Veterans who go through VA’s Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC) pilot program are finding good jobs.
The program allows Veterans to receive accelerated training in information science, computer programming, computer software, media application and data processing.
VET TEC Employer Consortium began in October 2020, partnering with high-tech employers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes Initiative to help Veterans find meaningful employment.
Feedback has been positive.
“You should consider VET TEC because it doesn’t use your GI Bill entitlement, and it’s a great opportunity to get into the field you want,” said Pierre Gober, a VET TEC graduate and current software developer. “The program fast tracks you to getting interviews for jobs you never thought you’d be able to get, like a software engineer position for me.”
Start by building your resume
Resumes allow you to share your experiences and differentiate yourself. Gober said that his program worked with him on resume building and used direct project work to show his applied skills. Highlighting military skills and completed projects shows key experience.
One key resource is the Hiring Our Heroes Resume Engine, which helps translate your military record into a strong civilian resume. That resume is available to members of the VET TEC Employer Consortium. To get started, simply sign up and upload your resume.
Interview preparation is key
When you land an interview, be ready. That means research and practice according to Gober.
“[My VET TEC program] prepared me with mock interviews,” he said.
Veterans can train with practice questions, timed sessions and mock interviews. In those, remember to highlight soft skills, such as communication skills and professionalism. And, be confident. That can start with your wardrobe: always dress for success.
Learn about your potential employer ahead of the interview. This demonstrates your interest in the position and the organization, which makes it easier to ask questions and show your enthusiasm.
Build your network on LinkedIn
A recent LinkedIn Veteran Opportunity Report found that, on average, in the first year of transition, a Veteran’s network is composed of 28% Veterans. Civilians’ networks are just 1.2% Veterans.
You may increase your chances of finding a civilian job if you expand your civilian network.
“The networking process takes time, and LinkedIn can be a significant advantage as you build a virtual network and reach out to companies that interest you,” said Jorge Silva, a VET TEC graduate who recommends using LinkedIn. “If you do reach out ‘cold’ on LinkedIn, make sure to send a brief message in your request explaining your interest in connecting.”
The platform offers opportunities to expand your network.
“Even if your program is doing [job] placements, you still need to reach out on your own [to build your network],” said VET TEC graduate Leroy Grant.
LinkedIn offers service members and Veterans a free 1-year Premium Career subscription, including one year of access to LinkedIn Learning.
Connect with potential employers through virtual events and career fairs
Employers have been meeting VET TEC students and graduates in person and virtually. And VA has held two virtual career sessions.
One was a networking session connecting more than 500 VET TEC students, GI Bill beneficiaries, training providers and employers for one-on-one conversations. The other was a day-in-the-life event highlighting a VET TEC graduate hired into a completely virtual role.
Here are the listings of upcoming Employer Consortium events.
We hope these tips help to set yourself up for success. Learn more about the VET TEC Program and Employer Consortium on our website, view additional testimonials in this video, and let us know in the comments how these tips work for you!
Terry Warren is a supervisory management analyst for VA’s Education Service.