There are many companies and organizations that know the value of hiring Reservists, Guard members and Veterans: These courageous men and women are disciplined, well-trained, responsible and proven leaders.
Here are seven tips for helping you find and get hired by one of these employers:
- Be a strong job candidate to stand out from the crowd.
Tom Bullock, Chief of Employer Outreach for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense office, says first impressions and differentiating yourself are critical to landing a job.
“You’ve got eight seconds” to make that good first impression, said Bullock, who deals with both Fortune 500 companies as well as small to mid-size businesses.
Dressing appropriately for the position and bringing a business card with your name, phone number and email all help set you apart, Bullock said.
He encourages job-seekers to follow up meetings within five to seven days with a handwritten thank-you note with a second card enclosed to help the recruiter remember them. He also tells job seekers to write down the date, place and something about the meeting to help make their note more personal – and making the personal connection that could lead to a job.
“It works,” Bullock said.
Doing your homework is also vital, Bullock said. Oftentimes, executives tell him they are looking at whether a person will fit in to their corporate environment.
Thanks to the Internet, researching a company has never been easier, Bullock said. Doing your homework ensures you are prepared to answer and ask intelligent questions.
Bullock said he tells Service members to call companies and ask for informational interviews to find out more about a prospective career – and hone their own interview skills.
“Whether they know it or not,” Bullock said, “they are interviewing in a non-adversarial environment.’’
- Explore the resources available for Vets and Service members seeking jobs. These include:
- Veterans.gov: This website by the Department of Labor allows you to get one-on-one assistance, search for jobs, explore careers, and find training in your areas.
- The Veterans Employment Center. Here there is a Veterans Jobs Bank to help you find the right job.
- Vet Central: This site maintains a list of companies that like to hire Vets. You simply enter your MOC, Rank, Branch of Service and location, and the site will show jobs in your area – and some outside your area, if you’re interested in relocating.
- Register for a Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program (YRRP) event. You can meet with a representative of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR). These ESGR representatives have excellent contacts at military friendly employers, and they’ll point you in the right direction. Find an event near you here.
- Check out job fairs held by various organizations for Veterans. For example, the Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes campaign holds a number of events where you can meet employers interested in hiring Vets.
- Consider working for the federal government. A number of federal agencies actively hire Vets. Check out Feds Hire Vets, a website that helps the federal government find, recruit and hire Veterans. Learn more here.
- Look closely at defense contractors. They will highly value your military skills, knowledge and capabilities. If you have a security clearance, that’s even better.
- Work through LinkedIn: LinkedIn is offering free access for one year to its LinkedIn Job Seeker, a premium service valued at $300. Visit here to learn more and sign up.
Bullock, 67, served in the U.S. Air Force and received a number of awards, including the Bronze Star. But as a returning Vietnam Veteran in 1970, he did not advertise his military service.
“Now things have changed,” Bullock said. “There’s an incredible sea of good will towards hiring Guard and Reserves, Veterans and transitioning Service members.”
Remember: You’ve already served in the military, tackling some of the world’s toughest and most demanding jobs. You can do this, too. Good luck!