Yes, the tech industry has had its ups and downs (and this author has lived through a few of them), but technology companies aren’t about to vanish, which means that veterans looking for job opportunities would be wise to check out this industry. But what do veterans need to do to put themselves in the best position to get tech jobs? Here’s five tips to help expedite the process:
1. Use your support organizations
You know about ‘em — now it’s time to use ‘em. Whether it’s Swords to Plowshares, the American Legion, IAVA, and many more. These groups can provide support and employment resources, connecting you with employers, job fairs and career development classes. For a full list of veteran organizations to get you started, visit the Military.com Military and Veteran Associations page.
2. Find tech companies looking for vets
They’re out there, and they’re starting to make their presence known — with improved employer tax benefits for hiring veterans, as well as heightened awareness about the skills veterans bring to the table, companies like Tesla are actively seeking veteran employees. One of the biggest initiatives has been the 100,000 Jobs Mission, a joint effort that includes heavyweights like Cisco, AT&T, Verizon and EMC, and pledges to hire 100,000 veterans and military by the end of 2020.
For more veteran-friendly companies, visit the Military.com Job Search board.
3. Translate your skills and experiences
Don’t be quick to write yourself off, even if you think your military experiences have nothing in common with tech jobs. Chances are you’ve gained skills in computer security, security risk management, electronic troubleshooting, networking and program management that make you valuable in the tech industry, even if these skills weren’t necessarily part of your core mission.
How do you make sure you’re presenting your skills in the best light? Take a two-pronged approach: marketing yourself well with these personal branding tips, and translate your military skills into their civilian equivalents with the Military.com Skills Translator.
4. Tap into social networks
Do tech companies make use of social networks? You bet. Networking websites can be a good route to find jobs through your existing friend network, or find new opportunities via business contacts and connections. For example, LinkedIn has a page for veterans to learn more tips for finding satisfying employment and get started on a strategic job search. You can also use the Veteran Career Network to contact veterans who are in fields you’re interested in finding employment in.
5. The entrepreneur route
It’s not for everyone, but if you’ve got the skills and the desire, running your own business has its benefits. For example, you have support resources available through both the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Small Business Administration, which are working with the International Franchise Association on the Veterans Transition Franchise Initiative, offering 30 percent off on franchising fees for veterans. You might also find a niche with government contracting — after all, you’ve served under the Red, White and Blue during your military career, and there are opportunities to assist with tech contracts. For more basics on government contracting, see this article.