4 Tips For Veterans Trying To Get A Foot In The Door Of The Corporate World

Service members and Deparment of Defense personnel draw a bullseye during an activity to understand networking at the Marketing Yourself presentation at the Marine Memorial Chapel on Camp Pendleton.
U.S. Marine Corps

Editor’s Note: The following article highlights two Hirepurpose clients that are committed to filling their ranks with talented members of the military community. Learn more here.

At Hirepurpose, we know that one of the biggest challenges newly separated service members can face when leaving the military is getting a foot in the door of the private sector. Not only can finding a job be a huge stressor on its own, but adding a military transition to that can seem almost overwhelming. If you went straight from high school to the armed forces, there’s a chance you’ve never applied for a job before! Don’t worry, you aren’t alone; if you take the time to prepare before you transition and you follow the advice provided by some of Hirepurpose’s corporate partners, then you’ll have a much greater advantage over your counterparts.

Here are four tips for easing your transition into the corporate world after the military.

1. When writing your resume, highlight the leadership skills you learned in the military.

“Employers know and value the unique leadership skills, discipline, solid work ethic, and desire to help and support others, that veterans offer,” Caroline Feeney, president of Prudential Advisors, tells Hirepurpose. “Highlighting these skills on your resume and during interviews helps prospective employers see how your military experience aligns to their needs.” Prudential, an Equal Opportunity Employer (disability/veteran), has a long-standing commitment to military veterans and their families, knows that providing programs that help veterans transition into the workforce is much more than the right thing to do; it’s a smart talent strategy that gives companies a competitive advantage.

2. Start building a professional network of people to guide you months before you get out.

It’s very rare that anyone makes a big career transition without a good network of people to lean on. These are people who can offer first-hand advice about military transitions and the corporate sector, give you feedback and recommendations on your resume, and make introductions to hiring managers and other people who will further grow your network. However, this doesn’t happen overnight. Six months before you transition, you should make sure you have an updated LinkedIn account, then start adding people and letting them know you’re going to be looking for a job in the near future. Also, don’t forget to pay it forward by helping others in your network any way you can. You never know how a good deed could come back to you in the future.

3. Stand out by paying attention to the small details.

“Here at Fiserv, attention to detail, critical-thinking skills, and a focus on structure and ethics are just a few of the traits we find most appealing in our veterans,” Kevin Pennington, Fiserv’s chief human resources officer, says. That doesn’t mean writing “Pay attention to detail” on your resume; instead, make sure to include key details of your experience that demonstrates your accomplishments, format your resume into a clean and easy-to-read document, and most importantly, make sure there are no typos!

4. Say yes to as many opportunities as you can.

As you start to envision the type of role you’ll be in when you get out of the military, try not to limit yourself to just one type of career or industry. Your military transition is your opportunity to do something completely different from your MOS, and if you don’t think broadly, you may miss out on the chance at your dream job. Corporate companies offer all sorts of jobs that you might not realize even exist. Therefore, when people offer to talk to you about their careers, take the time to listen, even if you don’t think it would interest you. Go to job fairs and ask lots of questions. And if you do get an offer that seems like it takes you out of your comfort zone, stay open-minded. Don’t say no unless you’ve given it a fair shake.

Editor's Note: This article by Hope Hodge Seck originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

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