Five Ways the Job Search Changed
Part of any good transition plan includes thinking ahead and anticipating what the job market looks like today. However, job search techniques are always changing. Not long ago, it was acceptable to mail employers your resume and cover letter, but now most hiring managers prefer an e-mail only. And, don't even think about cold calling, if a job posting says "no phone calls" it's not a suggestion, it's a rule. What's more, you have to alter the way you represent your skills. A few years ago you could get away with listing "detail oriented" or "diligent worker" on your resume. But know employers want quantifiable examples of those statements.
1. R.I.P., Word Docs. You wouldn't think that hiring managers would take issue with you sending your resume as a Word document, but some do. If you're using a Word Doc, the format may not translate correctly for the employer -- out of whack margins, spacing discrepancies, etc. A PDF ensures that borders, margins, and paragraph spacing will be in the right place when they open your resume.
2. Get a Digital Portfolio. Any job in a creative field, such as graphic design or writing, will require that you present a portfolio of your work during the interview. However, physical portfolios aren't enough. You need to supplement your work with a digital portfolio. In fact, most job postings won't accept applications without one. You can use blogging software, such as Wordpress or TypePad, to get you started.
3. Don't Only Use Job Boards. If you've posted your resume online, you're off to a great start. But don't rely on the job board alone. The Bureau of Labor Statistics recommends that you check Internet forums or message boards. Ask the participants if they know of any job openings in your area, or use it to research what kind of work is out there. But evaluate any advice before acting on a tip. You want to be sure you're following reliable information.
4. Quantify Abilities and Accomplishments on Your Resume. When you list your skills on your resume, such as "strong work ethic" or the ubiquitous "detail oriented" ensure that you can follow it up with strong examples. Employers want to know how you employed those skills in the workplace or service. For example, instead of just saying "highly motivated" try this: "Highly motivated to leverage five years of achievements during MP career to provide dedicated service for a city or county police department."
5. Use Social Networks to Your Advantage. Military.com's Veterans Career Network, LinkedIn, Facebook and even Twitter can be excellent ways to find jobs that may not even be posted yet. Update your status to say that you're transitioning out of the service and looking for work. If you put the word out that you're looking, a friend may recommend you for the position. And, clean up your online profile. Prospective may employers check out your Facebook account to see what kind of person you are before you have a chance to meet face to face.
If you're jumping into the job-search pool for the first time, make sure that you test the waters first by networking and shopping your updated resume around to friends and family. For more information on updating your job search, visit Military.com's Careers channel.