Are You Prioritizing Job Satisfaction?
2-½ minutes to read
Recently I saw a post in a LinkedIn veterans group. The person asked what he should do now that he’d hit every job board. He didn’t mention the kind of job he wanted. And his scattergun approach shows he didn’t prepare much for entering civilian life. A second job-hunt looms on his horizon even though he doesn’t have his first post-military job.
Did the Military Challenge You?
Two-thirds of veterans find the transition to civilian life difficult. Finding a job ranks at the top of the list of challenges. Forty percent of veterans experience unemployment for at least six months. Yet, almost half of enlisted people leave their first job within 12 months. Thirty-one percent do so within six months. So, in the first couple of years post-military, many veterans work about as much as they look for work.
The military challenged us to keep building our skills, knowledge, and leadership ability. It gave us meaningful work to do. And it provided a clear path for advancement and professional development.
No surprise that veterans leave jobs that lack these qualities. Other reasons for high-first year turnover include skills mismatch and inadequate compensation.
Taking all of this into account, how do you avoid a second job-hunt in a year?
Assess and Plan
Anxiety over employment runs high as the date for leaving the military gets closer. You’ll feel pressured to something, toward getting a job. First, ask yourself these questions:
- What are my goals for transitioning? "Find a job" is too general. You’ll have much greater success and a shorter job-hunt by getting specific about the job you want.
- Have I done a thorough skills assessment? Most veterans assume they have to find civilian work like what they did in the military. But what do infantrymen and artillerymen do in the private sector? Use this tool to dig beyond your obvious skills. It translates them to civilian language too.
- What would I like to do? Have you examined what you liked about military duty? You may have hated the restrictive environment. But I bet you found some tasks enjoyable. Where else have you found meaning in work? You may feel you can’t afford to be picky. But your cash flow won’t improve by changing jobs every six to twelve months.
- How much do I know about what employers need? Our fellow citizens respect us because we fill a big need: keeping them safe. Employers hire veterans because they think we’ll solve problems for them. Identify where you can help employers in your field deal with their challenges.
- What kind of culture do I want to work in? Each service branch has a different culture. If you worked in a joint environment you saw the clash. The private sector is the same. You’ll save yourself a lot of headaches, and a second job-hunt, by checking for a cultural fit before taking a job.
- Who do I know who can help me get the inside track for a job? Employers post on job boards because they’re having trouble filling the position. You’ll find the best jobs through someone already working at the organization. Get in touch with people you know and give them specifics about the job you want.
Notice that question 6 ties back to question 1. If you’ve gone through the questions at least once, your ready to attack you job-hunt in earnest. And, you’ve increased the odds you’ll like and stay with the job you find.
Resist the impulse to head straight for the job boards. Not only will you save time looking for your first job. You’ll avoid a second job-hunt.
Which question is hardest to answer?
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