How To Approach Job Search After The Military

Job search is a skill that many people have yet to master, and when you're looking for work right out of the military, it can be even more difficult. Related: 10 Helpful Job Search Resources For Veterans We received the following question is about post-military job search:


I'm a recently released Active Duty Officer now on Reserves. I have been home a little over five months now, and everyday I have been applying and searching for a career within my skill set from college and the army and have yet to be successful. I was wondering what else if anything can I do to find work? - C
Here's what our panel of career experts had to say.

Network, Network, Network

"Some estimates show that 80 percent of all jobs are now found through networking, so you need to step away from the computer and get out in front of employers," says Amanda Haddaway author of Destination Real World: Success After Graduation for New and Soon-to-Be College Graduates. Haddaway suggests doing the following:
  • Identify professional and business organizations in your area
  • Find out if they are hosting events in the next few weeks and sign up (There may be a nominal entry fee, but it's usually worth it.)
  • Come prepared with copies of your resume to hand them out as you chat with prospective employers
Dorothy Tannahill-Moran of NextChapterNewLife.com says if you're not doing much in terms of face-to-face networking, then make that the focus of your job search. "It's very hard to impress the computer systems that are managing your resume but when you put yourself directly in front of people it will be much more compelling," she says.

Talk to Your Army Connections

"As a Reservist, [you] should definitely leverage that unique relationship with [your] connections there and see if any of them could refer or recommend [you] for an opening," Ben Eubanks of UpstartHR.com says. "The 'double career life' lived by those in the Reserves lends itself well to a strong career network." Bud Bilanich, author of Climbing The Corporate Ladder, says you need to spend time talking to real people. He suggests using your Army connections and asking for referrals. "I don’t know how you’re going about your job search, but if you’re spending time responding to ads on job boards, you should stop that and begin speaking with people you know," he says.

Translate Your Resume

Elaine Basham of The Resume Group says to make sure your resume transitions your experience effectively to the private sector by doing the following:
  • Using “business speak”
  • The right keywords rather than military language
  • Quantifying your contributions
  • Adding the value you bring to an organization in terms of skills, strengths, competencies, and achievements
"Your LinkedIn profile should have a strong summary of your qualifications and career goals," Basham says. "Be sure to maximize the Skills section using key words that reflect your expertise. Join relevant groups on LinkedIn and begin building your network of industry contacts and recruiters, and cultivate relationships with recruiters in your industry so that when appropriate opportunities cross their desks, you’re the candidate on their radar."

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