A recent survey from Monster.com concluded that many of today’s military veterans fail to properly “package their skills” to civilian employers. Many have skills employers desperately need, but there seems to be a “failure to communicate” these skills in a meaningful way.
An uphill battle
Monster’s Veterans Talent Index report draws on surveys of veterans looking for work and of the employers looking to hire them. The report underscores the unemployment problem for 18- to 24-year-old veterans. These transitioning individuals must compete with peers in their age group who may have attended or completed college and may have some civilian work experience. For many, it’s an uphill battle. Some tips to give you the upper hand:
Get out of the military mindset
Transitioning veterans can certainly “walk the walk” when it comes to the skills and knowledge they picked up while serving our county. They now need to “talk the talk” to civilian employers. Many have the leadership skills and the discipline it takes to succeed in civilian careers. Some have in-demand technical knowledge in computers and electronics that today’s employers desperately need. Others may have logistics planning or financial experience that may have been ancillary to their MOS (Major Occupational Specialty). Regrettably, many veterans rarely bring these skills to the fore in a civilian job interview.
Emphasize individual accomplishments
In the military, the emphasis is primarily on the accomplishments of the team and less on the individual. Transitioning veterans often fail to bring to light their individual contributions and accomplishments. Anything in a veteran’s record that speaks to individual accomplishments should be “front and center” in an interview or job application. This includes awards, promotions, certifications for technical training, and letters from their commanders for exemplary service.
There are all sorts of job transition programs and resources currently available for today’s veterans. Make sure you take full advantage of all these job finding tools. For example, the Department of Veterans Affairs’ VA for Vets program is packed with information about the reintegration, retention and hiring of Veteran employees at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Another resource you should fully exploit is “Skills Translators.” This interactive website lets you translate your military skills, experience and training to find the career opportunities that best match your capabilities. Here, you simply enter your Military Job Title (for example, your MOS, MOSC, NEC, Rating, Designator) followed by your subspecialty and training to further customize the jobs currently available to you. If you served as an Army Medic, Air Force Med Tech, or Navy Corpsmen, check out the ER Intermediate Care Technician (ICT) pilot program http://vaforvets.va.gov/veterans/resources/pages/intermediate-care-technician.aspx
It’s not easy to find a job in today’s highly competitive job market, but make no mistake, you have what employers are looking for.