Tips for Transitioning into the Civilian Workforce

In using the term “Returning Vets”, we are referring to all those veterans who have returned to civilian life after 2002.  This includes troops that served in the war zones and those who served as support forces wherever they were assigned.

Those who have been home for more than a year and are still trying to find a job that will pay the bills have many horror stories to tell.  Those who are just coming back after long deployments have heard the stories and wonder what they will do if their buddies have been unsuccessful.  The lingo of the workplace has changed in your absence and the first thing you need to do is to get up to speed on what the new words mean.  You may be perfectly qualified for a position and not even know it.

Samples of Jobs and the Skill Sets Needed

The job types listed below are probably some that you are perfectly suited to do even if you have a disability that you can work around.

  • Personal Assistant – In general, all personal assistants are organizers for their boss.  They are expected to keep him up to date on information that he will need during the day or week.  You will need to be able to take accurate notes at meetings, know how to use the internet to find the best travel deals and arrangements to any given location and make sure that the work that your boss assigns to others is being handled in a timely manner with completion as scheduled.
  • Project Management – A project manager plans the project for the business and sees that the project is completed on time.  The most important skills that are needed to do this job is the ability to realize when a part of the plan is failing and being able to modify it quickly.  Honesty, confidentiality, team work and the ability to motivate a team are essential ingredients to performing well.  There are some businesses that require that you develop proposals for clients if the project involves outside investors.  However, not all projects require this and you can get help from someone in your office that has experience with this particular skill if necessary.
  • Substitute Teacher – Nearly all schools in the United States hire Substitute Teachers with no degrees or experience in teaching required.  While this is only an on-call position, you could still work up to 4 days a week on a fairly regular basis.  This would become an additional skill to add to your resume as you seek a more permanent position.

Converting Military Experience into Civilian Skill Sets 

Here are ideas to get you started in determining what skills you have that contribute to making a company profitable.

  • Team Player – all military personnel excel as team players!  You have superior team player skills over anyone else applying for the position of your choice.  Too many applicants coming out of college or that have previous experience in the civilian job market never mention that they are a “team player”.  Yet, this is one of the most important skills that every business looks for when deciding to interview or hire.
  • Management skills – supervising others, overseeing plans or movements of others, and making sure that everyone was accounted for are part of management duties.  For an example of general management skills you can review information about the Burger King application for management. Others include the ability to motivate or inspire others to get things accomplished in an efficient manner, modifying plans to avert failure when the plans run up against a hitch and developing loyalty among your colleagues are all part of the many skills you used daily regardless of your particular MOS.

Current Job Fairs for Veterans Around the U.S.

With the initiative of the White House and First Lady Michelle Obama, there are Military Job Fairs popping up more and more every day.   Some of these are sponsored by a local community organization while others are sponsored by specific industries or single corporations.

Why Attend Job Fairs Instead of Applying Online 

  • Businesses that participate in Military Job Fairs have company representatives present who are able to do a pre-interview on the spot with everyone that comes through.  When you apply online, (you can see an example of this by visiting the Home Depot application) the hiring department has no way of knowing what you look like, what type of personality you have or if you come across as someone that would fit with their corporate culture.  [Corporate culture is the short-hand term for “others who work there of the same mind set”]
  • The more often you attend a job fair – even if you are unsuccessful – the more comfortable you will become in blowing your own horn just enough but not too much.  These fairs provide an opportunity to practice speaking to potential employers and making the best impression possible.  **When you leave a job fair, do some self examination reviewing what you said right, what you wished you had emphasized and how you physically appeared to the person from the company.  Make any changes you feel you need to make for the next time.
  • You have the opportunity to talk to a company representative and ask questions about what the company’s mission is, how many employees are full-time and if they offer education reimbursement funds if you take classes toward completing a degree.

Current Job Fairs for 2013

We have listed a few of the Military Job Fairs that are taking place around the U.S. including a basic description of what you can expect in the way of jobs, what you should bring with you and suggestions related to how you should dress when you attend.

  • Chicago, Il – Sponsored by Orion International – January 13 & 14, 2013 – Orion is a private business that is contracted by corporations around the U.S. to scout for Military experienced personnel who can fill the openings of several major businesses around the nation.  The Military job fair in Chicago is only one of many that are being held by Orion on this date.  Hiring managers will be present and will personally speak with you.  This event begins on January 13th at 8:00 a.m. and ends at 5:00 p.m. on January 14th.   Take a general resume written by you that focuses on your personal experience and skills sets rather than a list previous jobs.  Other Locations for Orion Military Job Fairs for January 13 & 14, 2013 – include San Diego, Ca. and  Fishkill, N.Y.
  • TechExpo Military Job Fairs for January 15, 2013 – 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in Tysons Corner, Va at the Marriot hotel and in Vienna, Va for the same date and times.
  • January 17th in Savannah, GA Hiring and Resource Expo – Sponsored by SolidHires – from10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. at Hunter-Airfield.  SolidHires focuses on professional career jobs with corporate partners in Savannah.
  • San Diego, California – Sponsored by The Patriot Group  – February 7, 2013  Liberty Station Conference Center, San Diego, CA  – This job fair is directed at active-duty military, military spouses and veterans.  They have a variety of employers already signed up including U.S. Customs, the Los Angeles Police Department and Project Hired.  Dress as if you were going to church without a tie.
  • February 20, 2013 – Virginia Beach Convention  Center – 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – Sponsored by Corporate Gray–  A small sample of the Employers that have already registered include shipbuilding corporations, Prince William County Police Department, Capital One and Construction companies.

Job Fairs For Military Veterans

At Job Fairs 4 Military Veterans, we have made a commitment to become a central bank to keep our veterans informed of as many job fairs as we can find or receive notification about until at least 75% of those who have so bravely served our nation are re-integrated into the private work force once again.

We understand that one of the main problems for many vets getting hired into private businesses is trying to explain how your military experience is a qualifying requirement to fill a civilian position.  Without the ability to cross-reference your qualifications, you may as well have been twiddling your thumbs and watching television during your service.  We know that this is not the case.  Over the next few weeks, we will be offering multiple articles on ways to present yourself and your resume in such a way that utilizes all those skill sets that are needed right now by local businesses.

Making the transition from military to civilian life is never easy but for those who have been in combat for several years or lived overseas as support troops, the adjustments seem enormous.  If you have been trying to compete with people who have experienced the latest changes in civilian jobs, you probably are overwhelmed with how different interviews are and how much the names of skills have been altered.

One of the first articles presented here addresses:

  • Issues of transitioning back into civilian jobs
  • what is expected from you when you go for an interview
  • what you need to include in your resume
  • what personality types employers seek most and refuse to hire
  • tips on how to what you can expect for salaries, income and benefits

Granted this first article only touches on the basics of the process of creating several successfulemployment applications, but in days to come we will be addressing them each more fully.

Another focus that will be given special attention is where veterans are able to get free training and education in their home towns with focus on those who do not live near a VA center or have disappointing experiences with their local VA.   There are many private companies stepping forward to help in the training and transitioning of military veterans.  In addition, there are some counties, cities and states that are offering free programs to help update returning vets with or without disabilities.  There are organizations that are gathering resources around the nation to push the needs of veterans to the forefront.

But, our primary goal is to list current job fairs which you can attend and meet with representatives from businesses who are determined to include veterans in their work force and start networking with other veterans in your local area.

We hope that you will notify us of any job fairs designated specifically for interviewing for the purpose of hiring veterans, as well as notifying us if you know of a company that is Returning Veteran Friendly workplaces. Let us be one of your main resources for getting back into the civilian work force as a valuable member of our society.