Some veterans dread the thought of returning to civilian employment. Often, they're concerned that their military experience will not translate into marketable skills. However, strategies abound for you to track down military-friendly employers and position yourself in the best possible light. Here are some tips.
How to find military-friendly employers
All companies and organizations hire veterans, but some offer specific programs to attract former military personnel. Victory Media publishes an annual list of its top 100 military-friendly employers, which can be a useful research tool. VetCentral also publishes a list of federal contractors and other vet-friendly employers. These lists can be a good starting point for narrowing down your job search.
Other resources for veterans
Another great place to find employment is at military job fairs. There are several online resources available for researching job fairs based on location, such as Stars and Stripes Veteran Job Center and VR (Veteran Recruiting). To save time and money, you can harness the power of the Internet by attending a virtual career fair.
Additionally, the U.S. government offers veterans many services geared toward helping them job search, obtain education and training, and sign up for benefits. The GI Bill is one of the best-known programs.
How to make a great impression
- Research – Gather as much information as possible on companies you're targeting. Do they have special programs for veterans or available positions that require security clearance?
- A focused resume – This document should highlight transferable skills and experience, such as leadership roles, soft skills such as communication abilities, and technical expertise. Civilian employers may not be familiar with military terminology, so spell out any acronyms.
- A job-specific cover letter – For private sector positions, a cover letter provides an opportunity to briefly showcase how you can contribute in specific ways.
- Appropriate clothing – When meeting with hiring managers and recruiters at job fairs and recruiting events, you should dress for the desired job. A professional appearance and appropriate clothing always make a good impression. Extra copies of your resume should be tucked neatly into a folder, computer bag or small handbag.
- A positive attitude – As always, a genuine smile, firm handshake and upbeat manner make any job applicant more desirable.
Searching for a job can be a daunting process, but many top employers value military veterans as prospective employees. Following these steps can help you successfully translate your experience into desirable skills for military-friendly employers.