Job market myths and realities for ex-military and veterans seeking jobs

Before you conduct your job search (see my article on “how to create a military to civilian timeline” ), you need to be aware of
the realities about the current civilian job market.

MYTH # 1: You’ll be able to make more money in the civilian world.
Don’t be fooled!

Reality: For most service members leaving the military, entry or starting corporate salaries are often less than their active duty pay.

MYTH# 2: Mass posting (otherwise known as “shot gunning,” “blasting” or “broadcasting” your resume is the most effective way to attract

REALITY: A traditional resume only yields a 1% success rate in landing an interview. Meantime, sending your resume indiscriminately to
an online job board without contacting the hiring manager (NOT necessarily the HR Manager) will end up in the “black hole.” 

Here are typical scenarios: Either your resume will be swallowed up by an optical scanner, used to track and screen resumes, or it will vanish in
the vast sea of your competitors.

Avoid the urge of “blasting” your resume. Be selective and choose your employment target.

MYTH # 3: Because I was in the middle ranks in the military (ex: senior
non-commissioned member, Petty Officer, etc), I should be hired as a
mid-level manager in the corporate world.

REALITY: Most civilians do not entirely understand military ranks, much less the equivalent and value of your military experience. You may
have to “pay your dues” and/or prove yourself to fill a leadership position.

(I know what you’re thinking. You’ve been trained as a leader from day one in your military career).

MYTH # 4: There aren’t many jobs in this highly competitive market.

REALITY: Yes, it may seem that there aren’t many jobs, BUT there is WORK. And work exists in the hidden job market.

MYTH #5: I should take the highest paying job offer to me. 

Accepting a job offer involves many decision making factors. Often they relate to your values, such as autonomy, variety, opportunities for
career advancement and stability of the employer. Don’t make salary your only decision factor.

MYTH # 6: I don’t have to write a cover letter to employers. A resume is good enough. 

REALITY: Be prepared to write SEVERAL kinds of marketing documents to set you apart from your competitors. The list includes:

 networking letter
For example, the opening of your letter may
start with, “Doug Jones from XYZ department told me about your upcoming
job opportunity in ….”
 value proposition letter (alternative to a cover letter)
This is a 300 world letter which communicates the value of your “Increased retention rate by 16% after focusing on training, team building and recognition programmes.” 

 marketing letter (to “create” a job opportunity and penetrate the hidden job market) “After researching your company’s products and services, I noticed that your market is transitioning to global positioning. My cross-training in working with multicultural populations….”

 follow up letter

“I am following up after my panel interview on March 15….”). 

And be sure to mention the TIME you interviewed. I have served on many interview panels, including Canadian Forces Base Kingston, where we used to interview about to six people in one day! 

 thank you letter

I wish to thank (names of each interviewer) for offering my an interview for your Senior Management Consultant position on March 15 at
10:00 a.m. I did not have the opportunity to share that (mention new information about how you are a fit for the employer)….”

Debunk these myths and move forward in your job search.

Need a career strategy with a credentialed coach? Please email me at to get started TODAY!

Melissa C. Martin

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