Veterans: Don't Miss These Job-Seeking Tips

Job Seeking Tips for Veterans
Chris Birk Headshot

For most Americans, finding your dream job, or a job at all, can be taxing. And for service members, finding a job can prove to be even more difficult than a student looking for work fresh out of school.

Many veterans struggle with translating their military backgrounds into civilian work experience, and often have a difficult time making a resume that can fit a civilian work environment. However, the good news is that with a little guidance and preparation, any military member can better prepare themselves for a successful civilian job hunt.

Consider Further Education

For veterans who did not attend college prior to their service, choosing to enroll in a post-secondary degree program may be a good step in obtaining the civilian career you would like to have. Veteran benefits grant military members the opportunity of an affordable college education, and also provide veterans with several apprenticeship and job training programs to help those not interested in college gain a skillset needed to be enticing to employers.

If you have not yet applied for your benefits under the GI Bill, you can do so here at the VA's official GI Bill website.

Attend a Resume Building Workshop

Perfecting your resume is perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of job-hunting for any job seeker, and it is particularly difficult for veterans who often don't know how their previous military careers are beneficial in a modern civilian work environment.

By attending a resume building workshop, military members can learn how their technical expertise, leadership skills and self-motivation can all be conveyed so that an employer not only understands what they are capable of, but is also drawn to their available skill set.

If you are unable to attend a workshop, remember to keep with the basics and don't overlook any aspect of your service. Items to consider when preparing your resume:

  • Write your resume with a unique objective in mind and tailor it each time to every potential employer that sees your resume.
  • Show your success and provide a measurable outcome. You have the ability to show off everything from training and advancement to skills and awards you have acquired.
    • In this section, be sure to show more than just your responsibilities. Employers want to see more than what you were in charge or a part of, they want to see how you succeeded.
  • When preparing your resume, always assume that the recipient knows nothing about the military or your specific military occupation.
  • For each employer you apply to, tailor your resume to their specific needs. If the job you are applying for requires computer skills, customer service and the ability to multitask, then make sure you use wordage that displays these skills.
  • Most importantly: Always get your resume proofread by someone else, preferably a friend who has been in the same position. Misspellings and grammar errors are a huge turnoff for employers, and may just be the sole reason you didn't get the position. Ask for feedback and continue to tweak your resume a little for each employer.

Know Your Available Resources

Many job seeking sources are inundated with job applicants. It isn't hard to find thousands of resumes being placed for single jobs on sites like Monster and CareerBuilder, which often makes it difficult to even get a resume seen. To give themselves the best chances available at finding a career, veterans should use veteran-specific job located resources such as or Looking into the National Veterans Foundations or even local military support organizations can also provide veterans with career opportunities.

Even with the right education, training, resume and job seeking resources, veterans also need to remember to remain patient and be flexible. The job market is still a tough environment for anyone seeking a position, and sometimes in order to get the job he or she wants, a veteran may have to be a bit more flexible or wait it out for just a bit longer. Regardless, every veteran knows what it means to commit to a task and to complete it with excellence - whether it be a combat mission or simply finding the job he or she deserves. So don't sell yourself short. Prepare yourself to the best of your ability, and obtain the job you deserve.

To connect with Chris, send him a tweet @CJBirk or follow him on Google+.

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