Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Guest Post: Finding Resources and Opportunities As You Enter Civilian Life

Emma Banks of Smile As It Happens contacted me about sharing some very valuable insight on finding resources and opportunities when you're entering into the civilian workforce.  I thought it would be very useful to pass along!  Please find her article below!

Leaving the military presents you with a wide range of opportunities, but it can also bring along the anxiety of the unknown. Unfortunately, many myths have been perpetuated that fuel anxiety concerning civilian life and your search for non-military employment. Let’s look at a few of these and learn the truth behind them.

Myth #1: Most employers don’t care about job seekers.
Truth: In today’s competitive job market, many companies receive high numbers of applications on a regular basis. They understand the need to attract the most qualified, talented people to fill available positions. In order to attract these individuals, many companies have significantly streamlined the application process; some of the more tech-savvy companies such as Walmart and AT&T have partnered with JIBE, a mobile recruiting company, to allow job seekers to efficiently upload resumes and other pertinent information right from their mobile devices. Other companies seek to attract and retain the best applicants by offering special benefits such as work-from-home options, gym memberships, and more.

Myth #2 No special services exist to help you find non-military employment.
Truth: While you may feel overwhelmed by the process of transitioning from a military career to civilian work, many resources are out there to assist you. Hire Heroes USA, an organization composed of former military personnel from a wide range of backgrounds, provides training for veterans and military personnel seeking civilian work. In addition to workshops and job-finding tools, Hire Heroes USA also offers job fairs throughout the country.

Myth #3: You will only find open positions online.
Truth: While many people successfully search for jobs online, many employers seek to fill positions through other means. Job fairs offer great opportunities for meeting potential employers in person. Networking also offers a great way to find job opportunities. If you want to work at a particular company but don’t know if they are hiring, you can submit your resume along with a cover letter explaining why you would be an asset to the company. Volunteering also often provides a stepping-stone toward employment. You may eventually find a paid position with the organization where you volunteer, or your volunteer work could help you network with a potential employer. Keep your head up and eyes open – you never know where your next opportunity may come from!

Myth #4: Although programs exist to help military veterans find jobs in the private sector, no person is available to help you through this transition.
Truth: All veterans who served following 9/11 are eligible for personal assistance with job-seeking and career building. Through the Gold Card program, these veterans can gain access to a local One-Stop Career Center. Here, with the help of a career professional you will receive career guidance, the opportunity to work on job-readiness tests and assessments, interviews, an Individual Development Plan, job referrals, and monthly check-ups throughout your employment search and beyond.

Change brings both stress as well as opportunity. Fortunately, many resources are available to help you in your transition out of the military. By taking advantage of these programs, you will be able to alleviate much of your anxiety as well as find opportunities for the next phase of your life.

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/

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