Military students who return from active duty and students that serve in the many facets of the armed services can often struggle with returning to a civilian life. This struggle can include supporting a family and finding a career. Often times these students need a little extra guidance.
Mike Hughes, director of military student services, was recently on the Minnesota School of Business-St. Cloud campus and addressed some tips for these job seekers.
“Veterans should update their career search materials when it comes time to apply for jobs, but make sure they are customized to fit the civilian world. Military experience should definitely be highlighted on a resume and in a cover letter, but it’s important to know how to tailor those skills to fit a job description. Do this by using transferable skills and leave out the heavy military jargon,” Hughes said. “Work with a career coach, possibly at the college you attend or in the transitional services department, to help tie your military experience to the civilian world. Transitioning from military to civilian life can be challenging, but with the right information, resources and connections, veterans can apply their experience and skills to begin a successful career.”
In addition, the career services department at Minnesota School of Business-St. Cloud is constantly working one-on-one with students. Jessica Ward, career and academic services coordinator, recently attended a special training at the St. Cloud VA Health Care System. When she returned we sat down for a chat.
Q: How can career services assist students in finding jobs?
A: Career services is here to help with building your resume, networking, guiding you to a successful interview and providing other career assistance. The more we get to know you, the better we can work with you to reach your goals.
Q: Is it more difficult for veterans to find jobs?
A: Finding a job is a job in itself. It is not easy, whether you are a veteran or a civilian. Career services provides another set of eyes to help you achieve your goals, cheer you on and coach you to victory.
Q: Are federal jobs only available to veterans?
A: Federal jobs are available to anyone. We have successful graduates working in federal jobs who are civilians, and some with a military background. It all comes down to the simple question: how do you sell yourself?
Q: You recently attended a training called Navigating VA Employment at the St. Cloud VA Health Care System. Tell us a little about that.
A: The goal was to focus on helping veterans apply within the system, while encouraging civilians to apply as well. Veterans make up approximately 31% of the VA’s total workforce, with 23% of the St. Cloud location being veterans.
We learned the steps taken when there is a vacancy and the process taken when making a job offer. Another focus was on the proper formatting of a military resume or government-focused resume. The VA stresses the importance of reading the application completely before even starting the application process. Career services can teach you how to match yourself to the job application.
Due to the lengthy process, it is recommend you work with career service throughout your college experience.