Former military men are some of the most hardworking employees in the corporate world. Let us remember that the military is a sector where members are required to be disciplined at all times. Unfortunately, many Human Resources teams and personnel are quite wary of hiring former members of the military, fearing that they will be unable to adjust to jobs at the offices.
Plus, it isn’t unusual for many military men and women to want to quit being in uniform and look for employment elsewhere. However, there are many actively serving and veterans who cannot do the shift for fear that companies may not even want to consider their application.
Present military members and those who have left the service should remember that many firms and their hiring managers put a premium on applicants with a military background. As such, veterans should not postpone looking for a corporate job. Otherwise, cash might run out and former military members may end up getting personal loans for veterans rather than get money from their salaries.
It All Starts With a Resume
Understandably, military men are not adept in resume writing. And contrary to popular belief, writing a resume and handing them out remains the first step in getting a new job even during our digital age.
A resume is your first step to selling your skills, experience, educational background and achievements. It is also the first thing recruiters will see.
Most military members worry that their accomplishments and skills may not be needed nor relevant in the private sector. This, however, simply isn’t true as roughly 85 percent of military jobs have their equivalent posts in private firms. What you should do is to unravel your skills and experience and convey them in civilian terms.
You should include a summary of all your qualifications and skills. Make sure to write down your responsibilities for the posts you’ve held in the military. Don’t be shy about your accomplishments either. For example, if you were handling procurement for the military and was able to save the organization a certain percentage, then do not hesitate to list that responsibility and achievement.
If you have never written a resume or it has been years since you created one, then do not fret. After all, there are plenty of templates you can choose from the internet. Spend more time in the contents of your resume by thinking of all the relevant experience and qualifications in the military for the new job you’re applying for.
Networking Can Do Wonders
If you have your resume ready, then it’s time to look for ways to get them to employers. This is where networking comes in. Start within your circles— family and friends. Ask if their respective firms are hiring someone with your skills and expertise. Keep in mind that reaching out to people is the primary key to having more employment opportunities.
At the same time, you may want to leverage what the digital world has to offer. LinkedIn, for example, is one great way of networking online. This platform was specifically designed for professional networking. With your resume ready, you can start writing your profile easily. There’s also a bonus ready for veterans since LinkedIn offers a free one-year premium subscription for former military personnel. Use this freebie to your advantage.
What’s great about LinkedIn is that you can connect with your former colleagues, friends and even acquaintances from work. You can even ask former co-workers or people you have worked closely with for a recommendation. This platform also lets recruiters find and know more about you.
Additionally, you can attend events, job fairs, and networking symposia to find employment opportunities. You may be surprised at the number of available jobs that would fit your military service record.
Look the Part
While you’re getting ready to hear from your prospective employers, you should also start practicing looking the part. It may seem trivial, but dressing the part is essential in private industries.
Look at your set of clothes. If you have been in the military for years, then chances are your wardrobe consists mostly of your uniform. If you have decided to get a job in the private sector, then you will need to invest in your clothes. If you’re in corporate offices, then your daily attire should blend well with the boardrooms you’ll be spending time in. This means trading your boots for leather shoes and your uniform for corporate wear.
Do not make the mistake of going to an interview in your military uniform.
Prepare for the Interview
Getting an interview means that the prospective employer is considering hiring you for the post. As such, you need to convince your interviewer that you’re the right person for the job.
To prepare for this monumental event, you should start gathering more information about the company. It’s similar to the intel gathering you do in the military. Research about the firm, what it does, its vision and mission, and organization for starters.
Also, prepare your pitch. Think about what you can offer to the company given your previous military job. One of the concerns about military men applying for the private sector is their inability to sell themselves properly. Thus, it’s best to come prepared to answer questions on how well you can handle the new role you are applying for in relation to your previous job. The interviewer may also ask why the particular position appeals to you. Think of how you would answer these questions truthfully and confidently.
Practicing how to answer possible questions in front of a mirror is a great idea. Pretend that the interviewer is in front of you, and check your posture and demeanor when answering your questions. Pay attention if you’re stuttering too much or if you’re sounding too cocky. These things matter to your interviewer.
Lidia Staron is a part of the Content and Marketing team at OpenLoans.com. She contributes articles about the role of finance in the strategic-planning process.