One of the key skills of the job hunt for veterans, spouses and military in transition is how to get in front of all the gatekeepers to veteran jobs -- those hard-working civilian sourcers, recruiters and hiring managers out there. So we like to give you all the insight you need to figure out who they are, how they work and how to make their jobs easier.
Do you ever get the feeling recruiters are missing some really important facts about you?
We have that feeling sometimes, too. More understanding between recruiters and military job seekers will go a long way to getting you in the same interview room. So we surveyed our growing Veteran Employment Project community of job-seeking veterans, spouses and transitioning military to ask about some of their experiences and expectations about the job hunt.
We will be sharing the results of our survey in the months to come, but here are five of the most outrageous things recruiters don't know about you (yet).
1. You don't expect to be hired because you are military.
In a recent industry survey, 80% of hiring managers reported that their companies have set diversity goals for this year. Of those, 34% include veterans as one of the underrepresented groups they are looking for.
But veterans don't expect to be hired just because they are military. They expect to be hired because of what they can offer the company now and the future. In our survey, 56% of respondents said they used technical trade skills on the job. More than 90% say they used critical thinking and problem solving, collaboration, oral and written communication skills, and a strong work ethic on the job.
2. You manage people.
The advertisements for joining the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard feature a lot of aircraft carriers, helicopters, cutters, jets and parachutes. Lots and lots of parachutes. So is it any wonder that civilian recruiters don't think of you managing meetings? Or collaborating on Zoom? Or crafting a diplomatic email? Or counseling a direct report? They think of you with things, not people.
But your job is all about managing people, isn't it? In our survey, nearly half of our respondents said they had managed groups of more than 50 people. Only 3% had never managed anyone.
3. Your go-to management tool does not offer the drama of "Full Metal Jacket."
One of the biggest myths employers believe about the military is that the only way you can manage people is to bark a lot of orders and terrify people. Which is strange. Military leaders up and down the chain of command have to manage the same Gen Xers, Millennials and Gen Zers as every civilian manager.
Recruiters and hiring managers need to note that in our survey, 50% of our respondents said that their best strategy to motivate their team was to set goals and clear expectations. Showing appreciation and recognition scored highly, too. Less than 1% of respondents chose consequences and restrictions as an effective management tool.
4. You are a natural at commitment.
Company culture was an important factor for 89% of our veteran/military/spouse job seekers. You are looking for a place to belong and contribute. Of our respondents, 57% said they were hoping for an employer they could commit to for more than five years.
At a time when retention is so difficult for employers, this is an important distinction. Study after study about military members shows that you were different from your matched civilian counterparts from the day you joined the military. At 18 or 22, you were ready to take a job you could not quit for at least four years. You had the self-efficacy to believe you could stick with it -- and you did.
5. You are actively seeking the right answer.
When asked what job-hunt skill you find the most challenging, 30% of our respondents reported that they struggled more with writing an effective resume, followed by identifying the right civilian path (23%) and applying to the right career level (20%).
I think this demonstrates that Veteran Employment Project job seekers are just that: job seekers -- not job beggars or job demanders. You are searching. You are collecting data. You are trying to find the right words to demonstrate your value and altering your strategies based on what you learn.
In a recent interview, retired 0-6 and career coach Greg Richardson told me, "Transition is for the thinking person -- not the hoping, wanting, needing person." I see that preference for thinking things through every day among our Veteran Employment Project community. That's why we are working to help the military and recruiting communities understand each other better so they can work together.
Find out the secrets to getting a civilian hiring manager to see your true value in our library. We teach you proven career-level strategies to help you obtain your next, high-impact job. Our next Transition Master Class is Veteran+: Finding a Better Civilian Job on Nov. 18. Sign up today.
Jacey Eckhart is Military.com's transition master coach. She is a certified professional career coach and military sociologist who helps military members get their first civilian job by offering career-level Master Classes through our Veteran Employment Project and on her website SeniorMilitaryTransition.com. Reach her at Jacey.Eckhart@Monster.com.