12 Transitioning Techniques |
By Jasen Williams | vice president of agency relations at RecruitMilitary and a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. |
Published in the May/June 2011 issue of print Search & Employ® |
A few weeks ago, I received word that a reporter wanted to interview me for an article about active duty personnel who were about to transition out due to a base realignment. The reporter was seeking advice to pass along to the large number of men and women who would be affected.
Below are 12 solid techniques that we have found serve the transitioning audience well.; the order is not relevant.
1. Go where you can be found. Register as a job seeker on job boards, then search for jobs on those boards. Include a board that specializes in military-to-civilian recruitment. We operate such a board at www.recruitmilitary.com. Look for job board features that enable jobs that match your profile to be “pushed” to you for viewing. Remember to fill in every field as if your next employer were reviewing you personally.
2. Be seen. Attend job fairs, career fairs, career expos, etc. We recommend especially military-to-civilian events. We produce such events, called RecruitMilitary Veteran Opportunity Expos. These events are terrific networking and referral opportunities; if an exhibitor doesn’t have any positions open that suit you, I bet they know someone else that does.
3. Prepare a resume that translates your military skills, training, experiences, etc., into qualifications for civilian jobs. We recommend that you get professional help with your resume, especially help from a service that specializes in resumes for job seekers who have military backgrounds. We offer such a service.
4. Research industries and occupations methodically, looking for opportunities that are a good fit for your interests, have sufficient income potential, and match your skills, training, and experience. Two good sources of information are the Occupational Outlook Handbook (www.bls.gov/oco) and the Career Guide to Industries (www.bls.gov/oco/cg/home.htm). Both are published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is part of the United States Department of Labor.
5. Network with your friends. Use face-to-face conversations, phone calls, email, texting, and social media such as LinkedIn and Facebook. Expand your network by telling friends of friends that you are in the job market.
6. Sharpen your interviewing skills. Be prepared to answer the question, “Tell me about yourself” with a thoroughly rehearsed response lasting no more than two minutes. Lead off with statements about your upbringing, your schooling, and your military experience. Then describe one or two of your strengths related to the job or company. Find a fellow veteran working in Human Resources or recruiting to give you some tips on how to be effective.
7. Research specific companies for which you would like to work. Then go online and apply for jobs with those companies. Also, place cold calls with those companies. Try to get through to someone who would be in your chain of command if you got hired at that company. Be prepared to take a lesser job that the one you initially wanted, especially if the position you take is a logical stepping stone to the one you originally desired.
8. Pay strict attention during your ACAP (Army Career and Alumni Program) or TAP (Transition Assistance Program) classes, and take what they say to heart.
9. Be prepared. Dress for success. Wear a business suit to all expos, interviews, etc.
10. Use the services of your state employment office—for example, the services of a Local Veterans’ Employment Representative (LVER) or a representative of the Disabled Veterans’ Outreach Program (DVOP).
11. If you qualify, use the services of the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) VetSuccess Program of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. VetSuccess (http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/vre/ ), also known as the Chapter 31 program, helps veterans who have service-related disabilities prepare for, find, and keep suitable jobs.
12. And finally – Remain enthusiastic in your search for employment. There’s many of us (veterans and civilians alike) working diligently every day towards encouraging employers to hire you.