What Employers Want
Unfortunately, job creation remains fairly slow these days. Those firms that are hiring are taking longer to make the offer as they look for the best possible candidate. Let’s face it, it is a buyers’ market and, in this case, the buyer can afford to be choosey. Combine this with the coming drawdown of the military, and the challenges of finding work become even higher and the market, more saturated. Even highly-qualified job seekers can get passed over if they fail to mention a particular skill they have or if another candidate offers just a bit more.
Let’s look at what employers want. First, they want someone who is already knowledgeable about what they are hiring for. To their way of thinking, it is far better to hire someone who is already trained than to have to train someone. This can put the transitioning vet at a disadvantage, unless they are going directly into the same type of work they did in the service.
Then, there are social media and various other technologies. Depending on what you are looking for, your familiarity with Facebook or your being a super user of the iPhone and its countless apps may win you extra points. Of course, you only get those points if you understand and can explain what you know. So you must find a way to get it into the conversation.
Traditional wisdom tells us to keep resumes to a page or two. But this forces you to make hard tradeoffs about what to include. A digital application gives you the opportunity to add a bit more. You don’t want to write a novel, but don’t cheat yourself either. If there is space on the form, don’t be afraid to use it to your benefit. This isn’t a text message or tweet with limited characters. This is your chance to make yourself stand out from the crowd by customizing your replies to that company and that position.
You excel in the coveted skills of leadership and adaptability. But you don’t get to tell that story if you don’t differentiate yourself from another applicant who is already trained to do what you are applying for. All things being equal, the veteran has a lot to offer. But all things are not equal, so you must work to tilt the field to your advantage.
Wally graduated from the University of Notre Dame, where in his senior year he was the mascot. He served with distinction as an Officer of Marines for ten years, first as an armor officer and then flying AH-1W Super Cobra helicopters. He traveled to six continents while on active duty. After the Marines he was recognized for superior performance as a regional manager for a national restaurant company. At the same time he earned his MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After UNC, he was again recognized for superior performance at a national consulting company. He founded FireStarter Speaking and Consulting in response to demands from clients for tailored and effective leadership consulting.
Wally's clients range from the family-held enterprise to some of the nations most respected Fortune 100 firms. In all cases his clients rely on him for his insights, expertise and ability to help them solve problems and boost productivity.
He lives in Raleigh, NC and is a professional member of the National Speakers Association and a board member at the state level. He is also a board member at the state level for the Notre Dame Alumni association.
Wally is the author of NO YELLING: The Nine Secrets of Marine Corps Leadership You MUST Know To WIN In Business (www.noyelling.net).
You can visit his website at www.beafirestarter.com.
He welcomes your comments and questions at firstname.lastname@example.org