This post first appeared on the VA Careers blog in April 2013. We are reposting today because it remains relevant and we hope you may find the information useful in your job search.
The military teaches us many things that we may never use again outside of the military. Most employers feel that Veterans are great employees who bring valuable skills to a company. I have noticed employers have formed opinions of Veterans as employees through enculturation. I know, big word; it’s the forming of opinions based upon one’s culture learned through experiences, observations and instruction. As such, some love and see value in Veterans, some may not.
Like many Veterans today, I am taking advantage of my GI Bill benefits and one of my assignments is to choose a topic and write a persuasive essay. There were many topics to choose from, but my background led me to “Mandatory Military Service”. I am instructed to pick a side and write about it. I will not get into my view on the topic, but I assure you that I am enjoying expressing it. Some will be for and some will be against, but it really makes one think about Veterans. What is a Veteran? Can anyone be a Veteran? I spent some time in recruiting and know first-hand that not everyone can be in the military, and that is the first step towards earning the title of Veteran.
We have many titles in America that may cause a pre-conceived impression. Doctor, Professor, Olympian, Tri-athlete, Lawyer, Used Car Salesman, Recruiter….what is the first thing you think of when you hear Veteran?
One difficult thing for Veterans is to convert valuable military skills into those valued in the private sector as well. Most of us have stood in front of a promotion board or Soldier of the month board at least once. Our leaders groomed and walked us through the steps to being recognized as among the best. We were taught the importance of knowing current events, specific information about our job skills, Military history, how to enter the room, to sit, to exit, to address the Board, even how to hold our hands. We were prepared for close scrutiny of our knowledge, our appearance – both personal and attire, posture and hygiene. Top candidates knew exactly how much education to have and how to demonstrate self improvement through training and development opportunities. The same people could win time and again. Why? Because they knew the work that it took to win, and were willing to do it.
Winning a job interview is no different in the private sector. Job seekers who have completed or are working towards their educational goals stand out. It is our job to demonstrate that our experiences equate to the skills desired by the employer. If we cannot convert our skills, how will a prospective employer do so? Those making the cut pay attention to detail, have prepared thoroughly and polished their shoes. They are filled with the confidence that comes only from practice and repetition.
I encourage everyone to take the same winning steps and attitude that made us successful as warriors and apply them into our daily lives and our job searches. I am Army, so I will reference that creed.
I am an American Soldier. I am a Warrior and a member of a team. I serve the people of the United States and live the Army Values. I will always place the mission first. I will never accept defeat. I will never quit. I will never leave a fallen comrade. I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills. I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself. I am an expert and I am a professional. I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of the United States of America in close combat. I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life. I am an American Soldier.
The same values and standards we lived by in the military are the same we bring with us into any career.
I am a Veteran. I am an example and a member of a team. I continue to serve the people of the United States and live the Army Values. I will place my employer’s mission first. I will never accept defeat. I will never quit. I will never leave a struggling team member or task incomplete. I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my career tasks and skills. I always seek self-improvement, and maintain my equipment and myself. I am an expert and I am a professional. I stand ready to support, engage, and lead the employees of my employer in all times. I am a supporter of freedom and the American way of life. I am an American Veteran.
If we take those ideas, prepare and live up to them, we can achieve great things, for us, our career and our families. Veterans continue to serve our country.
If you are in an active job search, try these steps. If you are working and desire to improve your position, these steps may work for you as well. They are not mandatory, special or secret, just an opportunity to take a warrior approach to an ongoing job search.
I Am a Veteran!