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Recruiter's tips

As a military veteran, the skills you've learned and the experiences you've acquired during your military service often transition well to positions in corporate America. Here are some tips to help you make the most of these skills and experiences when seeking a new career opportunity.

You have the energy, commitment and drive we're looking for. The tenacity and desire to accomplish a goal and make an impact are what we look for when hiring veterans.  The experience of working together on common missions and rallying a team under difficult situations are experiences and skills that will help you stand out.  

You are qualified for civilian positions. Many military personnel are not aware of how transferable their skills are. We all have to accomplish tasks, rely on information coming from other sources, add value and deliver a more complete product to either business partners or customers. The core competencies you learn while serving your country are what we look for in employees.  

Think about your transition to the corporate world today. Try to determine what you want to do as soon as you have a firm separation date targeted. If you don’t know, you can start by utilizing transition personnel on base. Research career opportunities, ask who has transitioned where and contact them. Also, ask for their thoughts and advice as you consider possibilities. Your military experience opens a lot of doors. Our veterans are always willing to talk to someone and help.

Utilize the resources available to you. In order to prepare for your transition from the military to corporate American, it's critical that you utilize all of the resources available to you. Consider your short- and long-term career goals and then determine which organizations will help you achieve those goals. Also important is the need to look at what geographic preferences you have and use that information to pinpoint particular companies. And finally, you should be patient – the transition will take some time. 

You have an excellent story to tell. You have had amazing experiences that will differentiate you in the eyes of many employers. The work you do on a daily basis impacts the lives of many. Feel good about what you’ve done and be able to articulate that to the people you meet. Your experiences exemplify hard work, dedication and commitment. All of those qualities are what employers look for in each and every employee. 

Write a resume that focuses on your achievements. Military candidates often focus on what the team achieved versus what their individual role was in a project or accomplishment. Resumes should be used to focus on what you bring to the table and the positive impact you can have. Be sure to quantify the size of a team, budget or duration of a project in which you were involved. In order to determine what a person is capable of doing, it is important to look at what they’ve done in the past. It’s critical that the scope and span of control are provided within a resume.

Avoid using military jargon. When preparing your resume or speaking at an interview, explain terminology you use that is common in the military. Don’t assume the interviewer knows what you are talking about.

Prepare to have a conversation about yourself. Many military personnel underestimate their abilities and sometimes give very short yes or no answers at interviews. Corporate culture expects more dialogue and more explanation. Interviews should be a two-sided conversation with an equal exchange of information. Remember, you should be sizing up the prospective employer as much as they are you. Come prepared to not only speak about yourself and your abilities, but to also help the interviewer understand how your skills are transferable to the position. Prepare relevant business questions that will help facilitate a two-sided conversation. Access our interview tips page for more information on making the best first impression.

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