Just got out and need a job? Frustrated by the civilian job markets? I've written a rant just for you (in no particular order)!
Civilian life is very different from the military. Two different worlds. Often a candidate might be qualified, but if his resume is poorly written or does not fall into the right hands, may never yield results. The best advice I can give is this:
Be clean, concise, and professional in every communication you make to a prospective company.
Try a headhunter that works with veterans. These folks are paid to link candidates with employers so try and find some & take advantage of their services.
List any special training, accomodations, or awards achieved in your military service on the resume. This is especially important if you've been in the service for a long time, or don't have much work experience.
ALWAYS ALWAYS write a Custom cover letter, tailored to the company you are applying to. Half-assed or recycled cover letters will not secure a job. Employers expect to see that you've done your homework and know a little bit about them.
Be willing to relocate. Family first always but today's market is nation-wide. You will have more opportunities if you are able or willing to relocate. Expect the company to pay relocation costs to get you there (but not pay to send you back should you quit or get fired).
Presenting yourself: Dress for the position you're after, not the position you're in. Be relaxed, or at least comfortable with yourself if at all possible. It's better to be honest and show your personality a little bit than to be fake and hide it. But never ever ever ever admit a fault, weakness, or shortcoming! Play to win by selling your strengths.
Look people in the eye and shake hands firmly. Don't talk too much. If you don't listen, you may not get the job.
Marketability: the working world is a game. Win by making connections with people and making yourself more marketable. Find out what you want to do and emulate people who have been successful doing that (you want to fit in, but not to the point where you're not uniquely you). Go for whatever you want to do. Join professional associations in that area and put those on your resume. Build your qualifications - get help with the resume. If all else fails, let your personality shine and get out there! Opportunity will not come to you. Careers are contact sports. Go to professional events, get involved somehow.
The civilian/business world rewards guts, perserverance, and patience.
Be honest but positive about yourself. My sister was embarassed to put 'Taco Bell' cashier on her resume. My advice was to put cash handling experience with Taco Bell's parent company, which was PepsiCo. So you can present information in a more appealing way without fudging any facts. Strong ethics are appealing in any job candidate so don't start your career by lying to a potential employer, but do your best to sell your strengths in a positive way.
All the talent, skill, and training in the world will not help you if you are unable or unwilling to sell yourself. Let the right people know the right things about you and you will secure a job.
Networking: It's what you know AND who you know. Talent alone is not enough. Learn to get along well with people, to develop connections with them. Many of the better jobs only go out via word-of-mouth. Talk to as many people as you can - you never know where a potential career connection can come from. And for god sakes join a couple professional organizations! Go to some industry events!! If your industry has no events, then look harder or find a new line of work.
Go to school. I cannot emphasize this enough. You can do It, I believe you can. Use the one resource that will bring the most benefit to you in life: that G.I. BILL!! Do so by any means necessary and stick with it until you graduate. No matter what you graduate in, you will thank yourself for it later.
It's like with anything else, never give up. Don't be afraid to introduce yourself, establish dialogue with Human Resources or managers at companies. If you don't get the job, ask them how you can improve your resume or approach. Apply at lots of companies. Then once they've forgotten who you are, apply again. Try multiple angles.
You can achieve absolutely anything you want in the civilian world, but you've got to be prepared to do some hard work to get there. You've gotta want it.
Here's my formula:
awards, professional organizations, public speaking
how well you present this info, your ability to make it known
who you know
your marketability, or your current career potential ($). ANYONE can be made more marketable and attractive to employers!!
Hope this helps. Good luck and skill to all veterans begining or returning to a career in civilian life.
If you have specific questions, feel free to email me at Vios888 @ hotmail dot com (remove spaces & dot = . )