Here at Powerlink we focus a great deal on the importance of service—the value of going the extra mile for our clients. But I believe in the importance of another kind of service as well: military service. At a time when veteran unemployment rates are dramatically above the national average, and when companies everywhere are looking harder and harder for skilled, high-character and high-value employees, I can’t help feeling a little frustrated that more companies don’t appreciate what an incredible asset veterans can be.
Employers certainly need to do a better job of recognizing the value that veterans can bring to the workplace. But veterans also need to help themselves and be their own advocates. They need to understand how to present themselves and their skill set in a way that helps employers recognize their value. In other words: veterans need to be able to connect the dots for a potential employer, and to explain how their knowledge and experience would translate into civilian success. They need to demonstrate that they know the value of teamwork and to be able to explain how you’d fit in to their team.
Here are a few tips—from one veteran to another—on how veterans can best communicate these skills to potential employers:
Talk the talk
Don’t use military acronyms and jargon. Speak the language of business, and let your employer see that you are familiar with the industry, the company, and the services or products it provides.
Get your papers in order
Don’t forget to include relevant details that can help you stand out. Ensure that any transferable certificates and licenses you have earned in the military are front and center.
Avoid the stereotype
Instead of pointing out that you know how to follow orders, emphasize your commitment and your can-do attitude and talk about creative ways that you have gotten the job done.
Never go into an interview without first acquiring a thorough understanding of the employer. Make it a point to create your own “intelligence briefing” before the interview. Demonstrating that you have done your homework can be a big plus for employers looking for candidates that stand out.
Take pride in your service
Don’t underestimate the value of your military training. Make sure you provide a prospective employer with concrete examples of situations where you stayed calm under pressure or were able to absorb constructive criticism and translate that into improvement.