Staying Positive During a Job Search
Whether you’re transitioning out of the service and searching for your first civilian job, or you’ve been out for a while and seeking a new opportunity, let’s face it: a job hunt can be stressful. Keeping your confidence intact is challenging, yet essential to your success. Keep in mind that you’re not alone. A study for Everest College conducted by Harris Interactive in 2013 revealed that 92 percent of job seekers fear some aspect of the interview process, from nervousness to being over- or under-qualified.
Visualize and recapture your accomplishments
Remind yourself that no one can take your achievements away from you. Harken back to a time when you were working on a challenging project and using your strengths to full capacity. Was it a successful mission that you contributed to? Volunteer work in your community? Spreading a message that you believed in? What was it about that experience or circumstances that contributed to that assuredness?
Next, think about the various elements that brought you the feeling of success. It could be that you were very prepared because you’d done your homework, or that you were quite comfortable with the subject/issue you were dealing with. Apply that same kind of preparation to your job search.
One Air Force veteran recalls, “Before I got out, I started looking at job descriptions that interested me. I examined all the required and preferred qualifications and made a list of the ones I had, adding a success story about each to talk about in an interview.”
Don’t lose sight of your intangible skills
Serving in the military trained you in more ways that just your MOS. Focus on the soft skills and transferrable qualifications you’ve developed in prior roles: leadership, teamwork, mission accomplishment, motivating and developing other personnel, adaptability, and working with diverse groups of people are just a few of the intangible qualities that military veterans learn during their service. Sharing success stories illustrating how you bring real value to an organization is a great way to nab a position on the team.
One retail employer notes, “A lack of specific experience in the field to which transitioning veterans are applying is expected. Most employers are interested in veteran talent because we want to hear about their leadership qualifications. If a candidate can show that they possess fundamental qualities, then we are often able to teach them the business side of the job that they need to be successful.”
Remember that you have a choice, too
While job searching may feel like a desperate proposition, it’s important to keep in mind that you are in control of your destiny. Carefully research companies to see which ones have values and cultures that align with yours. Is there an opportunity to mentor or be mentored? Is there a veteran resource group? Targeting your opportunities with a rifle rather than a shotgun will help you remain purposeful and intentional about what companies and opportunities you choose to pursue.