The state of Maryland decided to do something about a highly underemployed segment of their population. On Tuesday Maryland legislators launched a site, Mil2FedJobs, to match transitioning veterans with federal jobs for which they’d qualify.
Unemployment is a harsh reality for 20.9% of returning veterans under the age of 25. That compares with a rate of 17.3% for the same aged group of non-veterans. As another point of reference the overall unemployment rate in the Metro DC area was 5.8% in March of this year.
Maryland is taking a step in the right direction. A lot more transitioning military personnel will be successful in their job searches with this new service. There’s more these job seekers can do to find work, though.
The military and federal work environments are completely different from industry. Part of the issue with applying for a civilian position has to do with experience. Not just job skills but also interviewing experience. If you’ve served our country, you have transferrable skills in leadership, organization, or other critical functions.
Getting a job is largely about attitude and knowing how to package yourself. By attitude, I mean you bring more to the table than your knowledge and skill set. Many employers are willing to give you a chance to learn on the job if you demonstrate the right qualities. A winning attitude and the right aptitude go a long way for getting a job you may not be wholly qualified to land from a skills perspective.
A strong resume only opens the door. The way you interview should leave the employer feeling like they can’t live without you. It’s not just a sales job. It’s about researching the company, finding a good fit, and being authentic. Know what you want to do before walking through the door. Be confident in the value you bring. Open your mind to Ask probing questions to discover what kind of employer this would be. And practice. A lot.
Finding a job is not an easy task under any circumstances. It’s hard to stay upbeat when it seems that all you hear from potential employers is silence—or perhaps ‘no.’ Still, you can take action to make the process better and ultimately more successful. Looking for a job is a full-time job. The first step may be in understanding how differently the government and civilian employment processes can be. You’ll also want to build a support structure that helps you through difficult times. There’s nothing more important than having friends and family help keep things in perspective.