The Dirty Dozen: 12 Tips for Veterans to Get Hired, Part 1

Corporate America is ready to hire you. The business world has realized that hiring veterans is a smart move, and the numbers prove it. The Department of Labor has reported that the veteran unemployment rate (as of January 2018) is 3.6%, bringing the veteran demographic more employed than their civilian/non-veteran counterparts.

So how do you start? In this series, we’ll break it down for you with a compendium of best practices and we’ll share stories from other veterans who successfully employed these tips.

###Tip #1: Attend Career Fairs

Last year marked RecruitMilitary’s most extensive event calendar in the company’s 20-year history. In 2017, 33,476 veteran job seekers attended 127 events across the country with 6,699 exhibitors. Employers conducted up to 45,200 interviews and expected to extend 13,754 job offers job offers.

Career fairs are the most efficient way you can interact with dozens of employers and decision makers within the span of a few hours. Visiting every booth will increase your chances of finding a job.

Nervous? A career fair is the perfect place to work out the kinks. Consider attending a few to get practice before you approach an employer that really interests you.

###Tip #2: Do Your Homework

Recruitment and onboarding is costly these days, and companies want to be convinced of the candidate before making a hire. Going the extra mile to show that company why they should choose you and how you would add value in their organization will pay off in the long run.

As you dive deeper and more strategically into your career search, pay attention to job descriptions and lists of prerequisites and desired skills.

One Air Force veteran recalled, “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.”

###Tip #3: Dress for Success

You have the skills and the passion to contribute your talents to the civilian workplace. And you’re poised to shine and present your best self in an interview when you’re feeling comfortable and polished.

What recruiters say they like about military folks is that they don’t have to tell them the basics. Dressing appropriately is a basic yet critical part of creating the right impression.

That means: no jeans and t-shirts, and no baseball hats. At a minimum, wear business casual attire such as slacks, skirt and a polo shirt or blouse. Are you looking for a leadership or management role? Dress the part by wearing the suit.

This also includes: a smile, a firm handshake (not a vice grip), and solid eye contact.

###Tip #4: Create a Readable Resume with Raise-Worthy Bullets

Your resume is not designed to be a career obituary or your life story. Quite simply, it’s a marketing tool designed to help you land the interview. Once you’re in the door, you can expand on some of your career achievements.

One of the biggest hurdles civilian recruiters face is understanding the role of each military branch, the skill sets that come from each, as well as rank structure and the roles of military occupational specialties (MOS). Convert acronyms into business language.

Shifting gears from a team dynamic to touting individual accomplishments can also be challenging. But don’t downplay the work you performed. You’ve probably done extraordinary things in your military career. Start making notes of your greatest successes.

Write job titles in terms that are more recognizable to civilians. For example, if you supervised junior personnel as a missile technician, write missile technician and add (supervisor). Craft each bullet as if you were presenting it to get a raise because of that accomplishment.

Every branch of the service mandates some form of self-evaluation. One Marine cited the annual Marine Corps Fit Rep as an example of how he pinpointed his achievements. “I had really been trained all along on how to present myself and talk about my successes,” he said.