Friday, October 3, 2014

how to find a job as a veteran

how to find a job as a veteran
 Two major veteran reports came out this week and both show that veterans are struggling to find jobs, keep jobs and that they need more assistance with transition to the workforce. The first study was done by the respected USC school of Social work that works with veterans found that 80% of veterans leave the military without a job. This trend is particularly disturbing in light of the recently revamped transition process for those people leaving the service.

The second study was by the highly prestigious Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families. The University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families study found that more than 65% of veterans leave their first civilian job within 2 years and that the jobs don’t match their military skills sets. The combination of these factors is well known in the veteran’s community and while the studies are helpful for policy makers veterans needs help in these critical areas. Here are three takeaways that any veteran can use immediately to help with a job search.

1. Hire a professional.

2. Talk to everybody

3. Be persistent

Hire a professional because everyone looking for a job in today’s tight job market should use a staffing and recruiting professional to review their cover letter and resume. When a pipe bursts in your house you call a plumber because he has the tools and expertise to fix the problem in a reasonable time frame. Well recruiters are the plumbers of the job world because they see a lot of resumes and they know what companies are looking for and what to avoid. A good example is the objective section on a resume. This outdated piece of resume advice almost always states the person wants to work in specific career field instead of showing how the person’s skills can add value to a company. An updated resume is a powerful tool in today’s ultra-competitive job market.

A 2010 survey by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 70% of jobs are found by networking. Most high quality jobs are found by recommendations and by effectively using a network. Keep a list of the people you have contacted and use Facebook and LinkedIn to contact all your family friends and coworkers and ask everyone for one referral. Sitting at a computer filling out the millionth job application gets tiring but cross referencing the contacts from your LinkedIn network with employers that are likely to hire you is likely to have far better results. Create a rubric for the job search that has the name of the company, how the job lead was found, and who was contacted and add a column for veteran contacts. Maintain the rubric and keep track of which companies you hear back from because this will give an idea of what type of employer is interested in your skill set and you can specifically target this type of employer.

Persistence according to the Oxford dictionaries is “the continued or prolonged existence of something”. I work with a lot of veterans and it’s a common complaint that employers don’t value military service. Here are the links to each local,state and federal agency that directly helps veterans find employment:

Locate and contact the veteran’s rep within the Federal Department of Labor.
Locate and contact State Veteran’s representative.
Locate and contact county level veteran’s representative.

Most employer surveys show that that they just don’t understand military service because they haven’t served and don’t speak the same language. It’s crucial to meet with the people who are on the front lines helping veterans find and keep jobs such as the county veteran representative, the state veteran’s agency, and the local department of labor veteran’s rep and to stay focused and positive.

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