By Sophia Mest
Transitioning to a civilian career can be tricky. You may not have current conventional work experience because of your time spent in the military, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have a lot to offer the right employer. Networking is basically marketing yourself, and a great marketing campaign will lead to great results. Be willing to start from scratch and take some time crafting the message you want to send to potential employers. If you’re consistent with your networking, you’ll find the light at the end of the tunnel quicker than you’re expecting.
Tailor Your Approach
“Hire me for anything” is a very broad approach – in fact, it’s too broad. Think about your skillset. What did you do before you were in the military? What skills did you learn during your service? If you were a cook or a medic, you may be able to apply those skills to future careers. Get a clear vision of where you see yourself in five years, and make sure you’ll be happy with a position in that field. If you need to take any further courses or work on a degree to help you find the job you want, now’s the time to do it.
Create Social Media Profiles
Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are all used by companies to recruit employees. You want to make sure you’re active on all three platforms. Create a professional profile that’s separate from your personal profile, and make sure your personal profiles are set to private. Take a few great photos of yourself well primped and dressed sharply. Don’t forget to fill in your bio. Use these profiles to interact with other people who are active in your desired career niche, as well as companies you can see yourself working for.
Get Your Resume and History Online
Some companies prefer to privately recruit by reviewing eligible candidates and personally inviting them to interview. If you’re active on social media, these companies will be more likely to see you. Make sure they’re getting the full picture when they check your profile. Create a brief resume that highlights your skills, qualifications, and work history. Include your time in the military. This doesn’t have to be a full length resume, but it needs to be enough to intrigue potential employers. Make sure you don’t include any personal information (such as phone numbers or addresses) in your summarized resume, because this information will be viewable by anyone you network with.
Find Networking Groups and Message Boards
There are all kinds of networking groups and message boards for former military personnel, and job recruiters occasionally check in. Others will be able to tell you how their job interviews went, and give you the heads up when they find out who is hiring for unadvertised positions. Don’t limit yourself strictly to boards and groups for former armed services members – there may also be similar boards and groups that pertain specifically to your desired work niche.
Look for Trade Shows or Career Expos
Employers love being able to put a face to a name. When you meet with them in-person at industry events and career fairs, you’re being afforded with the best opportunity to make an excellent first impression. Write and practice a small introduction for yourself – something less than 45 seconds long that says everything you need to say. This is called an elevator pitch. When you’ve found an opportunity that looks promising, give your elevator pitch and leave your business card or CV.
Finding a job can sometimes feel like a competitive sport. You’ll have to be dedicated to competing if you want to succeed. It may take some time, but that’s perfectly alright. If things don’t go well at first, consider what you’re doing, look at how other people are achieving great results, and reformulate your strategy.
About the Author
Sophia Mest is a Content Manager at BizDb, where she aspires to put her writing passion into practice and spread her words across the world. She spends her free time travelling and exploring the wonders of nature. Follow her on Twitter @MestSophia