A lot has changed about job searches during the past decade. Numerous job-hunting and resume websites allow you to upload resumes and apply virtually for new jobs. Social media helps you form a network anywhere in the world. And many companies want to support veterans by assisting in the hiring process.
The night before an important interview, I desperately researched all the latest news in the company’s industry. I tried to memorize all the skills the job description outlined and internally recited the finer details on how to operate certain software systems the position required.
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.
After five years in the Army, I learned pretty quickly that the job hunt is chaotic. You have to create multiple versions of your resume, craft countless cover letters, and keep track of where you applied and when. Not to mention, keep up with LinkedIn and any other social media you’ve decided to use during your job search. All the moving parts can add so many layers of disorganization.
Here’s a career truth I didn’t believe until I experienced it myself: Quantity will not help you get a job. The “spray and pray” method of blasting out resumes and cover letters to as many jobs as possible is a recipe for wasted time and frustration.
When looking for a job, you shouldn’t limit yourself to just one type of search. There are numerous resources, including the internet, career fairs, and head hunters, that can help you find a post-military job.