Fellow blogger, Emma Banks, contacted me about collaborating together on a piece that has to do with a number of common misconceptions surrounding the civilian job search and application process for those who have served/are serving in the military and their families. I feel like this is a crucial piece to be informed about because there are possible scenarios that our soldiers are faced with when making decisions about their future employment. There is an employment coordination program for military members and family members that may be effective for them, though they were not effective or helpful at all for me. However, here is some information that is helpful for our soldiers transitioning back into the civilian workforce that will be useful.
Getting to the Truth: Job Myths That Hold Veterans Back
All of you who are veterans, or who will soon be veterans, know how difficult the transition to civilian life can be for both yourselves and your families. Whether your time in the military was relatively short or a long career, the thought of moving into a new career and the stresses of job hunting can seem daunting. However, do not be discouraged! As a veteran, you have not only served our country, but you have also proved yourselves capable of surviving and thriving in extraordinarily difficult circumstances; you can take that resilience and adaptability into the job market. Knowing you've been tempered in some of the toughest fires, you should not just be seeking any job, you should use this time to follow your dream career.
It's also important to keep in mind that there are number of myths out there about job hunting and about job hunting for veterans in particular. Some of them are outdated and others seem like common sense but simply aren't true. Here are a few common myths, and the reality behind them:
Myth #1: People don't want to be asked to give references; they will find it an imposition to be asked.
Truth: If it's someone who thinks highly enough of you that you want to use them as a reference, that person will welcome the opportunity to help you out. In addition, giving out a reference is easier now than ever before – companies such as JIBE, a mobile recruiting specialist company, have developed social referral tools that allow you to use sites like LinkedIn and Facebook to connect with people and solicit referrals.
Myth #2: I can't get a job because I am a disabled veteran.
Truth: Although it may feel like this sometimes, there are actually quite a number of programs that exist specifically to help disabled veterans find civilian employment. The US Department of Veterans Affairs has a list of programs include training, counseling, and job searching services right on their website.
Myth #3: I won't get the job unless I have the best qualifications.
Truth: Having the minimum qualifications is necessary, but beyond that, companies often look at how a person actually fits in with the overall culture of the company. Someone who meets the minimum qualifications but has a great personality can definitely have a shot at the position over someone who may have more than the minimum qualifications, but not a great personality. Remember, it’s the skills that can be taught, not personality and character! In fact, nearly half of executives rely on gut instinct when making hiring decisions; so don’t let yourself get in your own way of pursuing a job you could be great for!
Myth #4: I learned a lot while working in the military, but I’m not going to be able to find civilian work that is similar to what I was doing – and liked to do – while in the military.
Truth: While it’s true that the military is of itself a unique “work environment,” that doesn’t mean there aren’t other jobs in the civilian workplace where you can’t use the skills you have and follow your passion. May of what you learned and used in the military are skills that companies desire in an employee. To find the types of jobs there are available in which you can continue to do similar work as you did while an active service member, try using the Skills Translator – it allows you to enter in your military branch, your pay grade, your job position, and more.
With these myths debunked, you can now go about transitioning to the civilian workforce with a renewed sense of confidence and motivation. You have done a great duty in serving our country, and now it is your time to pursue the career of your dreams!
Emma is a mid 20-something year old with a passion for life, love, fitness, and helping others. She loves to be active and get involved in as many sport and community activities as possible. Emma is currently studying to become a Career & Life Coach, and loves to network with people from around the world! Check out Emma’s blog at http://smileasithappens.blogspot.com/!