One of the toughest challenges that any individual faces when looking for a job is finding the right position for the experience that he or she actually has. Unfortunately, even with a ton of experience, it can sometimes feel next to impossible to be considered for more than an entry-level job, let alone higher level positions.
This can be especially problematic for veterans who have held leadership roles and know that they can do better than entry-level. But what you know doesn’t always translate on paper the way that you would like, especially when a majority of your work experience is in the military. Fortunately, there are many ways that you can overcome this hurdle and obtain higher level positions, even in a market where they can be next to impossible to get.
Related: Smart questions you should be asking during any job interview.
The first thing to keep in mind is that you really do need to emphasize your leadership abilities. When you’re writing your resume and going through the process of translating your skills, remember that recruiters and hiring managers like hard numbers and accomplishment-driven details. Even if a hiring manager doesn’t understand what your rank in the military entailed, specifically stating the number of people that you led, the type of power you held, and the objectives that you achieved will help communicate what you’re really capable of.
Also remember to do your research on the types of positions available at the level of employment that you want. What types of degrees and certifications are employers looking for? How many years of experience? Even if you don’t have years’ worth of experience in the civilian world, your years in the military can and should translate to their employment requirements, so long as you can make a case for them.
Make sure to explore organizations like Hirepurpose that specialize in recruitment of veterans. During the review phase, you can take the Birkman career assessment — a tool built on over 60 years of research and used by more than 10,000 companies — to analyze your strengths and interests, and the career fields that best match your experience. It also offers feedback on the ideal work environment that best supports your personality type. If you’re a task-oriented individual who values systematic approaches to meeting your goals, then you may thrive in a job involving mechanics, which can range anywhere from design maintenance to machinery operations.
Finally, remember that if a company appeals to you but they don’t currently have any vacancies that match your experience, you can check back later to see if anything has opened up. Don’t be afraid to reach out and make connections, either — you may be surprised by just how valuable a simple phone call or a request for an informational interview can be in helping you get a job at the level you really want down the line.
You don’t have to settle for entry-level if your experience and skills qualify you for something more. Of course, you shouldn’t rule out entry-level positions as a possibility, either, especially in fields where there is a lot of room for advancement. It’s up to you to decide how you want to navigate this particular aspect of finding a great job, and there are plenty of ways to go about it.