You’ve probably been told how important it is to do company research before a job interview. That’s true; you should go into an interview knowing all about the company culture, how its needs match your skills, and why you want to work there. But of equal or more importance is the research you do on yourself.
In an interview, recruiters will want to know about you. If you can talk confidently about yourself, you will make a good impression and give the recruiter a clear view of how you would fit in that company. You will also be more likely to pursue the right job for your skills and interests.
You have to know yourself in order to speak with confidence about yourself. What are your interests? What do you enjoy doing? What are your strengths, and what needs to be developed? Understand yourself and how you operate.
That’s easier said than done. In fact, examining yourself is often more difficult than researching a company. But it’s integral to an effective job search. You must identify your credentials, skills and accomplishments, and work interests before you can communicate them to employers.
KNOW YOUR CREDENTIALS
There are several resources to assist you in identifying civilian credentialing requirements:
Use the COOL (Credentialing Opportunities On-Line) websites to find information on certifications and licenses related to your Military Occupational Specialties (MOSs):
The CareerOneStop website has a Certification Finder to help you find current certifications for your occupation or industry.
KNOW YOUR SKILLS
Most people possess two types of skills that define their accomplishments and strengths as well as enable them to enter and advance within the job market: work-content skills and functional skills. You need to understand which skills you possess before communicating them to employers.
Tools for helping you identify your skills:
- O*NET OnLine Military-to-Civilian Skills Translator
- Verification of Military Experience and Training (VMET) document (DD Form 2586) – Use this link with your DoD CAC for the easiest access to obtaining your VMET Form.
- Work-Content Skills List – Use your efficiency/performance reports to complete this worksheet.
- Functional Skills Checklist – Use this checklist to identify and record your functional skills.
Once you’ve researched your skills and accomplishments, you’ll be able to list past achievements and quantify your accomplishments on your resume and in interviews.
KNOW YOUR INTERESTS
There are many sophisticated testing and assessment instruments used by career counselors to identify work interests. The Strong Interest Inventory and the Myers-Briggs Assessment are two of the tools for assessing career interests. Both of these are accessible through the DoD Transition Assistance Program (DoDTAP).
The O*Net Interest Profiler is another tool to help you explore your interests. It will help you find out what your interests are and how they relate to the workplace.
The more you know about yourself — your skills, interests, strengths, and accomplishments — the better positioned you are to find the right civilian job. Doing this research on yourself will help you communicate clearly and confidently to recruiters what you are about and why they want to hire you.
Five Steps to Nailing an Interview after Returning to Civilian Life
How to Handle the Salary Question
Tips for Boosting Your Job Search & Earning Potential
Identifying Your Skills and Strengths in the Workplace