With 2021 in full swing, many veterans are considering new goals, new wishes and potentially new jobs as they continue their transitions to civilian life.
Although a 2020 Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) survey of the wounded warriors it serves found that 41% experienced employment challenges due to the pandemic, there is reason for optimism. WWP helped place nearly 2,000 wounded veterans and family members in new careers in 2020, with combined first-year salaries totaling nearly $94 million.
Here are tips to help veterans and their families find a new job in the new year:
■ Register with WWP and enroll in the nonprofit’s career counseling program, Warriors to Work.
■ Ensure your military skills translate into civilian job requirements when updating your resume and LinkedIn profile. For example, if you were a supply sergeant, write instead that you were a logistics manager.
■ Network with former colleagues, relatives, neighbors and friends. Use job boards and social media beyond LinkedIn to expand your reach.
■ Embrace the changing employment landscape. Many traditional jobs have pivoted to remote positions, providing opportunities not previously available to military families. Once the pandemic subsides, these jobs may remain remote, revert to in-person office positions, or become hybrid.
■ Don’t assume you can make a lateral move. You may have to accept a lower-level position and reestablish yourself to secure a new opportunity. If this is the case, make sure the employer has a process for promotions.
■ Adjust to the new normal of virtual job interviews. Ensure your background is uncluttered, the camera’s focus is on you, and that your attire is as professional as an in-person interview.
■ Survey the employment landscape like a military exercise, and understand which industries provide opportunity. For example, tech employers or organizations that provide services (e.g., transportation and delivery) will continue to prosper.
“The employment landscape has changed significantly, but job opportunities still exist for veterans,” said Bryan Rollins, director of WWP’s Warriors to Work program. “Considering these tips will help land them.”