The Dirty Dozen: 12 Tips for Getting Hired, Part 4
These veteran job seekers got hired by emphasizing their intangible skills so that employers could visualize them working for their company.
Tip #10: Sell Your Intangible Skills
Yes, employers generally know that veterans have a playbook of soft skills. But employers want to be able to picture you in action. So, how you pull those intangible skills to the front and demonstrate how they will benefit anyone who hires you can make all the difference when it comes to getting hired. Keep reading to see how your fellow veterans successfully leveraged their soft skills.
Keep in mind, a lack of specific experience is expected. If a candidate can show that he or she possesses the fundamental qualities a company seeks, then they can easily be taught the business side of the job. For example, just because you haven’t worked in a store doesn’t mean you don’t have retail experience. If you supervised, did inventory control, security, or placed orders, that's retail experience. It may not have been in a store environment, but the skill sets are the same.
“Even though I was interviewing for a position with a water company and my experience was in fuels, I knew about safety and how to test jet fuels,” said a Navy veteran. “I spun that and talked it up. I knew about lab procedures. I was forced to examine my skills and experience and see where else they could apply. I was able to spin my old skills into a new career.”
One Army veteran successfully described how his duties on a mortar squad gave him great customer service skills. He explained his belief that customer service goes along with every job, and that communication is critical when firing ammunition. A key part of an indirect fire infantryman’s duties included operating two-way radios and signal equipment to relay battle orders. “You have to talk to your superiors; you have to explain things to your team and communicate with them. We did a lot of radio work and it was important to relay messages, understand orders and communicate effectively,” he said. He successfully parlayed that experience into a recruiting position.
Another Navy veteran had no prior experience in the oil and gas industry, but his experience operating, repairing and maintaining hydraulic equipment in the Navy were highly-transferrable. He left a RecruitMilitary Career Fair with offers and interviews from five companies in that field.
Still another Air Force veteran was seeking a career in the finance and banking industry. So how did his military skills help him land the job? “Regulators like structure,” he said. “They appreciated that I was well-organized and knew how to create frameworks, timelines and requirements – all skills I learned in the Air Force,” he said. His military background included compliance, standards and evaluation. “The banking industry needs people who understand compliance. I would’ve never made that connection on my own, but I’m glad I could successfully relate what experience I did have,” he related.
One veteran earned his first post-Navy job with a food service company in the airline industry. “I had to ensure the food preparation area was sanitary,” he said. “With my background in quality control, I looked for ways to make every process easier and more efficient. I learned that the skills you acquire in the military stay with you, even if your job is completely different.”
Remember, the transferrable skills the military teaches its veterans cut across many fields. You are far more than the sum of your MOS. There is a high success rate for veteran job seekers who are coachable, moldable, and self-driven.
By Chris Newsome