May is Military Appreciation month, and we meet many outstanding job applicants whose military experience sets them apart from the rest. But it can be challenging to demonstrate how a military background is relevant in the private sector, leaving many veterans and qualified candidates in the dark when it comes to employment opportunities. Our recruiters look for compatible skills and strong values when we send a former military member on a job interview.
Job applicants with military backgrounds have strong work ethics and already know the importance of professionalism and integrity. They typically have great follow-through on all tasks, because they’re accustomed to functioning in an environment where the success--and even safety--of their team relies on an individual’s ability to execute the task. They also have a reputation for learning and thinking quickly because they already know how to function under pressure.
Hiring managers who employ veterans never have to worry about their professional presentation. Their commitment to their duty requires them to be sharply dressed, clean shaven, and to carry themselves with a sense of pride. They’re known for being polite and respectful to peers and superiors. When these values are entrenched in their military careers, they carry over into civilian life.
Are you a veteran looking for a great way to stand out in your job search? Be friendly and outgoing in your interview, and don’t be afraid to toot your own horn. Have patience with your hiring manager; remember that many people these days do not have direct connections to the military and often do not understand the lifestyle. Turn this interaction into an opportunity to show the civilian employer how your experience can add value to their firm. It’s also a great idea to participate in your company’s community events. Being engaged with your work life may require a more conscious effort than before, because structure and a sense of community are not as inherently built into the civilian workday as they are in the military life.
If you are a servicemember having trouble converting your resume into civilian terms, try reaching out to your MWR office. They often have counselors and various career resources to help you in your transition into the civilian workforce. There are also many helpful website tools (such as http://www.realwarriors.net/veterans/treatment/civilianresume.php) that will make it easier to reword your resume to impress a civilian recruiter.
The military is one of the only institutions in our nation where honor and nobility are held in high regard, and where each and every person is valued. To most hiring managers, the sensibility and humility that military applicants possess are a breath of fresh air.