We spoke with Tara Carlidge, Recruiting Manager at Citi and former Personnel Officer in the U.S. Army, to ask her how veterans should figure out what industry or job they should be applying for when entering the corporate workforce for the first time. Here’s what we learned:
First, finding the right career path for you will take time and effort. Veteran or not, it’s a tough decision with so many options to choose from, which may feel overwhelming. It’s important to do research on these fields and roles in order to gain a better understanding of where you think that you would best fit in and be an asset.
Second, it’s important to network with people. Talk to people who have left the military, as well as friends who are already in the roles that you are thinking about. Talk about their day-to-day experience and what they do, as well as what skills they think are important for you to have for these roles. Don’t have connections already at the company or someone in a relevant role? Try LinkedIn, a great social networking tool to meet other professionals. You can reach out to various people via the messaging feature, where you can explain why you’re reaching out and what you’re looking for from them. Providing context for reaching out makes it more likely for them to set up a time to chat with you.
Third, think about what industry correlates to your skills. There are tools that you can use to transition into careers in the civilian sector, such as veteran service organizations and FourBlock, a veteran career readiness organization. Think about what roles excite you the most and where you can see yourself thriving.
Finally, it’s okay to be open-minded. There are so many options out there for you to choose from when you come out of service that it can be hard to narrow down what excites you and what you would like your next step to be. While it’s okay to be open-minded about your next step, during your interview and job application process, it’s important that you show recruiters and hiring managers that you are committed to the role that you’re applying for, and that this is what you want to do.
You don’t want them thinking you’re applying to tons of different jobs in different industries, as they may be concerned about you not being committed.
This article is one of nine in a 9-part series WayUp has completed in partnership with the Bob Woodruff Foundation and VOWS in an effort to help Veterans entering the civilian workforce. To sign up for WayUp and be discovered by employers, we encourage you to go here.