Prepare for your Interview
Deciding to change careers can be a major hurdle. When you are leaving the military it can be even more trying. Many veterans have more than acceptable experience, but how do you decipher your skills to be marketable?
Seek out a mentor to assist you in preparing you for your interview - specifically someone who has already been through the transition process and found success. You can also seek out someone who does the hiring. This will afford you the opportunity to know what the interview process is like and what might be asked. Ask your mentor for a practice interview as well as an assessment of what they feel could use some work.
You will need to learn to describe your skills in a relevant fashion - avoid military jargon. Civilian managers will find it difficult to understand what skill sets you possess based on your resume alone. You need to be able to verbally communicate your skills in a way that is understandable. Utilize tools such as online translators to connect your military experience with civilian dialogue.
Do not focus solely on the main job you had while in the military. Avoid limiting your skills to being a mechanic on tanks for the past 20 years. Instead be general, saying you were a mechanic for 20 years. Include skills such as leadership, training, and programs such as government purchasing official and safety programs manager.
Understand the position and company you are interviewing for. Take the time to do some research about the company as well as the job you are interested in. Often times a company’s “about us” tab on their website offers information on what they do and what their viewpoints and philosophies are. This will help you decide if not only are you right for the company, but is the company right for you.
Focus on the specifics of the job requirement and skills. Allow yourself to target specific skills they are looking for while you are interviewing and market yourself on your abilities to meet those needs. Ask yourself, “What can I bring to the table?” and “What do I have to offer?”
Lastly, stay positive! It is not a guarantee that you will land every job you interview for. Even if you don’t land that specific job, you can be kept in mind for other positions you are better suited for. Human resource professionals often network and at times direct you to other opportunities as well as tell a peer they believe you would be a perfect fit for them.