Prep the battlespace for success

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So you’re transitioning to civilian life or looking for something more fulfilling on the career front. Your next mission is the all-important search for a job.

DAV/RecruitMilitary All Veteran Career Expos, beginning this summer, can connect you with dozens of employers face-to-face and hundreds more online who are looking for people who’ve served.

A few basic tips can help you take advantage of these and other opportunities.

First, while it may sound like common sense, this really needs to be said: dress for success. Do not attend an interview or a career fair dressed in your jeans and favorite t-shirt. Business casual (slacks and button down shirt) is usually okay but you can’t go wrong with a suit and tie. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you have to lose a huge chunk of your paycheck when purchasing a suit. I know people who have bought perfectly appropriate ones from second hand stores.

I encourage you to take a moment to think about the skills you acquired while in uniform. At a career fair, you probably won’t find a sign that says, “Tank drivers and gunners apply here!” But, you will find employers interested in leadership and managerial skills. Plus, the fact you are a veteran means you have been exposed to a training environment and know you can learn anything. This is important and potential employers will be interested to know that. Did you ever manage your unit’s budget? What about the training program? As you moved through the ranks, you likely managed and led subordinate members or teams. All of these things work well on resumes and employers look for those skills.

Finally, don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. I recommend having at least three different resumes highlighting different skill sets. If you’re taking the time to attend a career expo, you’re doing yourself a disfavor by dropping one resume off to one employer and then going home and sitting anxiously by the phone. Talk to everyone there.

It’s no secret veterans bring great skills to the workplace, but it’s up to you to showcase them to potential employers.