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The still-shaky civilian job market can look like a minefield to transitioning veterans. But you can better your odds of finding good-paying employment by avoiding some common job-hunting mistakes:
1. Using too-narrow search methods. Don’t rely completely on applying for jobs online. Check the job ads in your local newspaper, visit your local Labor Department office, and hit every job fair within a reasonable distance.
2. Disregarding social media. Social media is an integral aspect of networking, job hunting and company recruiting. LinkedIn is the best in the business for networking with key personnel. For better or worse, who you know can be as important as what you know.
3. Sending out faulty résumés. If your résumé is filled with poor grammar, misspelled words, incomplete information or too much military jargon, your road to employment will lead straight up a steep hill. Websites such as http://www.mynextmove.org can help you turn military jargon into civilian words and skills.
4. Lack of knowledge about your chosen civilian career. When it comes to interviews, knowing as much as you can about your field is a no-brainer. One question you can always expect to field in an interview: “What do you know about our company?”
5. Spurning jobs that don’t meet your pay expectations. If the salary you’re offered is less than what you prefer, it may still be in your best interest to accept the position to get your foot in the door.
6. Not being willing to travel or move for work. Follow the lead of companies who are packing up and moving to cities with growing economies and lower taxes.
7. Overlooking internships and volunteer work. Taking advantage of these opportunities while you look for paid employment can help you network, learn about future job opportunities and, most importantly, gain valuable experience.
8. Losing patience. Hearing back about the position you applied for may feel like eternity. As you’re waiting, spend a couple of hours a day looking for other openings, reading up on your field and tweaking your résumé, so you’ll be prepared for any interview that comes your way.
— Steven Maieli