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Military to Civilian: Ten Effective Job Search Strategies to Get Hired

Patricia Dorch -- The wealth of skills you acquired and used in the military are transferable to the civilian job market. Here's how to use transferable skills and new interview strategies to demonstrate to civilian employers why you are the most qualified candidate for the job.

Are you looking for a roadmap to market your transferable skills in the civilian job market? Do you need new interview strategies to "market" your Military experience to a civilian employer?

In the Military you presented ideas and strategies to officers, peers, and civilians to accomplish daily goals. The skills you used in the Military are transferable to the civilian job market. Use transferable skills and new interview strategies to illustrate to civilian employers that you are the most qualified candidate for the job. Listed are strategies to prepare you for your interview.

Strategy 1: Civilian Interview Image

-- Wear a quality business suit with matching jacket, trousers, skirt or slacks in the same fabric and color.
-- Men: wear lace-up shoes polished in good condition.
-- Women: wear closed toe shoes polished in good condition.

Strategy 2: Interview Etiquette. Be on Time

-- The interviewer interprets your arrival of 15 to 20 minutes early as your interest, commitment, dependability, and professionalism. Being late can show the opposite.

Strategy 3: Interview Questions

Ask interview questions and gather valuable information. For example:
1. Skills: Where do you see my Military transferable skills in this position?
2. Changes: What changes if any would you like to see implemented in this position?
3. Department Goals: What are the goals for this department and how can I help you achieve them?

Strategy 4: Transferable Skills to Market to Civilian Employers

-- Skills: Identify your top transferable skills required for the job based on the job description.
-- Provide examples of your knowledge, skills, and abilities as they relate to the job requirements. A "short story" provides the interviewer insight into how you used key skills in past positions.
-- Short stories are essential to "stand out" from other candidates with similar skills and experience.

Strategy 5: Job Search Checklist -- What You Should Bring to Your Interview

-- Present letters of reference on letterhead.
-- Present your resume and cover letter in a professional portfolio folder.

Strategy 6: Interview Mental Preparation Strategies

Recall important military facts, figures and other supportive information that will successfully move you through the interview process.

Strategy 7: Resume and Cover Letter Strategies

-- Include your personal contact information on each resume page.
-- Create a professional email address.
-- Proofread your resume -- do not rely solely on spelling and grammar check.

Cover Letter
-- Write a different cover letter for each position you apply for based on the job description requirements.
-- Put the job description, identification information on the cover letter.

Strategy 8: Effective Telephone Interview Skills

-- Be prepared for scheduled and unscheduled telephone interviews.
-- Treat the telephone interview with the same importance as the face-to-face interview.
-- Organize your thoughts before you speak -- ask for clarification if you do not understand the question.

Strategy 9: The Power of Personal Branding

Visual Brand: Appearance
-- Your visual brand sends a non-verbal message of how successful you are.
-- Your body language, gestures, and posture all communicate your personal brand.

Strategy 10: Ask For the Job -- A Powerful Career Strategy for Employment

How do you close the interview? Do you ask for the job?

-- Never leave the interview without "asking for the job" and finding out what the next step is in the interview process.
-- Asking only what the next step is in the interview process will not get you the job offer.

A competitive job market requires exceptional interview skills to land a new career. A large pool of candidates are actively interviewing and seeking the job you want. Make a commitment to plan, prepare, and execute an effective interview strategy that will have a life-changing effect on your career, income and future.

The goal of interviewing is to gain the job offer. The most important strategy you can use at the end of your interview is to Ask For The Job. The stakes are high -- this unique interview strategy will position you to close the deal.

Patricia Dorch is an author, speaker and career expert. She is the author of Military to Civilian Transition: Job Search Strategies and Tips to Get Hired in the Civilian Job Market and Professionalism: New Rules for Workplace Career Success. Patricia provides job search seminars for Veterans in transition assistance programs, job and career fairs, and other events. For more, visit and

© 2014 Patricia Dorch

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