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5 Hacks that Will Help You Transition to a Civilian Job

You were a civilian before. You know how the world outside military works. Still, it’s really hard to transition back to it. You’ve been part of the military for so long that now all civilian job opportunities seem too complex, too simple, or too irrelevant to your skills.

You’re in for a challenging mission. The employment situation for veterans has been improved over the recent years. The National Association of American Veterans provides employment and training opportunities for veterans, but you can’t expect the organization to take care of everything. You need to make your own efforts to make a smooth transition into the civilian job market.

We’ll give you few tips that will help you do it.

  1. Polish Out Your Resume!

Danielle Smith, a writer from EssayOnTime, explains that resumes still matter. “That’s the essential part of job applications. Most veterans don’t care for resumes too much. The medals they earned are not really applicable in the civilian job market, so they don’t know what to include. Your experience counts! The quality of the resume you write is crucial.”

In the military, you were practically wearing your resume. All your military experience was visible on your uniform. Now, you have a difficult task: translate that experience into skills that are important for civilian jobs. And you’ll have to write that in an acceptable form and style.

Don’t worry; there’s a lot to include in a resume, even if this is the first civilian job you’re after. You increased the efficiency of your team, you handled a huge responsibility during your service, and you were highly competitive. List all your skills and qualifications in a way that trigger the interest of a potential employer.

  1. Take Initiative

Many companies are willing to hire veterans. Hilton, for example, pledged to hie 20,000 of them. However, that doesn’t mean that the job will fall into your lap. You have to take initiative. First of all, figure out what career path you want to pursue. If necessary, get the needed training. There are many online courses that enable you to gain different skills. If you’re not qualified for the jobs you want, you better start working on it.

Once you have that part sorted out, you can start looking through job ads. You need a well-planned approach. Set short-term and long-term career goals and start doing whatever it takes to pursue them.

  1. Start Networking

Do you have a LinkedIn profile? If not, you should absolutely start working on it. Today! This works like your virtual portfolio. However, you won’t be submitting it along your job applications. You’ll be using it for networking. Build your network of relevant contacts! Join groups related to your interests and become an active member of those communities.

If you’re good at writing, you can start publishing content on LinkedIn. That’s a great way to showcase your skills and knowledge, and attract recruiters to contact you. LinkedIn has its own job listing platform, so you can find opportunities for employment right there.

  1. Be a Civilian!

Since you’re not looking for a job in the military, you don’t need a LinkedIn profile that shows you as part of that sector. Of course you’ll list that experience, but you should still show you’re ready to work as a civilian. Pick a nice photo in professional-looking clothes. If you browse through LinkedIn profiles, you’ll notice that most members choose a headshot where they smile, but don’t laugh. That’s the right way to go. Such a photo shows you as a friendly, approachable personality.

You’ll show yourself as a civilian not only through the photo, but through the language you use as well. In the military, you were used to stiff, clear expressions. Now, your communication has to be much more relaxed. 

  1. Get Informed about Different Companies. Get Insights on Their Culture

When you’re trying to find a job, you’re focused on matching your skills with the requirements you see. It’s not about you being worthy of the job. Remember this: it’s about the job being worthy of your skills and interests. Once you identify your goals, you’ll need to find the companies that will help you reach them. That’s where you want to work - a company that values your skills and your personality.

Of course, you’ll also need to make some adjustments. Once you identify the organizations you would like to work for, you’ll need to get informed about their culture. What projects are these companies working on? What’s the vibe in the offices? You’ll easily get this information if you check the websites and social media profiles of the organizations. All of them are trying to develop a brand out of their organizational culture.

When you’re applying for a job, you need to show how you’ll become a valuable addition in that community. You’ll not only do your job responsibly and professionally, but you’ll also make the office a better place to work at. Explore your hobbies and show your fun side on the resume and during interviews. Hiring managers love that! 

If you do everything right on LinkedIn and you send out resumes to all the right ads, you’ll soon start getting invitations for interviews. That’s when you’ll show your interest in this company. There are few important questions you’ll get from hiring managers:

  • What makes you the right candidate for this position?
  • What attracted you to our company?
  • Does your military background make you suitable for this role?

You need to prepare your answers to those questions. Think what you’ll say. However, you mustn't sound like you memorized those answers. Be relaxed and spontaneous during the interviews. Respect the interviewer and don’t address them by their first name (unless they ask you to do so). Still, maintain a relatively friendly tone that presents you not as a robot from the military, but as a real person. 

 

This journey won’t be easy. You’ll have to prove your experience in the military makes you a great fit for the civilian job you’re after. Then, the transition will follow. Your entire life will change. But hey, you’ve been through more challenging missions than that one.   

Joan Selby is a content marketer and passionate blogger. Former teacher and fancy shoelover. A writer by day and reader by night. Find her on Twitter and Facebook.