Walking the Talk – Job Advice for Vets
Transitioning from military to civilian life can seem like a daunting task. Here are some tips for a successful military transition from two experts on the employment front.
From Lewis Lin, CEO of Impact Interview (https://www.impactinterview.com/) and formerly Microsoft’s director of product management and marketing:
- Think about transferrable skillsHow can you describe your military experiences for a corporate role? Take for example:
* If you trained more than 200 people on the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, think how your training preparation, delivery, and results could apply in a corporate classroom setting.
* If you helped the Navy save $3 million dollars by administering 37 government travel accounts, think how this experience could apply to a financial controller position.
* If you were in charge of an aircraft repair department, think how the Six Sigma principles you learned could apply to a manufacturing or operations job.
- Adjust from military to corporate speakA key to getting the job is fitting in — not only do you have to demonstrate the right skills, but you also need to adopt the right body language and speech. Here are a few examples:
* Be wary of military jargon. Rather than say you were the “black swan” expert, explain that you developed contingency plans for rare events.
* Rather than use military time, use civilian time. That is, instead of confirming an interview for 15-hundred hours, use 3 pm.
* No need to address your professional contacts as Sir or Ma’am. You can typically address them by their first name.
- Play up your strengths as an ex-military candidate
Military veterans are known for precise communication, individual accountability, impeccable execution and natural leadership. Don’t forget to showcase this during the interview. All four skills are in high demand, regardless of position. Give yourself credit for strengths that many non-military job candidates lack. Other key skills to play up: poise, ingenuity, and ability to handle stressful situations well.
Stephen Cleare, of tap2-O.com, is a blogger and the author of “The Little Green Guide for Veterans.” He advises on https://www.military.com/veteran-jobs/career-advice/job-hunting/3-job-tips-for-veterans.html:
- Look the part. When one of my clients is hiring a veteran, he/she has a vision in their head about what you look like. The picture they have is somewhat about your physical appearance, but mostly about the way you carry yourself. Whether you are interviewing for an executive position or a technical job, maintain the military posture. Now, I’m not saying you need to stand at parade rest. I’m saying you need to stand tall, chest out and shoulders back. Ensure your interview attire is appropriate and pressed. A more civilian haircut is typically preferred, but not a showstopper. The military posture, however, is highly impressive. It raises the bar for your unsuspecting competition.
- Do your homework. Once you know the name of the company and the person with whom you’re interviewing, do something different – research them. You don’t need to spend all day figuring out who their soul mate is or the names of all the company board members. You do need to find two or three things about the company that you find interesting. This way, when they ask you “Do you know anything about us” you can say “Yes, I know a little” and then discuss the items you thought were interesting.
- Close the interview. Many of the people I placed with companies had no interest in getting sales jobs. Well, on the day of an interview, we are all sales people. You’re selling the company on you. You are letting them know why you’re a better fit than candidate B. Most important, you should be following the first rule of sales – Always be closing. Once the interview is complete, you need to ensure that you have a.) Answered all of their questions; b.) Thanked them for their time; and c.) Let them know you are interested in the position. On a number of occasions, I’ve had clients come and tell me that they really liked the veteran they interviewed, but they weren’t sure if that person was really interested in them. Do not be that vet.
For more tips from Stephen, visit Tap2-0