5 Tips for Veterans Having Trouble Finding Work, Even in a Hot Job Market

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(Senior Airman Chris Sommers/U.S. Air Force photo)

Question: I got out of the Army six months ago. I keep hearing how employers are struggling to hire, so the market's great for job seekers. If that's so, why can't I find a job?

Answer: What you've heard about is this "Great Resignation" or "Great Reshuffle" that's occurring across companies. Many employees stayed in jobs to ride out the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many also became frustrated and burned out from their work or decided that their passion lies elsewhere and left their previous employment. This created a great opportunity for job seekers (open jobs means opportunities), and employers need to hire.

While open jobs and competition for candidates require employers to offer more lucrative compensation and hiring packages, that doesn't mean anyone can get any job in any company. There are still steps that need to be taken with care and focus to position yourself as the best candidate for an opportunity.

Here are five things to do to put your best foot forward for an open position:

1. Be Clear About Who You Are, What You Offer and How You're a Good Fit.

You should approach the application and interview process with a clear mind about why they should be interested in you, how your skills and experience align with their requirements and what you can offer to the company, the team and their mission.

2. Do Your Research on the Company, the Job and the Interviewers.

Before you send in an application or upload your resume into their system, do your homework. Learn what the company's core values, mission, purpose and business look like. Who are their competitors, and who do they align with strategically? Learn the keywords and key phrases that will be meaningful to recruiters and hiring managers to ensure your application gets seen. Look at the LinkedIn profiles of everyone who'll be interviewing you. Do you see any common experiences or interests?

3. Clean Up Your Online Activity.

Social media plays a big part in the hiring process today. You might have a stellar resume, but if your LinkedIn activity is dismal, your Facebook profile shows you sharing inappropriate content and you lack influential connections, this could contrast negatively with your impressive resume.

Remove posts, images, comments and other content online that shows you in a negative light. Strive for an online presence that tells more of the story of who you are, what you stand for and what you're looking to do.

4. Conduct Yourself Professionally.

A job interview is a formal event. Be on time, respond professionally, show respect to the interviewer and ask good questions. While some interviewers are more relaxed, never completely let your guard down. You should strive to be friendly and approachable, but one off-handed comment or joke could torpedo your candidacy at the company if you get too comfortable.

5. Show Gratitude and Follow Up.

If you're moved on to the next step in the interview process, show appreciation. Let the hiring team know that you're excited about being considered and look forward to learning more about the opportunity and how you could meet their goals.

If you're not advanced in the interview process or aren't offered the job, share your appreciation for the opportunity to meet with them, request that you be considered for future openings and stay in touch with the recruiters and hiring manager.

The market is good for candidates who present themselves in alignment with the goals and mission of the company. Always remain authentic to your values and represent yourself with integrity and poise to ensure your career grows in the direction you seek.

The author of "Success After Service: How to Take Control of Your Job Search and Career After Military Duty" (2020) and "Your Next Mission: A personal branding guide for the military-to-civilian transition" (2014), Lida Citroën is a keynote speaker and presenter, executive coach, popular TEDx speaker and instructor of multiple courses on LinkedIn Learning. She regularly presents workshops on personal branding, executive presence, leadership communication and reputation risk management.

A contributing writer for Military.com, Lida is a passionate supporter of the military, volunteering her time to help veterans transition to civilian careers and assist employers who seek to hire military talent. She regularly speaks at conferences, corporate meetings and events focused on military transition.

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