We all know that applying for jobs can be an arduous task, one that requires both patience and discipline. It can take a lot longer than many people expect. Some say that you can expect to wait one month per ten thousand dollars salary. For example, if you are looking for a $60,000 per year career, you can expect your job search to take 6 months. Not realizing this, some job-seekers quit too soon when looking for work.

There are things you can do to give yourself a leg up while waiting for your phone to ring:

1.   Seek Local Resources

Not surprisingly, most cities and counties across the U.S. have local government and privately-run job programs. Visit your local government employment agency to see what programs they offer. There are other civilian organizations such as Goodwill that have job programs as well. Each metro area around the country will have different organizations and types of employers they work with so stop into your local Goodwill Jobs office, or other organization and see what they have to offer.

There are also staffing agencies that companies hire to find skilled workers such as you. Staffing agencies usually don’t cost you anything, the employer pays the fees after you’re hired. Do a web search for staffing agencies and check them out.

If you are in immediate need for work you can seek out a “temp agency.” There are thousands throughout the United States that pair individuals with the immediate needs of local companies.

2.   Set A Schedule

It’s important for your well-being to find time to do other things in your day aside from your job search. Set a schedule for time you’ll do web searches and resume rewrites, visiting local agencies, physical fitness, learning new skills, etc… If you’re not careful, you’ll end up spending 8-10 hours each day on job boards. You’ll get frustrated and desperate, and some folks start to fall into unhealthy habits. It’s important to have balance so you can ensure you find a company that fulfills your sense of purpose as well as your bank account.

3.   Map Out Your Career

It’s been said that goal-setting has been the hallmark of every successful person. Each knew how to set short-term goals and establish success, to ultimately attain their long-term goals. Ask yourself these questions: “Where do I see myself in one month? Six months? A year? Five years? and so on. This mental exercise can give you perspective as to what kind of work you are considering. Try writing your goals on paper. Seeing it in writing can also help give you clarity.

If you haven’t determined a specific career area you want to go into, don’t fret; many veterans have a difficult time doing this. To help you figure this out you can assess your skills and determine what you’re good at. Then, contemplate if you would be happy doing this for a living. You can start this process with the Veterans ASCEND skills translation to get this thought process moving along. Knowing what you don’t enjoy or don’t want to do can be just as important as knowing what you want to do.

4.   Networking & LinkedIn

Unlike its competitors, LinkedIn is “the” social media platform for professional job seekers and business owners. Everyone from your local McDonald’s cook to the CEO of Boeing uses LinkedIn – you should too!

Here are some tips to enhance your LinkedIn profile:

  • Use a professional headshot – not a vacation photo or selfie
  • Change your profile description to reflect your professional experience and use keywords that companies might be looking for (e.g., “certified IT expert”)
  • Write articles to share your experience on topics related to the job you are seeking. For instance, if you’re looking to get into an IT position, write about cyber security issues
  • Share content from related connections. Content authors will see when their content is shared from their profile. This exposure could lead someone to find you on LinkedIn, and in turn, lead to a career!

Networking in person, not just the internet, is very important as well. Be on the lookout for opportunities to network with people in your area. It can be daunting to go to these events and walk up to people and introduce yourself, but these events open doors. Ask someone in the Rotary Club about coming to a meeting, or if they know of any upcoming networking events. Make sure you have a personal networking card (i.e. business card), which includes your LinkedIn URL, to give the people you meet. This will help you build your network.  

5.   Attain / Improve Your Skillset

Simply put, the more skills you have, the more valuable you are to an employer. Expanding your skillset not only makes you more valuable to potential employers, but it also increases your job security once hired. Additionally, even though you are job-seeking now, you may choose to leave your future position for another one down the road. The more skills you have, the more marketable you become.

For instance, let’s say you have experience in the medical field. You may also have a passion for computers or software but didn’t go to school for it. By obtaining an IT certification, you can combine your medical experience and IT skills thus making you more valuable to potential employers.

Conclusion

Whether your only experience is in the military, or you’ve been at a company for decades, finding a new career isn’t easy. Being discovered by a hiring manager will take time, but as we mentioned, there are things you can do to improve your chances. Veterans ASCEND is doing our part to connect you with employers who want to find and hire you. Creating your profile and keeping it updated helps us match you with employers around the country looking for someone with your skills and experience. Learn more by visiting our website:  https://www.Veterans.VeteransASCEND.com