By Center for Personal Finance editors
Federal Reserve officials have a more pessimistic view about economic growth and employment prospects today than they did in early 2011. The economy is expected to grow only 2.7% to 2.9%, according to the Fed, down from the April estimate of 3.1% to 3.3%.
Among those still struggling to find employment are servicemembers fresh out of the military, reports the Credit Union National Association's (CUNA) News Now. Unemployment payments to servicemembers have doubled since 2008—evidence that many veterans return to civilian life unable to find work. The estimated jobless rate among male veterans ages 18 to 24 is more than 30%. That's compared with 18% for male civilians of the same age group, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Military and civilian life are different, to say the least, and although military members have many talents, a military career often doesn't prepare vets for a civilian job search.
Veterans should take these steps when hunting for civilian jobs, according to Vault Career Intelligence, a website providing job search help:
- Ditch the lingo. Many civilian employers aren't familiar with military lingo. And while military and civilian jobs have different titles, many underlying skill sets are similar. Try to bridge the divide between your experiences and the skills that employers are looking for. Research civilian job ads and pay attention to the language used. Correlate past military assignments with private sector roles, such as financial planning, operations management, purchasing, human resource management, systems administration, and administrative support. In addition, try to explain what your rank entailed since many people in the civilian world aren't familiar with military hierarchy.
- Focus on strengths. Show prospective employers how your military talents, skills, and abilities relate to their civilian business and industry. People with military experience often are decisive and resourceful, and make excellent leaders. They also can make great team players and perform under pressure.
- Know where to look. Many companies understand the military and are dedicated to hiring veterans. Doing a simple Google search will show companies that make it a practice to hire returning vets. Research companies to help you understand company culture and salary ranges as well.
- Use social-networking sites. LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook social networking sites work well for job-searching; you can tap people you're already connected with and meet people who have the same career aspirations you do, according to the CUNA's Center for Personal Finance. And yet, there's a fine line between using these sites for professional and personal use. Use caution, and remember not to post anything that you wouldn't want a prospective employer to see.