If you’re a veteran, or about to become one, you might be intimidated by the job search. Don’t worry! You’re not the only one who feels challenged by the application and interview process. Your military experience is translatable in numerous ways to a civilian career, and you shouldn’t be afraid to demonstrate it. Here are the top interview tips for veterans and how you can leverage the experience you already have in your next interview.
Avoid using military jargon.
Your role (or roles) in the military are absolutely translatable to the civilian job to which you’re applying, but unless your interviewer is a military individual themselves, its often best to avoid unfamiliar ranks, acronyms, classifications or any other military terms. Prior to the interview, spend time reflecting on how your experience in the military relates to the position you’re applying and if you want to draw a parallel, then make sure that you explain acronyms and situations thoroughly. This will help your interviewer see exactly how you’re qualified for the role without getting lost in unfamiliar jargon unnecessarily.
Tailor your experiences.
This is where reading the description for the job you’re interviewing for can come in handy. Does the job that you’re interviewing for require flexibility, teamwork, integrity, problem-solving or another skill that you gained while serving? Don’t forget to mention this when they ask you a behavioral-style question! The question, “Tell me about a time when…” is a perfect time to let your military experiences shines and communicate just how crucial it was in forming the type of employee that you’ll be for them.
Emphasize dedication as one of your strengths.
Two classic interview questions are “What is your greatest strength?” as well as “What is your greatest weakness?” While these can sometimes feel tricky to answer, you’ve already got a great existing answer for the former that applies to nearly any job. As a veteran, you’ve shown more dedication to a cause than just about anyone else. Highlight this as your strength and any employer would be absolutely lucky to have you! Past performance is the best indicator of future performance and your demonstrated dedication and loyalty will show your potential employer exactly what type of employee they’re getting right off the bat.
Follow-up after the interview.
This is an interview tip that trips up nearly every interview candidate. Knowing how and when to follow-up after an interview can really depend on the interview itself, but there are a couple of “rules” that you can remember. Always send follow-up emails within the first 24 hours of your completed interview and send them to whoever interviewed you (send emails it to multiple if you had a panel). A thank you email should thank your interviewer for their time, reaffirm your interest in the position, and include any information that you may want to reiterate or forgot to include in the interview.
Marketing your job skills after returning to civilian life just takes time and preparation. Don’t let the process intimidate you. Use the above tips and you’ll be successful in your job hunt in no time!