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Military-Civilian Job Hunting Tips

Check on Your Security Status
Whether you’ve obtained a security clearance in the past or currently hold one, knowing your clearance status – including expiration date, issuing agency and other details – is important both for your career progression and your job search.
Security Clearances
Top Secret w/ Full Scope Lifestyle Poly
Top Secret w/ CI Poly
Top Secret - SCI
Top Secret
Interim Top Secret
Secret SSB
Interim Secret
Inactive (less than 24 months)
Inactive Clearance (more than 24 months)
Other Active Clearance (DoE, DoJ, IRS, Treasury etc...)
CBP / Customs and Border Protection

Developing Smart Transition Goals
The Soldier needs to develop and define their goal to have the best chance of reaching it.
There are several components to making sure your goals are fully developed. An easy way to do it is make sure your goals are SMART - Specific, Measurable, Action-Oriented, Reachable, and Time-Driven.

 5 Secrets to Help You Transition into a Civilian job
1. Get ready for battle 2. Establish your battalion 3. Draft your pitch 4. “Demilitarize” yourself 5. Get intel on companies

Attend as many as Possible job Fairs and  Networking Events 
Military Contractor Job Fairs/Career Expos are a great way for you to explore potential employment opportunities and learn more about companies who are actively hiring in your neighborhood. Many people see it as something as serious as a first interview, while others view it as an opportunity to gather information about potential employers.

Check out Military-Civilian Contractor Jobs 

The Challenge by Tim Boykin

What is the biggest challenge that Service Members and their Families face in today’s world? Is it the ever looming overseas deployment, the long hours or just the Military lifestyle in general? From what I have discovered in over the last ten years as in Veteran Services and even while serving myself is that the biggest and most challenging issue or situation that Service Members and their Families face is the fact that at some point they will transition out of the Military and then what? How does it work, what am I supposed to do, who provides assistance in these areas? 

First all branches of service offer transition assistance. But remember it is transition assistance, it is not employment services. Service Members have these services available within their local communities, Veteran Service Organizations, and State Veteran Employment Services. So listen-up folks you have to do the research and find out what is out there, how to utilize it and what your benefits are within the areas that you are looking whether it be for employment, education or licensure purposes.

1.Workforce Centers, Career One-Stops and a myriad of other names are in all States and can be found within simple searches via the internet or by asking the individuals that have or will be assisting you with your transition.

2.Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs) as in Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, American Legion, Paralyzed Veterans of America they all have programs for assisting Veterans with everyday questions and concerns about your benefits and your transition and back into the “civilian world”.

3.State Veterans Employment Services; with the exception of Texas, Texas is the only State that facilitates Veteran Employment Services through the Texas Veterans Commission, all other Veterans Employment is ran through that State’s Workforce Agencies. These organizations have individuals trained in Veterans Employment Services for every piece of employment services that you could possibly need.

4.Employment Programs within all branches are located in almost every base, installation, post or camp. There primary goal is assisting Military Spouses and Transitioning Service Members, Family Members and Retirees in obtaining employment (Not Transitioning). The services may be titled in some fashion as transitioning services, but they are employment professionals providing; résumé, job search, interview, job posting and career assessments for all personnel that have a valid Military ID Card. 

Yes, there are rules that must be followed to receive services from the aforementioned organizations but following rules and regulations should be second nature by now! Do the research and find out what and who you are qualified to work with during your job search. Do the needed research and inquire what the requirements are for these services and you could very well find out about some benefits that you didn’t even know you were qualified to receive.

I have been in your boots, I have transitioned out of the Military and figured that I had enough information from my “transition” counselor to make a go at this civilian work thing. I soon found myself unemployed for six months and not understanding what I had been doing wrong. I inquired with a Veteran friend, “who fixed you up with that fancy job”. He stated flat-out that no one had fixed him up and he worked hard at what he accomplished in his job search and researched to find the right company, but he learned how to do it with the folks from at the local Workforce and the Veterans Agency. I listened, got assistance and literally within three days of applying what they taught me I had submitted a tailored résumé, interview and was hired!

