Returning U.S. veterans have the skills and experience to compete in today’s tight job market. Yes, it’s a bit crowded. But no, vets should not feel disadvantaged. If you’re a vet entering the job market, you just need the job searching basics and resources. And to stand out, you’re going to have to be more tech-savvy.
Employers are now actively seeking employees with a proven track record in online awareness and digital proficiency. Establish an online presence and a job interview presentation that includes digital references, work samples and experience. Also, search for employment opportunities and network online.
Your online persona should be more than a socially focused one. It’s okay to have a Facebook account where you chat with friends, post memes, and discuss politics and religion. But maintain a professional and respectable online persona, no matter what platform, especially when on the job hunt. You should have Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts, all associated with each other and all with the same professional and social demeanor. According to an article in Time Magazine, more than half of all job recruiters are using these three online platforms to find candidates. Employers rely on these sites to narrow the field of prospects for final interviews.
A typed resume is also helpful for basic information, but you’ll need a digital portfolio of your established work. Consider making a video resume, or at least as an accompaniment to your printed resume. Emphasize the strengths that come from military service. Mention any training you have had and the specific skills learned. Highlight any leadership roles and specific software or other technical experience you have gained.
Consider building your own website, if for no other reason than to post a daily blog on your job search efforts. Employers like to see this. Use it to display your portfolio, video resume and links to the rest of your professional online presence. Post enough information about yourself to answer basic questions a potential employer may have, but be careful not to reveal too much. Identity thieves also use social media and personal online profiles to target people, according to LifeLock. Protect your information and make sure your computer is up-to-date on malware and spyware protection. Also, research your prospective employer’s website. Thoroughly learn about the company and see what they would look for in potential candidates.
Online Resources & Websites
The good news is that unemployment is down to 7.3 percent for returning veterans, according to the U.S. Department of Labor statistics. And resources offer onsite job search functions with job listings. G.I.Jobs provides informative interviews with company recruiters, discussing what they like and don’t like while hiring veterans. MilitaryHire.com offers an available-jobs database and the ability to post your resume online. Military.com boasts the largest job board for vets and a list of military-friendly employers. Also, look into The National Veterans Foundation and VetJobs.com.