Kickstarting Your Job Search After Leaving the Military
Veterans of the military are known for their love of a challenge. Their training and experiences teach them to overcome tricky, even dangerous, obstacles with courage. While hunting for a job is nowhere near the adrenaline-fueled test of courage veterans are used to, after completing your service, finding your post military job can be the most daunting—and sometimes disorienting—journey ahead of you. And frankly, if you’re hunting with the wrong resources, it can be mind-numbing at best and, at worst, demoralizing.
As a veteran myself, I’ve been there, and years later, I still remember the challenges vividly. You have these incredible skills and tons of rich experience coming out of the military, but you might be stumped on where to start. It can be tempting to fall for the ZipRecruiter ads and start firing your resume off into cyberspace. But that routine gets old fast. If uploading your resume to job sites and scouring the LinkedIn job postings has you down, it’s time to consider using a Recruiter to amplify your efforts.
Find a Recruiter that specializes in placing veterans in post military jobs
There are so many talented Recruiters out there, but it’s important to know that not all Recruiters are created equally. In fact, Recruiters’ skillsets vary widely. There are fewer and fewer Recruiting generalists out there these days, and this can actually work to your advantage. For my colleagues and friends whose military service is coming to a close, I always recommend they pair up with a Recruiter specializes in placing military veterans.
Simply put, veterans are in a unique situation. Many times, they have years of rich experiences. Depending on your appointment this could include things like leadership, strategy or complex project management, and a Recruiter with limited knowledge of the military service might not know how to market or translate these skills to the civilian job market. So it’s important to find a Recruiter that truly understands your experience and can help you pitch your skillset to hiring managers. It’s worth your while to interview a few Recruiters before choosing the right one to help you feel confident that the next step in your career is in the right hands.
Ask about their network
While you’re doing your due diligence in selecting a Recruiter, ask about their network. Recruiters that truly specialize in placing veterans in post military job are going to know a lot of other veterans who have been in your shoes before, and if they’ve been in the Recruiting game for a while, they’ll have relationships that could benefit you tremendously.
As an example, I placed someone straight out of the military, and he’s been steadily building his career in Human Resources in the last two decades. He started in recruiting, and today, he’s a Chief Talent Officer for a Fortune 500 company in the Human Resources Industry. Through the years, he and I have stayed in touch, in part, because he has a heart for military people and as a veteran, appreciates their value add. He sees the skills and training veterans have as a unique asset. He’s always listening for news about openings in his department and beyond, and he’s eager to advocate for veterans because of how coachable, sharp and hardworking he knows them to be.
The right Recruiter for veterans is someone who has built relationships like this one throughout their career. They should be the inroad you need to people who see your skills as not only valuable but exemplary.
Remember: You’re in the driver’s seat
It’s important to remember that when you partner with a Recruiter, you’re supercharging your post military job search, but it’s still your search. A Recruiter is going to help you get more visibility faster than you could on your own, and they may even be able to provide you with some advice on fields and roles where veterans excel.
But you’ll still need to do some of the work on your own. You’ll be responsible for making sure your resume is current, and you’ll need to have a clear vision for what kind of experience or role you’re looking for. It’s important that you also stay connected with your Recruiter to understand how the search is going and what next steps look like for you. Like most things, you’re going to get out of the experience what you put in, but with a Recruiter in your corner, your net benefit is almost guaranteed to be better than if you go it alone.
Are you a veteran who is looking for your next role? What tips do you have for veterans starting their job search? Leave a comment below.