Eight months after leaving active duty, I still hadn’t started a salaried job. I was working two internships and a number of side jobs, but I after sending out dozens of resumes, I hadn’t yet found an honest-to-goodness full-time position. I had left the Army as a captain, making very decent money once you factored in BAH. That was in Texas, where not only is the cost of living is extremely low, there’s no state income tax. Now, living in New York City, where rent, food, transportation, and taxes are near the highest in the U.S., I was making minimum wage. The internships were always meant to be stepping stones — a brief interlude in my career transition — to a decent-paying job in my chosen industry.
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
There are plenty of routes to go once you leave the military. For many, it means going back to school. For some, it means stepping straight into industry. Manufacturing is often an attractive sector for veterans for a number of reasons. For one, jobs in this category can offer you the satisfaction of creating something, or being in charge of people who are creating things. Secondly, you generally don’t need to go back to school for those type of jobs. And, it’s a sector that includes a number of union positions, which come with benefits.
With over 250 million profiles, LinkedIn is an incredibly powerful tool for veterans and transitioning service members. But to use it effectively, you need to think a little less conventionally about your job hunt. Too many people mistake the process of applying to jobs as the only way to get a job. The truth is, getting a job is about positioning, networking, and standing out from the crowd. Here are five ways you can use LinkedIn to better position yourself.
Transitioning and advancing in the civilian workforce offers more opportunity than pitfalls for military veterans. The civilian career transition is the opportunity to build on your experience, find a new career, discover a passion in a new field, find a place to call home, and learn how to excel in a new corporate culture. Gallup found that one of the leading challenges for companies is hiring engaging employees and good managers. According to Gallup, “The best managers are gifted with the ability to inspire employees, drive outcomes, overcome adversity, hold people accountable, build strong relationships, and make tough decisions based on performance rather than politics.” Know anyone with these skill sets?
For one of the many hats I wear, I work as a counselor at a veteran employment center. There I attempt, with limited time, staff and monetary resources, to help veterans find jobs, with varying degrees of success.