TAO Self-help

Title:Four job searching tips for returning veterans

Author:PR Newswire

Date:November 2012

Source:PR Newswire

CHICAGO, Nov. 8, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — The best way to honor veterans returning from service this Veterans Day is to arm them with the tools they need to find civilian employment. BPI group, a Chicago-based global management and HR consulting firm, released today four job searching tips for veterans seeking civilian employment.

Translate military skills and experiences for civilian workforce. Many veterans have a hard time connecting their military occupation specialty to a civilian job opening, causing employers to toss out their resumes. Hiring managers need veterans to state the connection between their experience and the job qualifications more explicitly.

"Veterans need to identify and focus on experiences and skills learned in the military, rather than focusing on their actual military specialty," said Gene Link, U.S. Army veteran and executive coach at BPI group. "Qualities like accountability and leadership and skills like being a team player can directly respond to job responsibilities. Many employers don't understand the relevance and need to be educated."

To get a better idea of desired qualifications, veterans should research jobs and companies that fit their interests and technical background to see where their experiences could be applied best.

Revamp the resume. When writing a resume, begin with a summary section that features those identified skills and experiences and translate them into the needs of an organization or job opening. Under each position held in the military, provide a list of specific, measurable accomplishments performed in that job.

No matter how good a fit a veteran might be, timing is everything. When sending out resumes, veterans should wait until three months before leaving the service. If they are sent out too soon, hiring managers will not necessarily want to wait six months for a service member to come home.

Actively participate in social media. "The biggest regret most job seekers have is not networking soon enough," said Link. Job seekers who are not active on social sites are missing out on opportunities not only to find job postings, but also to introduce themselves to potential employers, recruiters and fellow veterans who may be able to help in their search. Most jobs today are found through social networks, so veterans should create social media profiles to connect with friends, former colleagues and potential employers.

By creating social networks before exiting the military, connections can be leveraged closer to separation to find a job. No time is too early to start and grow networks. Follow relevant hashtags on Twitter to find alerts to new job openings and follow Twitter accounts posting jobs for veterans. Joining groups and participating in discussions on LinkedIn can increase visibility and open up doors for more in-person networking opportunities. Reach out to high school friends, former colleagues and fellow veterans for job leads or additional contacts who may be able to help.

Seek additional education or experiences. If veterans have not found a job by the time they come home, they should identify the holes in their skills to see where they can improve. Seek additional certifications and technical training depending on the field of work being sought or even an associate's or bachelor's degree, if necessary. Attending seminars, conferences and networking events are also excellent ways for veterans to show their commitment to professional development and put in much needed face time with professionals in their industry. While social media is a great tool for networking, it cannot substitute face-to-face interaction and relationship building.

In addition to training and professional development, veterans can volunteer with organizations that align with their interests or career goals to avoid a gap in experience. Volunteering can boost a resume and avoid difficult conversations about long bouts of unemployment in interviews.

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