Tips for Military Members Seeking Civilian Jobs

Nancy Anderson
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Nina Semczuk learned the hard way how to find her first civilian job after spending five years as an officer in the U.S. Army. She compares finding a job to being a sniper. Rather than "spray and pray" that bullets hit a target, she advocates precision shooting that hits the mark more often than not. Discover how to find a job after you finish your military service.

Focus on Your Target

Instead of sending out a ton of resumes and blanketing dozens of employers with a generic application for a civilian job, tailor each resume and application to specific employers. If you had several career paths and skills in the military, hone in on ones you liked the best. For example, if you worked at a recruiting office, you may enjoy a job in sales or public relations. If you repaired vehicles and loved that line of work, consider a job as a mechanic. As a commanding officer of a unit, you have tons of managerial experience to lead a team in just about any kind of setting.

You may not have an idea as to what kind of career you want just yet. But finding a great civilian job soon after your military service puts you in the mindset of what you might want to do for a profession. Get to know job requirements, the skills you need to advance your career and the educational requirements for the position you want. Tap into the educational benefits you enjoy as a veteran.

Seek Out Certain Industries

Some industries love hiring veterans, and some companies have specific programs that hire veterans. Security firms, government contractors, aerospace companies, government agencies and computer/IT firms all value skills you learn in the military ahead of landing a civilian job.

When you research a specific employer, see if it has a program for hiring veterans. If this isn't indicated on the company's website, give the HR department a call and see what the person on the other end of the line says.

Make Connections

Once you find an industry and a company, get to know the hiring manager or veterans program manager there. Make a connection and reach out to the person. Use an email as a cover letter and attach your resume, along with saying what positions you might be interested in doing. Even if the position you want doesn't come your way, the employer may keep you in mind for other jobs that fit your qualifications.

Tap into the network you already have to find opportunities. Former commanding officers may have inroads to great jobs. Colleagues and professors in college might also have connections, as would organizations that help military members adjust to civilian life. There are many avenues to explore if you need advice on where to find a civilian job.

Find a target and zero in on it to land your first civilian job after your service. This method does take time and practice, but with the right assistance, you can start on your civilian mission with flying colors. What strategies have you found helpful when looking for a civilian job? Share below.


Photo courtesy of 143d ESC at Flickr.com

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