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Using Your Military Experience to Get Ahead in Your Career

Using Your Military Experience to Get Ahead in Your Career

There was a time when American veterans were correct in assuming that they would have it made in terms of reintegrating to the workforce, and this was in the wake of World War II. Veterans of more recent conflicts, starting with the Vietnam War all the way through the ongoing campaigns in Afghanistan in Iraq, face a more challenging job marketplace because the business world has become more competitive.

How American Society Views Veterans

The reality of today’s veteran experience is that most American employers are not familiar with what being in the military entails. Less than 1% of the population is on active duty. Even when you take into account National Guard and reserve units, they only make up about 2% of Americans. Once you get to all veterans, we are talking about less than 8% of the population. This makes it less likely for employers to know about the skills that veterans may bring to the workforce.

Transferring Military Skills to the Civilian World

The job marketplace is essentially a meritocracy, which means that opportunities are offered to applicants whose ability and performance would be useful to a business enterprise. There is no doubt that an Air Force personnel records clerk, for example, would be an excellent hire at a large human resources department, but not many employers are aware of this. In these situations, a certification for veteran benefits and skills is highly recommended.

Education Programs Are Available

As an active duty service member, reserve member, or a veteran, there are designated military-friendly universities set up to help with your career path. You can even start with online classes while you are still active-duty. Just be sure to talk to your commanding officer before applying for these programs. You will need to provide signed documentation to qualify in most cases.

You Could Be Missing Out on Special Jobs

Many employers are more than happy to give veterans hiring preference, but these may not always be the jobs you want. A former Army infantry officer, for example, would be more than welcome at a corrections facility, but not all veterans will be interested in this line of work. Certain opportunities that are not even advertised in traditional boards give veterans an even greater preference based on specific military skills. A former Coast Guard boat crew member, for example, would be perfect for research vessels operated by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. You have to look for these jobs, which are usually posted on the websites of the agencies themselves.

Using Your Benefits to the Max

Many veterans mostly focus on the GI Bill as their only educational benefit; this is because they think that a college degree is all that they need to thrive on the workplace. Don’t ignore other VA perks such as the new Readiness & Employment program, which provides vocational training to some veterans. Not to mention, VA loans for housing, which can make your transition into secondary education or your new career much easier.

Highlight Your Skills in Your Resume

You have experience that other civilians who are vying for the same job opportunities as you will not have. Military experience on its own shows commitment and dedication. Someone with gaps in their work history or someone who hasn’t held a job for more than a year won’t be able to compete with that. Make sure you have real-life examples you can talk about during interviews that will apply to the company. For example, if there is a story about you taking initiative or leading others, that is valuable experience.

 

In the end, veterans should not expect an easy transition to the civilian workforce; however, getting ahead in your career should not be difficult based on your military experience. It looks great on a resume for most companies you will apply to. Make sure you are able to highlight the skills you leaned in a light that will be appealing to the hiring manager.

Article written by Addy Reeds.
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Comments on Using Your Military Experience to Get Ahead in Your Career

Guys, I want to share my experience with you at GIsearch . After serving in Afghanistan, I faced the problem of employment, which is described in this article, and was able to find several options for solving it. Write to me if you, like me, faced difficulties in finding a job in the market, there you can find me as StefanGil

Guys, I want to share my experience with you at GIsearch . After serving in Afghanistan, I faced the problem of employment, which is described in this article, and was able to find several options for solving it. Write to me if you, like me, faced difficulties in finding a job in the market, there you can find me as StefanGil

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