There’s nothing quite like waiting to the last minute to get your affairs in order. And if you’re a Veteran about to transition out of the military, waiting until the final hour could set your civilian career path behind. That’s why SAVI advocates starting your transition before you actually transition.
If you’re planning to leave the service within the next year, here are three things that will get you ahead of the civilian learning curve.
Take An Excel Class
Employers continuously rank Excel proficiency as one of the most desired skills in potential employees — and not just for bookkeepers. If you’re looking to go into sales, research, technology, education, marketing, or even customer service, being trained in the art of the spreadsheet can set you apart from other candidates. Luckily for you, there are a lot of solid Excel trainings out there from reputable sources, including Harvard and MIT’s Excel course through its edX program and LinkedIn Learning’s expert-led online Excel tutorials. The best part about these options is the affordable price. In fact, the Ivy League training is only $267 for three graduate-level courses, and LinkedIn Learning offers a free month-long trial that could be used to complete your Excel training.
Make LinkedIn Your Friend
LinkedIn has even more benefits than its useful trainings, including providing essential networks that could land you a job. First, make sure your LinkedIn profile is polished and professional, and have previous military bosses (officers or NCOs) write you recommendations on your profile as well as approve civilian skills for you. If others have endorsed your prior work, civilian employers are going to find you more attractive. LinkedIn also allows you to request informational interviews with people at companies you’re interested in. Reach out and schedule a few minutes of their time to ask them some questions.
One last thing: Did you know LinkedIn offers their premium service free to Veterans? This will be a huge asset as you begin to grow your Veteran connection and build your personal brand.
Build Your Civilian Closet
Because networking isn’t always enough to land that ideal job, you also have to look the part. Soon, you’ll be trading in your military fatigues for civilian business attire. That means you need a good suit and a selection of more casual business clothes. Though your professional clothing doesn’t need to be top-of-the-line, there are a few dos and don’ts of business attire that will get you ahead of the curve a bit. Here are two great resources on the basics of business suits for men and women.
There are also several nonprofits throughout the country that offer free or heavily discounted suits to transitioning Veterans. Check out organizations like Suiting Warriors and Boots to Suits.
Making your transition to civilian as smooth as possible is what we’re all about here at SAVI. Contact us today to learn how we can support you in your journey to get ahead and get hired.