"I've applied for eight jobs in the last two months and I haven’t heard anything back. I haven’t even gotten to the interview stage." Sound familiar? Veterans across Ohio are having trouble finding work, and chances are you're one of them. Like many of Ohio's vets, you probably have years of experience, a variety of skills, and a family to support--but you can't get a job. So now that your military career is over, what does it take to break into the civilian job market? A few MVRC job coaches recently talked with veterans about their job-search problems, and it seems that Ohio's vets are running into the same issues. Our job coaches offered these solutions to the following problems:
Location, Location, Location.
The problem is simple: the economy is in bad shape and the jobs are in the major cities. But most people can't move their families to a new town, or afford to make a long commute. So what can you do instead?
The answer is networking. Many people have their jobs because they knew somebody who recommended them for the job. You too can network by getting involved with your community or joining an organization. You could volunteer, apply for an internship, attend social functions, or join a club. It's important to put yourself out there and meet new people. When your new contacts know you're looking for work, they may know of an opening.
A few older veterans told our coaches that because of their age they don't feel comfortable with networking. Well, many young people don't like it either, but if it leads to a job it's worth it, right? Don't pass up an entry level or minimum wage job either. It can bring some money in while you're looking for something better, and it might lead to an unexpected opportunity.
Employers only want to hire young people.
Unfortunately, there is some age-discrimination among employers, but there are things older veterans can do to boost their chances of getting hired.
- Don't make yourself look too qualified for the job, or employers will think you won't be happy with the position. For example, if you have 10 years of experience in a skill, you could write 5+ years on your resume instead.
- Do you have a gap in your employment history? This may cause hiring managers to raise an eyebrow and pass you over for another candidate. Our job coaches suggest that you submit a "functional" resume, which you organize by your skills and experiences instead of your dates of employment.
- Try contacting a job coach at your nearest MVRC location. The MVRC has relationships with different employers, and our coaches can help narrow your job search to companies that hire older veterans.
You don't have the proper credentials.
Many veterans lack the licenses and certifications that document their skills, and they get passed over for other candidates. We understand that sometimes, our veterans cannot afford to get the proper credentials. The MVRC can help. Make an appointment with one of the job coaches at your nearest MVRC location, and they will help you figure out your options.
You didn't prepare.
When you apply for a job, you need to have the proper tools that will get you far in the application process. This includes a resume, a cover letter, and interview skills. If you apply for a job without these things, you will not look prepared, and the employer will think you can't handle the job. If you need help with resume and cover letter writing or interview practice, contact the MVRC and our coaches can assist you. Visit us at www.milvetsrc.org where you can read about our services and upcoming events.