Interviewing Tips for Veterans

The title “Squad leader” doesn’t exactly translate on a civilian resume. Sure, anyone in the military knows what the squad leader is responsible for, but hiring experts at civilian companies cannot imagine how that well-known military title will benefit their very non-military workforce.

Most job descriptions seek character traits that the military has drilled into veterans such as discipline, integrity, managerial skills and the ability to work under pressure. The key is to show civilian employers how your military training not just fits into their civilian job description, but can benefit their company for years to come. A job interview gives veterans the chance to show potential employers how their military skills translate to becoming a successful civilian employee.

Below are some Veteran Interviewing Tips:

  • 1. Leave the military uniform at home. It is impressive yes, but you are applying for a civilian job, so you need to look like a civilian. If possible, let your military haircut grow out slightly as well.
  • 2. Describe the specific certifications, training and other specialized experience you received in the military. Do not describe the gory details of the raids you conducted or firefights you experienced on the frontlines. Your goal is to demonstrate how you have an edge over other applicants, not to entertain them with war stories.
  • 3. Speak civilian, not military. The individuals interviewing you may have no idea what the military acronyms or terms mean, and even if they are veterans themselves, you want to steer away from military lingo. Show them you know how to translate what you did in the military to the civilian sector, including how to use the terminology.
  • 4. Be ready to describe specific goals you met. Employers always ask job seekers to describe a past job experience. You should be ready to give one or two brief examples of how you used your discipline, preparedness and quick thinking to handle a situation. Again, use brief examples that highlight your abilities, not long war stories that are entertaining.
  • 5. Emphasize your dedication to the job. Discuss your dedication to your time spent serving your country. Prospective employers are looking for dedicated and loyal employees. You have demonstrated these traits by serving in the military. Discuss your dedication to your job and it could make a lasting impression.
  • 6. Highlight your references. It is highly likely that your references are outstanding, dedicated service members as well who can reiterate your traits of loyalty, dedication and discipline. Don’t leave them out.
  • 7. One final but important interviewing tip is to let the person know you are interested in the job. No one likes rejection. You might tell the employer that you are interested and ask what is the next step.