My husband and I both recently came off military active-duty. He retired after 22 years of active-duty Navy service, and I joined the Reserves after almost 14 years of active-duty service. The first four years of my military career were spent in the US Army as an Administrative Specialist and Mail Clerk. The next ten years of my active-duty career were spent in the Air Force, serving as both a Paralegal and Public Affairs Specialist. Speaking from experience, it has been much easier for my husband to find a job. I eventually decided to start my own business after getting frustrated with the job search. If you are a female veteran looking for civilian employment, there are several things you can do to help with your job search.
One of the most important things you can do is network and get the word out that you are searching for employment. The military members that you served with have family members and spouses – these individuals may have civilian jobs at businesses that are hiring. Don’t be overly-enthusiastic or pushy, but just get the word out that you are searching for a job. I secured three job offers this way, without even going through the interview process. Don’t be afraid to network with others, and don’t be ashamed of the fact that you are unemployed or looking for employment.
Use your military benefits. Take the Transition Assistance Classes that are offered before you separate from the military. If you are already finished with your military service, there are still services available to you. Visit the troop support center at any military installation; advisors are there to help you create a resume, assist you with finding job openings, and give you valuable skills for upcoming job interviews. Your military benefits don’t end the day you separate from active-duty; use what is available to you.
The VA also has programs available to help veterans that are transitioning to civilian life and civilian employment. Contact your local VA facility to find out what job seekers’ services are available to you. These services can include help with a resume, interview skills, job leads and contacts, and listings of job openings. Some locations even have services that are specific to female veterans.
A civilian position with the federal government is a great way for female veterans to re-enter the workforce after military separation. USAJOBS.com is the portal to government employment; check this site often. Your local VA or military installation can assist you in the application process; many jobs have strict rules on the application and how it should be worded.
Utilize your local job fairs. Larger towns and cities offer women-only job fairs and veteran-only job fairs. Attend these events and take plenty of copies of your resume to hand out to every employer. Many people attend these functions, but I have been very lucky when I have attended. I have received two job offers and four interview opportunities, just by passing out my resume.
There are many ways to find gainful civilian employment. If your job prospects are slim, ramp up your efforts; there is a job out there with your name on it. Good luck!