If you’re a veteran, you have proven you can work on teams and, in many cases, lead them. Yet corporate recruiting experts say it’s crucial to properly frame your experience to maximize your chances of getting hired.
“Veterans bring many valuable skills and qualities to the corporate environment,” says Jerry Quinn, head of Military & Veteran Talent External Recruiting and Enterprise Military & Veteran Initiatives at Wells Fargo. “These include traits like strategic planning, critical thinking, problem-solving, communications and adaptability. In my experience, however, veterans sometimes have trouble conveying their unique contributions and effectiveness on teams.”
The post-9/11 veteran unemployment rate is at an all-time low of below 4 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This figure may not paint the full picture about the transition to civilian life. Many veterans remain underemployed or in jobs that do not use the full range of their skills.
So, what’s the best way to approach your job search? Consider these tips from Quinn and Wells Fargo’s Hands on Banking program:
Make the Conversion
While in the military, people often speak in terms of what “we” did together. In the corporate world, it’s more important to be able to clearly state what “you” did to help the team succeed.
So look through your resume, converting “we” to “I,” citing specific, measurable criteria where possible. And remember that potential employers may not always be familiar with military jargon and acronyms, so use language any civilian recruiter will understand. For example, “I was a leader of a team of 100, with seven direct reports,” or “I was responsible for maintaining more than $2 million worth of specialized government equipment.”
Remember to customize your resume each time you apply for a job. Most job descriptions provide clues that you can use to figure out what role on the team the company is seeking to fill — whether it be a leader, a manager or an individual contributor. Use these clues to determine what attributes and teamwork experience to highlight on your resume.
Practice answering some of the most common interview questions — succinctly. You can count on getting questions like, “How do you demonstrate you’re a team player?” or “Give an example of a time you had a conflict with others and how you handled it.” In a brief and organized way, be ready to highlight your personal contributions.
For career opportunities and other tips and resources, visit wellsfargojobs.com/military.
“Teamwork means getting things done and trusting that you can count on others,” says Quinn. “Being able to show that teamwork is inherent to your own values and experience will put your job candidacy at the top of any stack.”