In the military, you want to meet the standard and be part of the team. In the civilian jobs market, you need to change your approach: to succeed you must differentiate yourself from all other job seekers to win that job.
To stand out from the pack of other job seekers, you need to work your job search campaign through your unique or rare skills. Employers usually do not say, “Geez, I want to hire a veteran” and then go looking for veterans to hire. They usually think, “I’d like to hire a veteran but I am looking for a set of specific job skills or certifications. If I can find a veteran who has these skills, I want to talk to him or her.”
To find your rare skills, don’t look at your military service record! It’s too much like every other veteran looking for a job. Rather, kook at the equipment you know how to use and repair or the very specific knowledge areas you have acquired over your military service. These things make you unique.
Then look for jobs using these rare skills as your search keywords. You will find employers looking for those rare skills. Finally, build a resume and job search campaign around those skills for those types of employers. To succeed, you need to mirror as close as possible the needs and requirements that are in the employer’s job ad.
Remember, in the military you stood in line and waited your turn for just about anything. In the civilian world, the employer only wants to consider job applicants who match their needs. And if they have two hundred applicants to a job, they can afford to be very selective.
The best way to mirror what employers want is to select a job you want to apply for and print out the job ad. Then, place your resume beside the job ad. With a pen, highlight the basic and desired requirements from the job ad. Finally, compare your resume to those requirements. Make sure you have all the requirements stipulated in the job ad on your resume. If you do this, you will increase your chances that an employer will select your resume and interview you for the job.
While your military service is an admirable achievement, when it comes to filling an open position, a civilian employer values only the relevant skills for the open position. All the awards you won in the military should be placed in a miscellaneous or ‘other information’ section at the end of your resume.
Randall Scasny is the Director of http://MilitaryJobHunts.com, a job search assistance consulting business that specializes in assisting military veterans.
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