Tag Archives: experience

Use Your Military Experience to Find a Job

As tens of thousands of our brave men and women return home from defending our country in Afghanistan, Iraq, and abroad, they face a staggering 11.7% unemployment rate for veterans. While the job market is improving, there is still a shortage of jobs to cover the rising workload. They have little time to train anyone, so the ideal new hire is someone who has done the exact job in a similar organization.

There is a pressing need for employers to hire these veterans and for their families become integral parts of our economy. Veterans have unique qualities that employers desire, which can give them an advantage in the job search. The problem is getting that message across. Here are some ways vets can use their military experience to become one of the most sought-after candidates in the workplace.

Unique Skills, Unique Environment
Veterans generally have a strong code of ethics. They’ve gone through detailed background checks and character evaluations to even join the armed forces. Now is the chance to utilize military ethics to market a vet job seeker as trustworthy and able to handle high-level, classified information, which can make them an asset to employers.

Veterans come from a culture and workplace that focuses on action and reliability. They have been trained to finish what they say they’ll do in the established time frame. The ability to finish projects in a timely manner is highly sought after in the private sector.

Speak in Civilian Terms
Veterans are a highly skilled and educated group of people. At any length of service, veterans have had hands-on training and education on technical and leadership skills. The problem many veterans face when looking for a job is getting employers to understand the value of their military experience.

The key is to put military terms, jargon, and information into something employers understand and desire. Look at interested companies and openings and research their needs and requirements. Then, tailor the résumé and interview answers to satisfy them. If vets need help explaining their skills, military.com has an excellent tool to translate military experience into civilian terminology.

Less is More
War is ugly. With many veterans coming back from dangerous combat zones, they have stories and experiences of the most admirable pursuits of a soldier. Unfortunately, those kinds of references can make employers uncomfortable and possibly squeamish. It’s best to tone down or remove references of the battlefield when explaining applicable skills from combat.

The office is also a much different environment than that of the military. The military has a strict line of authority and behavioral policies. The civilian workplace varies from employer to employer and is full of different personalities, cultures, and styles. While the “find the problem, fix-it, and move on” attitude of the military is a quality employers seek, fellow employees may be intimidated with military office culture. It’s best for veterans to find an employer that best fits their working style and attitude.

Put Your Résumé Through Civilian Boot Camp
Movin’ On Up has a Résumé Boot Camp to help job seekers make sure their résumé is most effective. Veterans looking to get back in the workplace should put their résumé through a strict regimen of civilian review. If veterans have an industry in mind, they should ask professionals to evaluate their résumé and find out what skills and experience employers in the industry are looking for. Not only will their résumé improve, but it will also give them a chance to network.

Those brave men and women who served our country shouldn’t have to feel frustrated and excluded from finding a job, settling back down, and enjoying the freedoms they fought to defend. As a veteran, what are some ways you’ve used your military experience to help your job search?

What to Do About Work Gaps

WEB10MSC_RESUME-BOOT-CAMP_W2 Whatever the reason is you’re looking for a new job, you’re going to need a résumé. And, you want one to stand out to an employer and make them take notice of you in a positive way. So, what do you do if your work history has a few gaps along the way? With typically only one minute to grab someone’s attention with your résumé, prospective employers sometimes don’t take the time to investigate little potholes along a job seeker’s workforce journey. Employers see work gaps frequently, but what they really want to see is an individual’s career growth and progression. So, if you’re currently experiencing a few of those gaps in your work history, what can you do now to help your résumé compete with the elite?

Format your résumé into a functional format. The functional format focuses on your actual skills and accomplishments rather than on the dates you worked at a job or your job titles. When you arrange your résumé by your skills, you’re highlighting the main points of why an employer should hire you.

Align your skills with the job you’re applying for. Be specific about your skills and relate them to the job you’re applying for. It’s important to keep things relevant. If you’re applying for a job as an administrative assistant, the prospective employer probably doesn’t want to know that you also have a knack for laying concrete. Instead, list out relevant skills like your knowledge of Microsoft Office, the ability to book meetings using Outlook, and experience in coordinating multiple events or meetings at a time.

Include your accomplishments. You’re trying to tell an employer why they should choose you over the other job applicants. This is your time to wow a potential employer about what you have achieved during your work history. Listing these helps combat a work gap by showcasing that you do have experience and good skills that achieved results. This showcases you as a more serious job candidate. Again, keep your accomplishments relevant to the job you’re applying for, but be sure to target your proudest achievements.

List your volunteer experience. Do you volunteer for an organization? If so, include that in your work history section. It doesn’t matter if you got paid or not. It’s still work experience you can include to show you haven’t been sitting around during your time away from a job.

These are a few tips to help you out. Sometimes an employment gap cannot be avoided, but that doesn’t mean you’re not qualified for the job. In addition, one more piece of advice is to create a cover letter to go along with your résumé. In your cover letter, be succinct about your work gap, but use this as an opportunity to better explain your work history. Apply these tips to help your job search, and don’t let a work history gap derail your career plans.

Poll Says Degrees Still Valuable, but Readers Share Frustrations

In our July monthly poll, we asked readers if they thought that this year, with high unemployment rates and a highly competitive job market, higher education is still worth the cost.

The results were mixed, but 50.3% of readers said that yes, they did think higher education is still valuable in this economy. At the same time, 32.9% of readers said that they did not think higher education is worth the cost, and 16.8% responded that they were not sure.

Comments on the poll illustrated that mixed feelings run deep when it comes to the value of higher education, especially in this economy. Some shared frustration, bitterness, and even anger about attaining college and advanced degrees but still struggling in a difficult job market.

Others offered insight into the value of work experience. One shared, “I just wouldn't recommend going from undergraduate to graduate school without any real work experience. It will be even harder in my opinion when you graduate.”

Another said, “A degree doesn't provide anyone with a guarantee. It does tend to open more doors than those who don't have a degree, but that is about it.”

So, as the summer wraps up and universities prep to welcome a new wave of students, will you be joining them? If so, are you planning to work to gain experience while you go to school? Are you looking for a different way to learn about your industry? Share your higher education plans for this upcoming semester in our comments section.