Finding a career, unlike finding the best chow hall on base or where the cheapest beer is served, is not easy. It takes time and help from seasoned professionals to find a job after the military. Chances are, as a veteran executing a job search, you may find yourself struggling, not to mention feeling undervalued and underpaid. And while you may be quick to blast a company that lowballed you on their offer sheet, you could be making these three mistakes that are holding you back in your career search.
Thinking Your Service Should Guarantee You A Job
Let me give it to you straight: no employer, company, or person owes you anything for your service. While serving in the military is admirable, honorable, and an act of courage, it does not mean the moment you get out you should be a director of marketing because of that service. Unfortunately, you often have to start at the bottom and work your way up.
But, while what I just wrote may scare the bejeezus out of you, do not fret. Your service will give you a leg up in the job market and as you further advance your career. You know how to work and what it means to work. You know how to function within a team and lead one. You know what it means to accomplish the mission.
No matter where you are in the job world, the things you learned in the military give you advantages in the workforce.
Not Asking For Help
Everyone loved the soldiers who thought they could take on a whole platoon of insurgents like Bruce Willis against Alan Rickman and his goons in Diehard. They always made for great jokes and story times around the smoke pit. But, sadly, many veterans get out and think they can find a job on their own and navigate resume boards like Rambo navigating the jungles of southeast Asia. This is a huge mistake and one I, too, made when I first got out of the military because I thought what the Marines taught me was sufficient enough. My attitude bit me in the you-know-what and, as a result, I ended up in and out of jobs I hated for years.
Veterans have it a lot better when it comes to the job search. Many organizations and companies have stepped up to the plate to hire veterans and set them up for success. It doesn’t take as much as it once did to land a role at a good company. What it takes is a bit of humility and courage to ask someone to help you with your resume and get the job you always wanted.
Not Taking Time to Find The Right Fit
So let’s say you asked for help and appropriately humbled yourself while looking for work. And you landed a job that pays well in an office with a keg and pool table near a fully stocked kitchen. Seems like a dream scenario, right? I mean, who wouldn’t want to work there? But, while the benefits are excellent, sometimes the high paying desk jobs you thought would give you more than enough reason to flip the bird at the low paying salaries of the military aren’t what they seem. You must take your time to find the right fit for you. Dig deep into what you want to do, what you are good at, and what fulfills your needs. If you aren’t sure where to go or where to get started in knowing what a good fit for you is, there are organizations like Fourblock and Stand Beside Them that offer services to help you navigate your career path.