I recently blogged about the challenges many veterans must overcome when returning to civilian life. This is especially true for those needing to secure employment upon their return from military life.
There are a number of scenarios that can ensue for veterans transitioning from military life to civilian life. When it comes to employment, something most veterans need to secure in order to survive in this world we live in, the primary thing to understand is the unlikeliness of feeling prepared for a civilian career. For those who have been honed during their time in service for new careers in the defense and securities industries upon return, it’s not so bad; however, the majority of returning veterans are fraught with confusion, fear, and lack of knowledge or experience.
For all job seekers, whether veterans or non-veterans, they must be able to answer the following questions BEFORE entering the job market. If the questions cannot be answered, it may not be the best time to start a new career. These crucial questions are…
- How do you describe yourself?
- What are you looking for?
- Where would you like to work?
The military teaches self-sufficiency or, in other words, do not ask for help; instead take care of yourself! This can cause a disconnection when entering the workforce; therefore, it is not only important to answer the questions above, but to understand the importance of how to deal with the following general scenarios.
- Talking About Self & Successes – many veterans have a difficult time transitioning from the “we” mode to the “I” mode. What veterans need to understand is that hiring managers are not looking to hire a “squad or platoon”, but want to hire an individual. To overcome this obstacle, veterans must become empowered and have the confidence to clearly articulate their talents, skills, etc.
- The Military Trains for Adaptability & Resourcefulness – Most veterans returning from service and transitioning into the civilian workplace, if asked what they want to do after their service in the military, would most likely say…anything or whatever you need. This mindset has to change in the civilian world.
- The Military Resume Looks Vastly Different From the Civilian Resume – Simply put the jargon and accomplishments don’t always mesh! Just like anyone applying for a job in this day and age, veterans too, must design their resume to mirror the job they want and applying for.
Most importantly is for veterans to realize that this is not the end of the road, and that, like everyone else, it is important to be concise, direct, and intentional when communicating with potential employers. Owning who you are and the credentials you possess, are crucial, and will set you apart from everyone else.
Once you are truly ready to enter the rat race…there are a number of programs available to help you down this path. Not only does the VA offer programs via ebenefits, but a number of other organizations offer assistance via job fairs, community outreach programs, financial assistance, training workshops, etc. When getting “back to the grind” – don’t do it alone, but seek the many resources available that will assist in this challenging life move.