Veteran unemployment is often a pervasive problem, even though many industries, including the trucking industry, specifically seek out veteran employees.
There are some underlying reasons for higher-than-average rates of veteran unemployment in many cases, including the fact that veterans often don’t know how to parlay their military experience into job skills, at least on their resumes.
The following are some tips for veteran job seekers to get ahead and get the job they want.
Translate Your Skills
This is really the most important thing to focus on if you’re a veteran looking for a job. If you have a resume filled with military jargon and roles, it’s not going to be well understood as it’s in front of civilian hiring managers.
Take your skills and work experience in the military and put it in civilian terms and also find ways to make it specifically applicable to the positions you’re applying for.
You may also find that you can take skills you learned in the military and credentials from the military and then apply them to getting civilian credentials that are similar.
You can find help translating your skills in different places, including on the VetSuccess.gov website, which helps you find certificates and civilian credentials directly related to your military service.
Military.com also has a skills translator you can use.
If You’re Transitioning, Take Advantage of Opportunities
If you’re just on the cusp of transitioning into civilian life, be aware that the military does offer resources to help you prepare to find a job. Use these resources because they can provide you with a lot of advantages.
Also if you are transitioning, start looking for opportunities as soon as you can because it can take time.
Get your paperwork ready as soon as possible too including your DD214 (Report of Separation). You may need these documents not just to find employment but also if you plan to go to school after separation.
Get Comfortable with the Corporate World
The military is ultimately very different from the corporate world. While you want your experiences in the military to translate well to the skills you need in a new job, you do have to demilitarize yourself somewhat.
You don’t want to be seen as someone who’s still completely stuck in the military, because they might think they would have a hard time onboarding you.
Don’t use military language, and in addition to making sure your resume is civilian in how it’s written, you should also use civilian language when you speak.
The importance of networking can’t be overstated for veteran job seekers. Veterans love to support other veterans and if you can network with other veterans, you’re likely going to find opportunities you might not have identified otherwise.
When you build connections, keep up with them and maintain them because you never know when you might need them again.
Use Veterans Preference
Veterans preference may be an option available to you. When you’re a disabled veteran, and you served on active duty during certain periods or in specific military campaigns, you get preference over others in hiring for federal positions.
You receive preference points based on different factors, and you should claim it if you qualify and you apply for a federal job. You should complete form SF-15 if you’re claiming 10-point preference.
Check Out the VA’s Offerings
The VA has quite a few different programs available for job seekers as well as support for veteran-owned small businesses.
They offer free educational and career counseling to recently discharged veterans, transition assistance, and education programs like the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
You can also use the Department of Labor’s tool in conjunction with the VA that is specifically designed to help veterans find jobs.
Consider an Apprenticeship Program
Finally, there are apprenticeship programs for veterans that are a great option as well. There’s a federal Registered Apprenticeship program, and it helps employers connect with talent, and veterans who are hired can simultaneously use their GI Bill benefits while also getting paid.
If you can find a VA-certified apprenticeship, you can use your GI bill toward tuition and fees, and there’s a monthly housing allowance as well as a stipend for books and supplies.
A lot of employers are seeking the determination and drive that veterans often bring to the table, so get creative in your job search and think of it as selling yourself. Take what you learned in the military and tailor it to the private or public sector.