearest employment office or private employment agencies; however, make sure you know who’s paying the employment search fees. (These fees are usually paid by the company with the open position.) Check internet job sites, such as LinkedIn, Indeed and Glassdoor, and get recommendations for trustworthy sites from your contacts. Beware of employment and job search scams. Scammers look like legitimate employers — they advertise online and in newspapers — but they will ask for money or personal information. If something doesn’t seem right, research the company online for potential reports of scamming or consult your transition assistance office for help with verification.
7. Look good online. Employers check social media almost immediately when they’re thinking of hiring. If you have questionable material on your social media accounts, consider removing any content that could be misconstrued or portray you as an undesirable hire. Be sure to have a professional email address and headshot. Create or update your profile on LinkedIn and other job site profiles so that you are ready when an opportunity arises.
8. Prepare for your interview. Learn more about attributes of a successful job search for help with interview preparation. Your transition assistance office can also help you prepare for your interviews.
9. Hit the job fairs. Whether in person or virtual, jobs fairs are one-stop shopping. Meet potential employers, share resumes and interview on the spot, all in one place. Look professional and practice your interview skills beforehand. Learn about upcoming job fairs and who will be there at your transition assistance office as well as online. Check out CareerOneStop’s tips for creating or updating your resume.
10. Go from military to federal opportunities. Find civilian jobs online with the federal government through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. You can also create an account and build your resume at USAJOBS. Brush up on federal hiring with FedsHireVets.
11. Network, then network some more. Networking is one of the most effective of all job search tools. You’ve made a lot of great connections during your time in the service. Transition is the right time to start putting them to work. Get in touch with friends and fellow veterans. It’s just a good thing anyway to re-establish friendships as you transition. According to a 2016 report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics and Yale University, 70% percent of jobs are found through networking. Put yourself on the radar to help land that interview. Learn more from CareerOneStop about why networking is your most important job search strategy.
12. Take advantage of your status. Many organizations are committed to helping veterans find a good job. Look for groups with programs for service members such as:
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes initiative
- Soldier for Life
- Marine for Life
- Military Officers Association of America
- Non Commissioned Officers Association
- United Service Organizations
Your military experience is valuable to many employers. Not many people have your proven work ethic and dedication. Like everything, finding the right job is a matter of being prepared and doing the work. You’re in the military. You know how to make that happen. And there are people and resources to back you up.
Have additional questions about your transition and job search? Military OneSource consultants are available 24/7/365 to help. Call 800-342-9647, view international calling options or schedule a live chat for personalized support.