Career Search ‘Basic Training” in honor of Veteran’s Day

Veterans perform tasks and achieve a variety of successes in environments that civilians have trouble understanding.  In honor of Veteran's Day, I'd like to offer some basic training to help Vets make a successful transition to the civilian workforce.

Veterans are like all candidates: it is imperative to demonstrate that their skills, abilities, and areas of knowledge are transferable to the needs of civilian employers.  Vet's can talk about what they have accomplished in the military and in previous positions.  Like other candidates, it is important to present a "mini-business plan" to relate to the
needs of a prospective employer.  Review the following list to be sure
you are prepared to interview successfully:

  • You have
    clearly and concisely described one – two "success stories" for each of
    your previous positions, using the Problem (Challenge) – Action -
    Result model.
  • You have analyzed your accomplishment
    stories to identify the personal qualities, skills, and areas of
    knowledge that made it possible for you to achieve your successes.

Step #1
- Study the job description and organization to identify the criteria
for the job (not "requirements"). The criteria are likely to be "soft
skills," e.g., flexibility, team orientation, interpersonal skills,
etc. Create a grid, with the criteria on the left and your previous
employers across the top.

Step #2 – Fill-in the cells
with a note about each employer/accomplishment that addresses the new
job criteria. (Without the ability to post a table on-line, I can't
provide a good-looking sample – contact this author for a complimentary
copy of this worksheet..)

Step #3 – Once you've
completed this "homework," use your notes to prepare for questions and
conversation with the interviewers. Be careful to limit your responses
to three – four crisp sentences, using the Problem (Challenge) – Action
- Result model.

SimplyHired, an on-line aggregator of job postings, has created a Vet-Friendly filter that may make it easier to complete local labor market research.  I found 124 potential leads with the keywords, "Operations Manager" in my 5-digit zip-code.  The idea is to use these leads to develop a list of target organizations and keywords/job titles – don't become obsessed with "cutting and pasting" in response to postings.  Use the Internet to conduct a proactive campaign: Vet-friendly organizations are a great place to start!