Let’s face it; looking for employment is another job in and of itself. You spend most of your days searching online and offline and creating resumes that recruiters or headhunters will spend thirty seconds on. You spend the rest of that time waiting for a reply. There’s a lot of that hurry-up-and-wait going on, even in the civilian life. So, here are a few suggestions to help move things along.
1. Decide on your target. Just like being on the range or on a mission, you must have a target in mind. By having that, you can decide on the appropriate plan of action. Figure out if you want to pursue your military occupational specialty (MOS) or change into a completely different track. Make sure you get a copy of your DD Form 2586 Verification of Military Experience and Training (VMET), so you have a starting point. You can use this to help fill out a job, training, or education application. It is also a great resource for writing your resume. Another option is to choose a specific industry, a specific company, or a specific working culture. Either way, your range of fire will be narrowed down, and you limit the amount of time wasted on non-essential tasks.
2. Sign up for LinkedIn for Vets LinkedIn is a fantastic tool for professionals looking for employment and employers seeking the professional that matches their need. LinkedIn offers a free Premium Account for 1 year to eligible Veterans. This enables you to take advantage of their learning paths: Transition from Military to Civilian Employment and Transition from Military to Student Life. Make sure to follow the requirements to qualify to take advantage of the offer. You can also take advantage of their Veteran Mentor Network and connect with people who understand your transition needs. Ask questions. Answer questions and share your expertise; show them how you are a subject matter expert (SME) in your field. If you just want to get a taste without having to sign up for a premium access or even a premium account, try these three courses: LinkedIn for Veterans, Translating Your Military Skills to Civilian Employment, or Finding Your Purpose After Active Duty.
3. Connect with a company that offers a placement program These are fantastic resources that are aimed at helping Veterans find the right fit for their employment/professional needs. They can help evaluate or draft your resume, translate your military experience to civilian terminology, help with interview preparations, connect you with the career you want, and follow up with you to help you stay on the right track. They even offer workshops. Work for Warriors is a program in California focused on assisting Post 9/11 Vets, Active National Guard, Active Reserve, Spouses, and Gold Star Families. MadSkills works with military spouses and matches virtual talent to employers in need.
4. Visit American Job Center Finders There are 18 job centers with Veteran Representatives, within 50 miles of Silicon Valley, that help with job search, find training, and answer employment-related questions. Visit and talk with a representative; work with them to enhance your career transition and alleviate some of the stress. Those job centers include Work2Future San Jose Job Center, Goodwill of Silicon Valley, North San Jose America’s Job Center of California, and more.
5. Register your resume on job boards Enter your resume information on military transitions specific job boards like Vet Jobs, Military Hire .com, Hirepurpose, or MadSkills. You will get notifications when jobs that match your profile become available. You can do your job search while you sleep, or while doing other things…
6. Visit Know A Vet? Know A Vet? has a community resource for employment page that offers a comprehensive listing of employers in Santa Clara County and beyond. You have the option of choosing the maximum mileage you are willing to travel from your zip code.
7. Network Connect with your military community online or offline. Join the conversation or read about what other service members are experiencing in their life changes in the military or out of it. Get social; find social media groups that talk about your interests whether that’s Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram – find the platform that works for you. Join associations, clubs, lodges near you. Volunteer for a cause – you get to enhance your experiences and connect with members of the community.