The following tools will help prepare you for the next step in your career
Building a network is important for any job seeker, but in particular for veterans who are looking to make the transition to the corporate sector. Many jobs are secured through knowing the right people at the right time.
Tips on networking:
- There are an increasing number of veteran career fairs and events organised by veteran recruiters, veteran support organisations and veteran friendly employers. These events can be useful for meeting potential employers and getting to know the recruiters first-hand
- Utilise Linkedin to connect with people in industries and organisations you are interested in working
- Be aware that most initial meets with potential employers is simply to get to know you better and determine whether you might fit their organisation
- Always be prepared to talk about your work experience, strengths, weaknesses, goals, career ambitions and try to demonstrate your knowledge of the industry or organisation you are interested in joining
- Always follow-up meets with a short email to thank people for their time and highlight the main points you discussed
- As you grow your network, find mentors who are willing to provide you guidance and introduce you to people within your targeted industry or organisation.
One of the biggest challenges for veterans seeking employment is effectively translating their skills and experiences to match job descriptions. It is important that veterans are able to highlight the relevant skills that apply to each job opportunity they are apply for.
Tips on preparing your resume:
- Tailor your resume to each job applied for. Think about how your experiences apply to the role and keep in mind these may not be from your primary job, but rather an extra duty
- Many recruiters utilise Linkedin to identify candidates for job openings. Create an online CV using Linkedin and ensure it is consistent with your paper resume
- Ensure your resume is easy to read by using a clear font and ensuring your work experience is presented in a chronological order. Try to limit your resume to two A4 pages
- Translate military jargon and acronyms and assume no knowledge of the military
- Always try to quantify your military experience, especially when highlighting the results you achieved
- For each job or position you held, briefly describe your role and focus more on what you achieved using the STAR acronym
- Seek feedback on your resume through your network, particularly form non-military contacts.
Tips on preparing for the interview:
- All veterans, regardless of rank and service, possess leadership and management skills that are attractive to any employer. Be sure to highlight these skills throughout the interview.
- Emphasise your role by saying “I” as opposed to “we”. Interviewers want to hear what role you played in the success of your team.
- Prepare examples of times when you achieved great results and tell these stories using the “STAR” acronym.
- Don’t be afraid to identify your weaknesses, no one is perfect. Show how you identified the weakness and what you are doing to develop in this area.
The STAR interview approach structures your work experience in an easy to follow story that also demonstrates your ability to communicate succinctly and effectively.
Situation Provide the background to the situation you found yourself in. Who, what, where and when.
Task What was your role in the situation and/or what were you tasked to do? Remember this is specific to you.
Action What were the specific steps you took to solve the problem or deliver the end product? Ensure the actions are in a logical order.
Result Describe the tangible benefits of the actions you took. Always try to quantify how things improved from your actions. What lessons did you learn?
Quantifying Your Experience and Results
Quantifying your achievements allows recruiters and interviewers to picture the impact you have made in your work. Always try to work numbers into your experience and results.
Example of quantifying results :
“Reorganised maintenance assets and scheduling to increase operational readiness of $2 million of military hardware, that resulted in a $100K annual saving.”
Example of quantifying experience:
“Led a team of 40 people to train and advise an international coalition team of 120 people over a six month period.”