Finding a Civilian Career
Identifying Job Opportunities
There are many, many ways to identify job opportunities.
Many people now look first at online job boards such as CareerBuilder.com, monster.com, LinkedIn.com, GlassDoor.com, indeed.com. Some sites specialize in serving particular industries, such as information technology, medicine or security-clearance-required jobs (ClearanceJobs.com). Consider Googling your specialty and ‘job board’ to locate some relevant, specialized sites.
A note of caution: Online job boards present a wealth of job listings and generate huge numbers of applications. When responding to an online job posting, it is very easy to get lost in the noise of the hundreds or thousands of applications the employer will receive. Applicants need to make extra effort to distinguish themselves from the pack and must also realize that it is very hard to get noticed amid all those resumes. Working your network and applying to jobs with employers where you have already made some connections will likely generate more results.
In addition to searching online job boards, be sure to tap into other resources to explore job opportunities:
- Targeting Key Employers: Hopefully, your early preparation for your transition out of the military helped you to identify several desirable employers so you can regularly check their job postings on their website, LinkedIn page or elsewhere. Don’t assume, however, that the posted jobs are the only ones available. Huge numbers of job opportunities are never posted online, so touch base with any connections you made at those companies or contact their Human Resources department to find out about any other opportunities and how you can get considered for positions.
- Work Your Network: Continue to communicate with former COs, industry connections and others to see if they have heard of interesting opportunities in your field. And continue to expand your network – reach out to additional individuals in target companies or additional companies, attend job fairs and industry networking events, contribute to online discussions in your field.
- Check Out Veteran-Friendly Companies: Numerous employers – from Home Depot, Suburban Propane and Coca-Cola to Wells Fargo, MathWorks, Verizon, Chevron, PlaneTechs, Lockheed Martin and Caesars Entertainment – have expressed strong interest in hiring veterans. They understand military service and veterans’ skills better than many employers, and they have put in place processes and incentives to make themselves particularly attractive employers for veterans. You can find a list of veteran-friendly employers at Military.com.
- Check Out Job Boards Specific to Veterans: Some companies offer specific job-matching services for veterans at no cost. For example, silentprofessionals.org aims to connect veterans to defense and private security positions around the globe. Working with an organization specifically aimed at individuals with military experience can help you transition into a civilian career by connecting you to opportunities designed for former military professionals.
- Military/Veteran Organizations: Several organizations are dedicated to helping transitioning service members develop civilian careers and ensuring veterans continue to find good job opportunities. See Project SCOPE’s page on Tailoring Your Resume for a list of some of these organization.
- Maryland’s American Job Centers: These brick-and-mortar locations provide a full range of assistance to both job seekers and employers, including multiple services especially for veterans.
Some final tips:
- Don’t be thwarted by what seems like an unnecessary job requirement. Sometimes, employers will automatically include qualifications, such as a college degree, among the requirements in a job posting even though some individuals may be able to master the job without the degree. If you feel you have all the necessary skills and experience to do a job, apply anyway and make the case of why you are qualified.
- Regardless of where you find a job posting, always research the employer. While scouring job listings, you will run across fabulous and not-so-fabulous and simply unsuitable job opportunities. But it can be hard to tell them apart unless you research the employer, their work and their work culture.