By: AJE Recruiting Specialist
While the national unemployment rate hovers at 9.1%, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans – or Gulf War–ear II veterans – face a higher rate of unemployment of 13.3 percent. Overall, more than one million veterans are currently unemployed, with an additional anticipated to leave service this year through 2016. For veterans, the challenge is twofold – they not only have to combat higher unemployment and a stagnant economy, but also need to understand how their military skills can translate to civilian jobs. But there is good news. Many employers seek out members of the veteran community to fill positions, especially government agencies.
There are several career sectors most sought out by veterans after they end their military career, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates these to be high–growth sectors. Careers in Computer Science/Network Systems Management; Health Care Administration; Human Resources Training Management; Training and Education, and Law Enforcement are all popular career choices, according to USArmy.com.
Regardless of the career choice veterans will make, there is some preparation needed before they begin to pursue their job hunting prospects.
Translate your military skills into civilian language. Once you’ve determined jobs that best suit your skills, research job ads and pay close attention to the language being used. While your skills may fit the job perfectly, if you do not translate them on your resume – or in interviews – in a way that speaks to the employer’s language, you may not be considered for the position. Also look to military to civilian translation tools to help you better outline your experience if needed
Network both online and off line. Networking is still one of the most effective strategies in the job search process. Countless job hunters secure positions based on referrals from friends and family. If you do not have a networking group, build one. Friends, family, civic organizations, church groups – anyone that you can connect with and outline your job search goals may be able to connect you with a job opportunity. Also, be sure you are utilizing all the social networking platforms available, from LinkedIn to Twitter. Communities that cater to all needs, including veterans, are readily available online for you to connect with and improve your job prospects.
Determine if you need additional training. As with any job search, you may require some form of continuing education to achieve your job search goals. There are many resources available and most institutions now offer online courses and certificate programs that are both easily accessible and affordable. The federal government also offers education and training programs for veterans returning to the civilian workforce. Research your options.
Recognize that you have the skills that many hiring employers seek. Many employers look to the veteran community specifically because of their military skills. From their leadership ability, deep understanding of sophisticated technologies, and the fact that they already have the necessary background and security clearance required for a position, these are all appealing to potential employers.
For more articles and advice on veterans jobs, visit our Veterans Job Exchange now.