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Making Your “Veteran” Status Work for You

In Human Resources — by Recruiterbox

When you’re surrounded by a certain peer group for an extended period of time, you tend to communicate very well with each other. However, after transitioning from one group to another, certain lingo doesn’t often get received in the same manor.

For example, a veteran telling a recruiter or interviewer what his job responsibilities were in the military. The recruiter hears what the veteran is saying, but if they lack military knowledge or experience, most of the conversation may get lost in translation. This alone is detrimental in the search for a new career.

To prepare yourself for the civilian market, one of the most important things you can do is research. Look up equivalent civilian jobs for your MOS, and rehearse conveying this to people in terms they’ll understand. Additionally, take time to think about and research the skills you have that would be applicable to civilian jobs, and what jobs need skills like yours.

If you take the time to do the research, being able to build your resume and convey your skills to others becomes much easier. Using helpful military transition resources that offer resume tips and networking opportunities aid in simplifying this process.

When it comes to writing a resume, there are a lot of missed opportunities. This is especially true for veterans, who possess many qualities employers love to see, but often place too much emphasis on military duties instead of the technical skills, soft skills, training, medals and awards. When establishing your resume, consider the following:

1. Technical skills that detail your abilities like leading men, repairing communication systems, healthcare specialties and so on.

2. Soft skills that show a strong work ethic, adaptability, leadership skills, efficiency, working well under pressure and a self-driven attitude.

3. Training and tactical training, or anything that you want to add that could be pertinent to the position. Don’t sell yourself short.

4. Awards and commendations are a universal language, so if you earned anything like good conduct or something else, include it for reference.

When your resume is complete, tailor it accordingly to each company that you apply to. The same goes with the cover letter. You never want to mass produce the same cover letter and resume, but modify them to relate the best with each company .

Also be aware that a lot of companies, if not most, accept resumes online. If this is the case, make sure you have a resume in ASCII- plain text- format. This is the only way that will ensure that across different platforms and readers they see exactly what you see. If you submit a resume that comes up jargon or a bunch of symbols on their computers, you can kiss that interview goodbye.

Perhaps one of the most important things you can do to make sure your resume is in tip-top shape is always, always get it read by at least two people. Grammatical errors happen to even the best writers, so it’s necessary to get as many fresh eyes as possible on your resume and cover letters before they’re sent out.

It’s also a good idea to try to have as many of those eyes as possible be civilian. If your friends and family can understand what you have on your resume, then possible employers should be able to as well.

The last thing to think about before sending your resume out for scrutiny is to seriously look at it and decide if it is the best and most accurate representation of every asset, skill, quality that you possess. This is what gets employers to want to meet with you in person, so make sure it’s the best possible depiction of you.

About the Author

August Nielsenis the Human Resources Director for Veterans United Home Loans , and is responsible for hiring over 1,000 employees in the past five years for a company recently named the #1 job creator nationally in the financial industry by Inc. Magazine as well as making the Great Place to Work top 25. Connect with August on Google+.

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