6 Ways Veterans Can Conduct a Better Job Search
Guest Contribution From Al Bowman of MoneyCrashers.com
October 7, 2014 by Guest Contributor
This post is a guest contribution from Al Bowman of MoneyCrashers.com. Al writes about career development, money management, credit, debt, and small business.
The unemployment rate for veterans who have served since 9/11 is roughly 10% according to the Council of Economic Advisers - a level far above the national average. But that doesn't mean your hands are tied when it comes to finding a job. All you have to do is put a little more elbow grease into your search while employing extra creativity. Here are six ways veterans can conduct a better job search.
1. Check Your Online Reputation
Google yourself to get a picture of what potential employers might see when they search your name online. As a veteran, you've spent a great deal of time building your personal reputation, but it's important to monitor your online reputation as well. If anything negative shows up on your search, consider using the website Reputation.com to look for ways to manage unfavorable content.
2. Don't Forget Your DD214
Although not required, your DD214 can come in handy. Prospective employers might want documentation of your service, and your DD214 provides such proof. It never hurts to bring a copy of it with you to interviews - it can help speed up the decision-making process.
3. Avoid Acronyms on Your Resume
You may be used to military acronyms, but most civilians aren't familiar with the jargon. Avoid putting BCT, AAOE, or any other acronym on your resume unless you're confident the hiring manager can decipher it. If he or she is unfamiliar with your shorthand, your resume might not get a second look, even if your skills or talents are exactly what the company is looking for.
4. Network More Effectively
If you're active on social media, post a quick update to ask whether your connections know of any openings in your field. Many jobs aren't officially advertised, so you can gain an inside edge through word of mouth. Then, check the website Meetup to see if there are any networking events within your field. By building relationships with local businesspeople, you're more likely to land an interview.
Finally, don't overlook the importance of old friendships. Go ahead and shoot an email to your old old college buddy, or ask your favorite professor to ask around about possible job openings. There are lots of ways to improve your networking efforts to score a job.
5. Focus on Workplace-Relevant Skills
Being a marksman in the military doesn't necessarily translate to the average office job. It's not that you shouldn't list the skills and experiences you acquired while in the military, but you should focus on workplace-relevant skills. For instance, if you were the head of a team, that can be listed as leadership. Most military skills can be translated to a civilian context, but it's important for you to spell out the translation so a civilian manager can understand.
6. Research Starting Salaries
Indeed and SimplyHired may be great for job searching, but don't forget to research starting salaries so you know what to expect before interviewing for a job. Check the Department of Labor website along with the Bureau of Labor Statistics to get general information. Glassdoor and Salary.com can also provide specifics by industry, location, and business. This data can help you during your salary negotiations.
It seems harsh that veterans have a harder time finding work than Americans who haven't sacrificed for their country, but it's an unfortunate reality. Do what you must to work harder and land your first job post-service, but once you've solidified your place in the workforce, work to change the hiring process. Encourage your employer to hire more veterans, and if you become a manager, reach out to other veterans when a job opens up.
What ways can you think of for veterans to conduct a better job search? Share your tips in the comment section below.