You’ve finally left the service, and you’re a full-blown veteran. Welcome home, and thank you for your service! Now it’s time to get a job again, but… no matter how many interviews you have, you just can’t seem to land one. Why? What’s wrong? Your resume is spotless, and you’re sure you’re answering the questions right. Maybe you’ve followed your recruiter’s tips to the letter? Forget what your recruiter told you, because he’s military. You need a civilian perspective to learn what civilian employers are really looking for.
Social Interaction Online
Your first step is to actually work at creating a social profile online. Recruiters and other military men usually tell you to just post your resume and wait. What you may not know from your time in the military is that things are constantly changing. Employers want to know more about you than just your resume, and they want to see whom you know.
Learn how to use sites like Facebook and LinkedIn to create a copy of you online. Let potential employers see how organized you are, rather than telling them. They’re looking to see who you are, rather than how long you’ve been in the army and where you graduated high school from.
Understand Their Perspective
A civilian has no idea what being in the military is like. All they’ve got to rely on are military personnel in movies and on shows, and maybe a few instances with their grumpy grandfather. They might think that you’re cold, and stiff, and would never actually interact with your coworkers. They forget that you’re still human, and that you can indeed adapt to your environment.
They forget that there’s more to the military than just shooting things and blowing things up. It’s up to you to reach out from that military persona to tell them that you’re not just a shoot-‘em-up guy, and that you also have a multitude of attributes that could really benefit their organization. They’re looking for a person who can get the job done, not a drone who just wants to give or take orders.
Learn to Adapt Socially
Alright, so you’ve trained how to sleep in 38 different positions, and know how to take care of yourself when it’s freezing outside, or when you’re in the middle of a desert. We’re not saying you don’t know how to adapt, just that you need to learn to adapt differently. When an interviewer asks you what your greatest strengths are, they’re not asking about your military perspective on strength.
They want to know that you play well with others, or stick to deadlines, not how long you can hike in a day. If they ask a question about you, they’re not looking for an answer that starts with “we.” You’re no longer part of the military, and civilians aren’t looking for your cumulative goals. They no longer care about your group thinking, because it disconnects from them. It makes them think you don’t have any strengths that are your own. Learn to always use “I” when answering questions, and attribute your strengths to your own experiences, not your platoon’s experiences.