Now that hiring processes are happening online, veterans have to change how they prepare for civilian careers.
For some veterans, transitioning to civilian life feels a little bit like they’re competing on the History Channel’s hit survival series, Alone, where contestants test their skills—and their limits—to survive the challenges presented by unfamiliar terrain.
Yes, this comparison is a bit dramatic. You probably don’t have to worry about trapping and preserving food throughout your job search, but there’s no doubt that preparing for a civilian career is difficult for many service members. It isn’t easy to communicate how years of military experience have prepared you for new career opportunities.
Now that—for many companies—the hiring process happens online, veterans are facing an additional challenge: adapting to virtual hiring processes. In this blog, we outline six steps veterans should take before they begin their virtual military transition.
6 Tips to Help Veterans Nail Virtual Job Searches
Don’t know where to start? These six tips will help you approach your virtual job search with a renewed sense of purpose.
- Prepare your career transition materials.
The first thing standing between you and a successful civilian career is . . . paperwork.
As you begin your virtual job search, make sure that your resume, references, and LinkedIn profile are in good shape. Your resume should underscore skills that translate best to your desired career path, and your updated LinkedIn profile should let potential employers know that you’re open to new opportunities.
As you work on these materials, think critically about your military experience and abilities. How will this experience translate to your civilian career? What common, transferable skills did you practice during your military career? Although many veterans lack industry-specific experience for their career paths of interest, they’re incredibly adaptable and have honed their collaboration, complex problem-solving, and leadership skills.
Pro tip: Eligible service members can sign up for the VA’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP), which provides valuable employment information and training, as well as resume writing and interviewing resources.
- Research a variety of career paths and companies.
If you haven’t meticulously planned out the next 40 years of your life, congratulations. You’re in great company. The truth is that many veterans don’t know exactly what they want to pursue after life in the military—and that’s fine! As you begin researching potential career paths, it’s important to avoid prematurely limiting your search. Throughout 2020, the spread of the novel coronavirus negatively affected the global economy, leading to a significant decrease in job postings. Since fewer positions are available for job searchers, veterans should consider different types of jobs across multiple industries.
Pro tip: A willingness to accept new challenges and adapt your search based on who’s hiring may increase your chances of landing a position.
- Seek out virtual networking and career-building opportunities.
Job boards are great, but veterans shouldn’t limit their searches to recent postings. Talk about your job search and career goals with your friends and colleagues, or sign up for an online job fair. These connections and virtual events will expand your job search, allowing you to get your foot in the door at companies that may not have posted opportunities on job boards.
Pro tip: After you identify companies that align with your skill set, goals, and values, use LinkedIn to connect with veterans employed by those organizations.
- Hone your virtual interview skills.
Although video conferencing may seem more daunting than meeting in person, a job interview is still a job interview—and your preparation for an online interview shouldn’t differ much from how you would prepare under normal circumstances. Research the company with which you’re interviewing, practice your answers to common interview questions, and make sure that you’re able to succinctly and effectively explain how your experience has prepared you for the company’s opening. As you become more comfortable with your materials and responses, practice with a friend or family member.
Pro tip: While you’re rehearsing for virtual interviews, get to know your video conferencing equipment. Testing your camera, microphone, and video conferencing software ahead of time will reduce the risk of preventable equipment malfunctions during your important meeting.
- Organize your virtual interview space.
The main difference between in-person and online job interviews is housework. That’s right; after you organize your resume, notes, and other supporting materials, you have to clean and prepare your virtual interview space.
If you don’t have a home office, find a quiet, clean area of your living space that looks professional. As you prepare your set-up, pay attention to the lighting and background. Try to avoid sitting in front of windows, and make sure that potentially distracting objects remain out of the camera’s frame. This means that you may have to relocate your collection of rare action figures for the time being, but it’s for a good cause.
Pro tip: During your interview, place a light behind your computer screen to illuminate your face.
- Take advantage of veteran-focused organizations.
INvets was founded by veterans, for veterans. Our resources and professional network help veterans connect with companies in Indiana that want veterans on their staff, so when you apply for one of our featured positions, you know that you have a shot at landing it. Whether you need a new challenge or a chance to climb the ranks at a reputable organization, you’ll find thousands of relevant listings on our job board.
Register for an INvets account today to start planning your next move.
Pro tip: Check out our career-building resources to maximize your opportunities and plan your transition to life in Indiana.
Helping Veterans Start Lucrative Careers in Indiana
The sooner you begin to prepare for your virtual job search, the smoother it will go. If you need additional support throughout your transition to civilian life, connect with INvets. We want to do everything we can to help you get hired.