May 30, 2023

How Veterans Can Navigate Finding a Civilian Job After Service

While we at JK Executive Strategies value and appreciate our veterans year-round, the respect and admiration for their selfless devotion and contributions are top-of-mind in late May each year. Many service personnel fulfill their commitment to the country after one tour and use that experience to move on to careers related to the skills they acquired and enhanced while enlisted. Others may unexpectedly end their service due to injuries incurred through their service and require retraining or accommodation to further their careers. Yet another entire group will dedicate themselves to their military roles through the fulfillment of qualifying for full retirement but still feel compelled to expand their aspirations through a second vocation post-retirement. These are just a few of the many variables that are important for our nation’s veterans as they consider re-entering the civilian workforce. JK Executive Strategies takes pride in our skill and attention to detail in supporting veterans in their efforts to identify the ideal job for themselves, post-service.  

While you’re job-hunting – Expand your skill set.

The phase between exiting military service and entering the civilian workforce presents a unique opportunity for veterans to identify their existing skills and build new ones to enhance their desirability to a broader section of employers. Take advantage of educational resources available as a benefit of your service, register for online courses in alignment with the field you’d like to pursue, seek out volunteer opportunities within the area of your goals, or identify appropriate internship opportunities. All of these efforts will improve your skill set and qualifications on paper and will provide networking opportunities.  

Take advantage of the post-service transitional tools offered by the military.

US Military branch members are entitled to a Verification of Military Experience and Training (VMET) Certification which provides a summary of the skills, knowledge, training, and experience acquired through service. A VMET will also suggest job roles and titles that are associated with the analysis of your skills, which can help to narrow your job search efforts. VMET documentation can be requested through the milConnect community.

US Military Local Transition Assistance Offices will also provide a FREE Career Assessment that identifies and outlines the considerable strengths and skills you have acquired through service and translate them into terminology relevant to civilian employers.

Develop a strong resume and learn where and how to leverage it.

Build a resume that details your skills, accomplishments, certifications, and awards, and demonstrates your confidence in yourself. Craft a cover letter that succinctly summarizes your key attributes, and where possible, tailor it to reflect how your qualifications align with specific job descriptions. Learn how to navigate professional networking platforms like LinkedIn and how to build a profile and efficiently search for appropriate roles on various digital job boards. Job Fairs are another excellent opportunity to network with companies seeking to hire. Each state’s labor department lists job fairs by region frequently and will typically share a list of the organizations that will be in attendance. Also, take into consideration that your service experience makes you a desirable candidate for many of the open government roles; create a profile and consider opportunities through USAJOBS.

Know the attributes of successful job seekers.

The job market is ever-evolving and changing, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t still a set of key considerations that employers find desirable in candidates. The following attributes make a candidate stand out from the crowded talent pool:

  • Flexibility
  • Self-Confidence
  • Communication Skills
  • Technical Literacy
  • Organizational Skills
  • Ability to Multitask
  •  Problem-Solving Skills
  • Strong Work Ethic
  • Creativity
  • Interpersonal Abilities

Understanding your own skills and abilities and being able to credential them and communicate them clearly to a potential employer will help you demonstrate yourself as a more qualified candidate.

Look good: On-Paper, In-Person, AND Online.

While it seems obvious that it’s essential to have the proper resume and skills summary and to ensure that you’re well groomed, appropriately attired, and looking your best for in-person opportunities, it’s also important to be cognizant of how your online presence can influence how you might be perceived as a potential candidate. It would be wise to consider removing any social media content that could be misconstrued or portray you as an undesirable hire.

Consult a professional placement firm to assist you in your search.

There are numerous things to consider when seeking a new role in the civilian workforce. At JK Executive Strategies, we understand how overwhelming this all might seem and we specialize in being able to effectively analyze a candidate’s qualifications and credentials, highlight their skills and strengths, and ultimately identify the ideal role for them within the civilian job force. We welcome the opportunity to meet with you to discuss your job search efforts and to help you find the perfect position.

 Are you a veteran looking for civilian work? JK Executive Strategies can help. Please reach out to us to discuss your search:

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