Seven Tips from a Recruiter

Below is my best advice for transitioning, recently separated, and retired veteran military who are seeking civilian jobs. I base these tips on my nearly 10 years of experience in recruiting in the oil and gas industry.

Best of luck in your job search, and thank you for serving in the armed forces of the United States.

1. Partner with your transition office to start your move as early as possible. Too often, I have spoken with veterans who were surprised by the amount of time it took to transition. Planning for your transition early will make the move much easier.

2. Remember that not everyone who will read your resume is a veteran. Your resume will not get you a job, but you definitely want it to get you an interview. Remove all of the military jargon and lingo from your resume. You do not want to get overlooked simply because a recruiter or hiring manager does not understand what knowledge, skills, or abilities you bring to the table.

3. Search for companies that are committed to hiring veterans. Many companies want to hire veterans, but simply do not have the expertise or resources to do it.

4. Expect there to be a learning curve when reading certain job descriptions. If you never have worked in a particular industry, you likely will not have detailed knowledge when entering that industry.

5. Network, network, network. And try to connect with hiring managers and recruiters for companies you are targeting. If they cannot personally help you, they can, at least, point you in the right direction.

6. Do not be afraid to sell yourself. In the military, you are usually not accustomed to discussing your personal accomplishments; you are more accustomed to touting your team’s accomplishments. It is totally different in the private sector. You will need to be able to communicate succinctly how the skills you obtained in the military can benefit a potential employer. To do this, you will need to be able to discuss easily your skills and accomplishments while in the military.

7. Have realistic expectations about salary. Understand that salaries are structured differently in the private sector versus the military. Before you pursue a particular career, make sure you research the salary for that job. Ensure that it fits into your or your family’s budget.

*Rene Schackai is a senior talent acquisition consultant for Williams, an energy infrastructure company headquartered in Tulsa. Schackai hired Kirk Edwards, a United States Air Force veteran who was featured in the article, “Williams: Building America’s Energy Infrastructure,” in the March-April 2016 issue of Search & Employ®.*