Wouldn't it be great to have a recruiter like a job fairy to help you find your first civilian job? Nicer than a Navy detailer. More powerful than a Marine Corps monitor. Able to leap the military/civilian divide without a flutter to his puffy pink tutu.
The ideal job fairy recruiter would read your OER [Officer Evaluation Report] or EPR [Enlisted Performance Report] during military transition, apply their encyclopedic knowledge of the job market and instantly let one word fall from their perfect lips: Plastics, say. Or cyber. Or craft beer. (Which is two words, but would be such a welcome thing in the hell of military transition, yeah?)
Recruiters Are Not Job Fairies
Sadly, recruiters and job sourcers and talent acquisition professionals are not job fairies. Their role is not to find jobs for people. Their gig is to find people for the jobs they have been hired to fill. (Beware if a recruiter approaches you, offering to find you a job for a fee. In this industry, the employer pays the recruiter. You pay nothing.)
More than 90% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find qualified candidates -- so make sure your LinkedIn profile is not scaring off recruiters. Stock it with the keywords recruiters search for most and look at the kind of InMail they send you. Their offers can give you great insight about what your profile is saying about you now.
3 Types of Recruiters to Help
If you get approached by a recruiter through an InMail on LinkedIn, you will find that they are most likely to be in one of these three categories: In-house recruiters, staffing companies or junior military officer (JMO) recruiters.
1. In-house recruiters
These recruiting professionals are employed directly by a specific company. Defense contractors have them. Fortune 500 companies have them. According to research from Korn Ferry, an organizational consulting firm, about half of Fortune 500 companies have an in-house recruiting department.
Some companies have a recruiter or talent sourcer whose job it is to find veteran recruits. These are usually people who have served in the military themselves, so they will speak your language. If the company interests you now or sometime in the future, reply to the recruiter, even if it is just to tell them what year you are getting out. It's always good to be connected to recruiters on LinkedIn during your job search.
2. Staffing companies
The staffing and recruiting industry includes outside companies that help other businesses find employees. This can be done through either assisting companies to recruit new internal staff or directly providing temporary staff to fill specific functions at the company. Some recruiters in this group will recruit for more than one client, and some are assigned to a single client.
3. JMO-specific recruiters
Certain recruiting agencies have a branch that specializes in junior military officer recruiting. Why JMOs? Because they are young, inexpensive, drug free, college grads with a STEM (science, tech, engineering, math) degree and some management experience. (They actually don't care that much about the officer thing; it is the college degree that makes them interested.)
Just like all recruiters, these folks are in the business of finding high-demand/low-supply employees -- just the JMO variety. Some of these firms host regional job fairs. Others recruit for specific jobs or have contracts recruiting for leadership programs within Fortune 500 companies. (Check out our Junior Officer Transition Master Class for more strategies.)
Mid-level enlisted also may be approached by some of these recruiters when they are looking for people who have experience with industrial-size boilers, coolers, etc. Again, those are high-demand/low-availability skills, which is why a company is willing to pay a recruiter to find those candidates.
Your transition brings a lot of new people into your life, including recruiters. Don't expect them to be job fairies, but expect them to be professionals working to fill the jobs they have. Then they can be a really useful part of your transition. For more info about recruiters and all things transition, get in touch with me on LinkedIn @jaceyeckhart. I'm always glad to hear from you.
Jacey Eckhart is Military.com's transition master coach. She is a certified professional career coach and military sociologist who helps military members get their first civilian job by offering career-level master classes through our veteran talent pool and on her website, seniormilitarytransition.com. Reach her at email@example.com.
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