Advice to help you stand out from the crowd
By Bernard Freeman
Our feature this week has two messages, the first is for those who have served in the military, and we have a lot of veterans in Central Virginia, and the second is great advice for everyone.
Employment after Military Service
While a career in the military can prove to be a lifelong venture, many men and women choose to return to civilian life once their enlistment is complete. Serving provides you with an incredible skill set and experiences to help find your dream job. Do you know how to use them to market yourself to hiring managers?
Most companies use software like applicant-tracking systems to filter through job seekers before a resume is presented to an actual human. Make sure your application is fine-tuned to peak to the job requirements and responsibilities. Even an impressive military career can be overlooked if it doesn’t appease the software’s expectations.
A resource you should consider is a professional resume writer or career counselor. They can efficiently draft a portfolio to explain your career goals and attract attention from hiring managers. Here are some other beneficial ways to get started in your civilian job hunt.
The COOL Program
Credentialing Opportunities On-Line Program is in place to help those who have served, with assistance in translating the skills honed in the military to civilian credentials. Each branch offers their own unique service, which is easily accessible with a proficient search engine. Here are a few areas where they can help, according to the United States Department of Defense’s Military OneSource Network.
Gain information on credentials relating to your service specialty.
Identify gaps in training and credential requirements.
Provide resources to close the gap between credentials and training.
The Department of Labor reports that the unemployment rate for veterans was 2.7% in May, that’s down from 3.4% from 2018. Assistance from agencies like the Department of Veteran Affairs offer advantages for servicemen and women to showcase their talents and connect with like-minded employers. It’s easy to register with the VA and ensure your contact information and resume is available to hiring managers in search of your skill set.
Having military experience is a requirement for numerous high-paying jobs. You can find them by reaching out to local recruiters, networking on professional social media outlets and even the classifieds section of your morning newspaper. Best of luck on your job search for your post-military career and thank you for your service.
You Need a Strong Cover Letter
Many job seekers place the majority of their focus on drafting the perfect resume. A common mistake is forgetting to dedicate the same passion to a cover letter. When prepared accurately and professionally, this documentation duo can be the difference between landing the job and waiting for an interview.
Your resume is enhanced by a cover letter that provides another opportunity to brag about your skills and how they can benefit a company. Try not to duplicate the information; instead, explain to a hiring manager how you can have a direct impact on the challenges they are facing, based on the job description.
It’s important to do your research on the company so you can specifically target their needs.
A Strong Opening
The Harvard Business Review states one of the most important things to include in your cover letter is an opening expressing why you’re a good fit for the position. Start with an explanation that showcases how your previous experiences will meet the needs they describe in their job posting.
For instance, when applying for a leadership position, provide a brief explanation about the accomplishments you obtained with a previous team.
Make sure to include how many employees you oversaw and how you improved productivity. Your opening should also include any personal connections you have with someone who is already employed within the company. You can also impress a hiring manager by addressing your cover letter directly.
With a little research on social media and company profiles, you should be able to find their name easily.
Show Personal Value
After a strong introduction, you can emphasize your value by displaying proactive problem-solving skills. Again, research will be a beneficial strategy so you can discover issues your targeted company is facing. Don’t worry if you are unable to discover a specific problem, you can find common trends that impact most businesses within the industry.
Show your wisdom by discussing new laws or mandates that may affect a company and a plan to adjust a strategy to accommodate them. Here, you can share a professional experience which explains how you solved a problem previously.