Conducting a Post-Discharge Job Search

Introduction

Are you getting jittery about finding gainful employment after leaving military service? Every year, thousands of former service members find themselves thrust into the civilian economy with many curiosities ahead of them. While it is helpful that the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) administers a one-day employment preparation workshop for all transitioning service members and two optional two-day workshops for career exploration, technical career preparation, or general employment preparation, some still find themselves needing additional assistance. Having a resume and a few leads may not be enough.

To land a career-focused position directly after military service, you need a comprehensive, detailed search plan. Of course, these strategies begin with an updated resume, so consider using a career management portal or hiring an expert to make yours perfect. Additionally, you will need financial resources to pay for things like interview coaching, business clothing, everyday expenses until your first paycheck, travel, and more. Here are details about the first few steps of the process, along with suggestions about interviewing, cover letters, follow-up, and honing in on employers who are a match for your skills and preferences.

Financing

Navigating this life transition can impact your budget in ways you may not be totally prepared for. Chances are, if you conduct an active search, you will (for example) need to pay to travel to one or more out-of-town interviews, cover the cost of professional interview coaching, and pay for living expenses for at least a few months while you hunt for employment. Fortunately, you can take out a personal loan from a private lender. Not only will you get the convenience of online applications, but private lenders offer flexibility that traditional institutions do not have. These types of personal loans offer competitive rates and can help you build a financial bridge between the end of military service and the first day of your new career.

Interview Skills

If resumes get you the interview, your personal skills are what get you hired. Never assume that being naturally personable will get you through a detailed employment interview. It will not. Consider spending time taking online tutorials and consider hiring a coach to help you prepare for the kinds of questions hiring managers might ask, for example. Expect specific inquiries about your skills, past accomplishments, and long-term goals. You need to rehearse appropriate responses and be ready to answer in a way that is to your advantage (i.e. how your skills and experience suite the role and organisation).

Cover Letters and Follow-Up

Every resume you send to a prospective employer should contain a one-page cover letter. A cover letter is essentially a way for you to introduce yourself and your background to prospective employers. This is also your first impression, often ahead of your resume. There are certain aspects (and key words) employers are looking for, such as how your achievements relate to the specific role at hand, as well as your general enthusiasm for the position and company. Have different sets of eyes check your cover letter for spelling and grammar errors, as some hiring managers could stop reading as soon as they spot an error.

Targeting the Right Employers

Select ten or more companies that appeal to you. In addition to leads you get from your network, send unsolicited resumes to each of your top-ten organisations. Many job seekers are surprised that this cold calling strategy can yield results as it seems antiquated and aimless. However, a cold call can get you in the door, after which your resume, approach, and personality will have to handle the heavy lifting, but the call yields the initial point of contact. The point is to aim for your favourites while simultaneously working on every reasonable lead you uncover.

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