6 Job Search Tips for Veterans Entering the Workforce

Prashanth Ramakrishnan
6 Job Search Tips for Veterans Entering the Workforce

The unemployment rate for veterans continues to decline, hitting 3.4 percent in September. Even with more companies embracing the leadership qualities of vets, entering the workforce after serving can be challenging. Here are six tips to make the veteran job search easier.

1. Make connections

Be proactive with friends, family and contacts, and begin networking to get your foot in the door. These conversations can help you meet with hiring managers at companies you’re interested in and gain interview experience even in an informal setting.

2. Show your character

Many skills brought to the work table by veterans aren’t standard skills or experiences. Your leadership, loyalty and dedication can help set you apart in ways certain duties can’t. Use your cover letter and conversations with people to show off your character, like details about your flexibility and stories about taking initiative.

3. Translate your service skills

Even if your skills don’t directly line up with a job, you can make connections across experiences to show how a previous opportunity prepared you for this one. Similarly, if you have trainings or certifications in the military, look for civilian equivalents so you can easily take your knowledge from one sector to the next.

4. Look for companies with veteran’s programs

One of the reasons veteran unemployment is down is due to companies implanting programs to assist veterans. Finding one of these can get your foot in the door faster with an employee interested in your training.

5. Get your paperwork in order

The Department of Veterans Affairs requires paperwork like the Report of Separation (DD214) and Verification of Military Experience and Training (DD2586). These are important with your post-military plans as well, with employers and schools potentially requiring them.

6. Mentally prepare for a new environment

Starting a new job means entering a different culture. While you adjust, you might have a few weeks or months of stress as you adjust. Don’t let yourself become overwhelmed or feel like you made the wrong decision. The periods of transition are normal and sooner than you know, you’ll feel prepared and well-adapted.

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