You can see that not all services are the same and you will almost always get different opinions on the types of résumé and what all should go into them. Remember statistically speaking in the current labor market about 80% of all hires are from Networking, not a résumé. I still encourage individuals to think about what they are doing within their job search and apply accordingly to positions that you are qualified for and meet the stated requirements. Most individuals that I speak with feel that if they meet most or have a high percentage of the required items and that they should go ahead and apply.

Okay, requirements and qualifications. These items are both extremely important to the employer or they wouldn’t have listed them on the posting at all. Therein lies the challenge of understanding specifically what is in a job posting and understanding what the employer is asking about the information. That being said I typically ask my clients if they are reviewing a posting and there are five requirements and they have four, do you apply? Most say they would apply, my response is why? I usually get, “I have most of what they want (But I will never tell someone that they shouldn’t apply for a position) and I could be trained on the other requirement/s”. I place the information in these terms, if you have to be 5’ tall to ride the ride and your four 4’11” do you think they will let you on the ride? Obviously most say no, and then they have the “light bulb” moment and understand what I am saying.

If you are not meeting the requirements and you are consistently applying for positions and not getting interviews, call backs and such then reevaluate what you meet in these positions and if you are meeting all of the required items that the employer is wanting. Understanding the challenge of breaking down the positions that you are wanting to apply for, researching different labor market information for hiring trends, pay and requirements and rounding it out with the research of the organization and the information they may have on their website or that is on the web or in articles about the organization is key to your overall success. It is understandable that there are companies out there that have hired individuals without all of the requirements on a position posting, but think about this, with each posting you see in the just the civilian sector alone there is anywhere from 250 to 300 (conservative estimate) applicants applying and most have all of the requirements listed on the posting or more.

Leaving the Military and getting back into the civilian workforce is not an easy endeavor and should be systematically approached to obtain the best results. Finding the right career or making the right educational or training choices and pushing ahead with positive gusto! Career Counselors can provide you guidance, information, referrals and motivation. You just have to be willing to humble yourself and ask for the assistance. Asking for assistance with any one of these entities can increase your chances of obtaining employment. Most of the Career Counselors that I have been privileged to have worked with have at some point in their careers either changed jobs, was laid-off or for some reason or another found themselves without work. They understand what it is like, I understand what it is like. The high level of frustrations and rejections that you have had to endure just to get a call back about some questions the employer had about some information on your résumé and then never hearing from them again.

Understanding what employers want in a résumé or on an application is key to gaining their attention when applying for any position at any level from entry, middle to managerial and executive. Just keep in mind to write to the complexity of the position and review, review and review. Have subject matter experts review the information from multiple sources and take the constructive criticisms in stride. You may not like what they are stating, you may not even utilize the information. But I can’t even count how many times in the last ten plus years that I have had clients return and specifically state, “I finally did exactly what you were saying on my résumé and got the interview”. Cover letters work well too!!. Does this always happen, no it will not happen always and sometimes you have to start from scratch with your résumé to rethink a new approach to the career that you are wanting to obtain!

I leave you with this, your résumé is a representation of not only your Knowledge, Skills and Abilities, but a marketing tool for you to get your information to the reader (employer) so they are able to gain a better understanding of your passion for the position that you are seeking.

If you know your enemy and you know yourself, you need not fear the outcome of a 1,000 battles (TZU). So by knowing the employer, doing the needed and required research and understanding what they are seeking from the posting and from employees you shouldn’t fear the outcome of thousands of submissions of applications, résumés and conducting interviews. Being able to face these outcomes head on whether they be successful or unsuccessful, just remember that there is nothing more powerful than a made up mind.

Tim Boykin: Certified Federal Job Search Trainer, Certified Federal Career Coach, Certified Federal Resume Writer, Certified Life Coach
Worked in Veterans Services for a decade 
Career Titles:
• Veteran Service Officer
• Employment Readiness Program Specialist
• Veteran Career Advisor
• State of Texas Soldier Employment Initiative Coordinator
• REALifelines Representative (Recovery, Employment & Assistance Lifelines)
• TAP Facilitator (Transition Assistance Program Facilitator)
• Veterans Employment Representative

Other Links - Security Clearance 101,  Resume Building and What should I include in my federal resume?