Top 10 Ways Military Veterans Can Stand Out In Today’s Job Market

By Jodie Hurst

Are You Ready To Jump Back Into The Workforce? 

The job market of 2024 is expanding. While the unemployment rate is set at 4.0% as we approach the middle of the year, opportunities in the field of healthcare, technology, and green space are on the rise. So, if you’re a military veteran who’s ready to jump back into the workforce, and are looking for ways to stand out from the crowd in today’s job market, here are 10 ways you can get hired in 2024: 

Develop A Strong Network 

Multiple organizations hire employees today based on the referrals from their current employees. In fact, about 84% of organizations actively recruit employees based on referral programs, with over 40% higher employee retention rate post the one year completion. Since the employees are paid for the referrals, they will be more than happy to help you out. As a veteran looking to stand out in today’s job market, you can benefit from developing a strong network. 

 While platforms like LinkedIn have proven to be a great source of networking for job searchers, as a veteran you can also use your older connections to look for a suitable job. Remember, networking is all about building relationships. So reach out to people whose work interests you, share your experience, and be genuine in your approach. 

 Alternatively, attending job fairs, networking events, participating in public speaking events, and working with placement agencies and services such as RecruitMilitary can help you find suitable job opportunities.  

Upskill Yourself 

The job market is continuously evolving, and your skill set must match it. Whether it’s through technical skill training, or via soft skill polishing, if you’re actively investing in upskilling yourself, it can be really easy for you to stand out in today’s job market. 

 Whether you want to jump into the know-how of Microsoft Excel, learn PowerBI, have an interest in finance, or want to become an illustrator, there are multiple in-person as well as digital learning opportunities that you can take advantage of to upskill yourself. 

Work On Your Resume And Interview Skills 

The saying “First impression is the last impression” can’t be any more true. In today’s job market, your resume represents your personal brand before anything else, so creating a good resume is essential. A good resume is professional, easy to read, tailored to the job description, and most importantly, Applicant Tracking System (ATS) friendly, which is a mechanism that companies use to identify potential talent.

After clearing the technical rounds, it all comes down to how well you perform in the interview round. Most employers look for a candidate that can be a great fit for the organization, they already know that you’ve got the skills to complete the day to day tasks.

Before an interview, focus on mastering the communication skills and presenting yourself professionally. You must be knowledgeable about the organization, so research about the company, their mission, and values, while also preparing for frequently asked questions. Use the STAR method to answer questions. 

Showcase Your Transferable Skills 

Being a part of the military ensures that you’re equipped with multiple skills, with on the job training. There’s no better way to stand out in today’s job market than by showcasing the skills that you’ve picked up over the years, and how you can translate them into your new role. 

 For instance, as a veteran, you’ve had plenty of practice leading a team, polishing your problem solving skills, making critical decisions, working under pressure, and managing stressful situations. Bring these skills to your new role in order to enhance the productivity of your organization, and you’ll become the most promising candidate in the talent pool. 

Be A Part Of The Team 

Military is the best place to learn about the importance of teamwork. As a veteran, this is your superpower. Whether it’s in your resume, initial call with HR, or the final interview round, showing that you can be trusted by others, and make an ideal teammate who works in harmony is an excellent way to stand out in today’s job market. 

 Being easy to work with is such an important yet underrated skill that by simply being more communicative, and relating your previous experience to your next job, you can make your transition from a veteran to a civilian employee seamless. 

Be Adaptable To Learn 

Willingness to learn is an attractive skill, both in personal and professional life. By accepting the fact that you still have a lot to learn, you not only show that you’re humble, but also open yourself up to new opportunities. Most employers are looking for people that they can train, rather than someone who knows it all. 

By showcasing your adaptability and dedication to self improvement, you’ll be able to offer an amalgamation of learning and knowledge to your potential future employers, which will make you an irreplaceable asset in today’s job market. 

Look For Opportunities That Match Your Values 

There is a very intimate relationship between our values and the level of job satisfaction that we experience. Your values might be aligned to the organization through the company’s mission, products, culture, or partnerships.

By being aligned with your intrinsic values, you’ll be more likely to perform better in your new role, make better decisions, and offer unique insights. So, before applying to a job, try to learn about the organization’s culture, scout for signs during the recruitment process, and ask current employees about their experiences to understand if you’ll be a good match.

Be The Catalysts Of Diversity 

Diversity is one of the most important qualities that candidates look for in today’s job market. An organization that believes in diversity and inclusion is likely to have a more healthy corporate culture, and is more likely to appreciate the presence of veterans who’ve been a part of cross-cultural experiences. 

Even businesses understand the value of hiring veterans who’ve not only worked with people from diverse backgrounds and different walks of life, but understand the importance of skills such as humility, understanding, and open-mindedness. So, if you are planning to work for a company that operates globally, and has a strong inclusion and diversity policy, you’ll be able to stand out from the competition by sharing your perspective on their policies, and your diverse experience. 

Show Off Your Specialized Training 

As a military veteran, you’re more inclined to have gone through training of all sorts. Many of the specialized training programs that you may have gone through during your tenure at the military can be used to complete specialized technical tasks in your day to day job. In fact, you’ll be able to get hired faster if you communicate the fact that you’re already trained in a skill that the job requires. Since the organization doesn’t have to spend extensive time on training you, finding a job that’s hiring urgently can be quite simple. 

 For instance, if during your training, you learnt extensively about logistics, and had to manage an inventory of equipment on your own, these skills can translate into a career in the field of logistics as a warehouse manager, an inventory analyst, a logistics coordinator, or a supply chain manager.

Jodie is a financial analyst, turned entrepreneur, who advises businesses on using technology to manage teams, upskill staff, and streamline business processes.