It’s a competitive world out there post-military, and you know that.
Getting a job isn’t as simple as sending in a resume and waiting to be called back with an offer. When you apply for a position on our job board for veterans, the company that is hiring could be receiving dozens, hundreds or even thousands of applications and resumes. In a way, it’s like the lottery, except you have to keep working if you win.
But it isn’t a lottery because hiring isn’t random. There are ways to increase your odds, such as reaching out to your could-be employer. If this is not your first job hunt, you probably know this. There are millions of articles on the Internet about how to best write a resume, who to talk to and how to conduct an interview. We recently posted an article that reads interviewing advice for Military Veterans.
Those pieces make sure that you are doing enough to get noticed. In this article, I will tackle the opposite: if you are doing too much. Yes, it is possible to go over the top, so here are three pieces of interviewing advice for military veterans.
1. It’s not all about you
You and the person doing the hiring are (most likely) not friends. Before an interview, to him or her you are just a name attached to a resume. Whether networking or interviewing, you have to tell others who you are, what you can do and what you would like to accomplish, all in a limited amount of time.
But the conversation cannot be entirely self-centered; this is especially the case when networking. Ask the other person about themselves, and their careers. Networking is a professional relationship, and the best way to form a relationship of any kind is to ask about the other person and be genuinely interested. You might even pick up some free advice.
When it comes to interviews, ask about the company and the position that you are trying to fill. If you only talk about yourself, you will come across as someone who cares more about him/herself than the company.
2. Give them time
One way to make sure that your resume isn’t falling into an endless pit of paper is to reach out to the hiring manager. Sending an email or (preferably) a phone call gets your name into the mind of the person conducting the hiring, making it more likely that your resume will be saved from the endless pit.
Some people’s fear of being overbearing prevents them from calling at all: this is a mistake. You should definitely call. Ask when it would be the best time for you to call back instead of frequently calling at random hours.
There is plenty of advice on how to interview well, and I’m sure that you will have memorized it long before you find yourself sitting in the hallway outside the room where the interviews are conducted.
This advice is good: give a firm handshake, make eye contact and prepare answers to basic interview questions beforehand. The key is not to take this advice as a robot would. You don’t need to break your interviewer’s fingers during the handshake. You don’t need to look into your interviewer’s eyes for the entire time. Have talking points for answers, but do not memorize what you are going to say and repeat it. It isn’t a play, it’s an interview. If you have not yet read our article on how to answer the salary question, you should because they will probably ask and you want to be prepared.
This applies to everything else on this list: don’t go overboard with advice. You should talk about yourself. You should make eye contact. The key is not to stretch it to a level in which you seem like a narcissist or unable to understand boundaries. It is a competitive world, but that does not mean you should do anything to get someone’s attention. If you follow our advice, an offer will come!