The Interview Coach: Getting Back to Work

January 10, 2013 |


After retiring from the service I took a job as an IT Specialist. Because my wife was transferred, we had to move to a new location. I let go my job because they didn’t have anything in the area where we were moving too. I did take advantage of the situation by going back to school to get a BA degree in Computer Information Technology. Now that I completed my degree I’m ready to get back to work and continue my career.

I’ve been out of the job work force for 2 1/2 years now. How I convince an employer that I’m serious about working on continuing my career as an IT Specialist. I have gotten too 4-5 interviews but not selected. I know I’m a hard worker and serious about having a day to day job. I’m competing with college graduate and every other person searching for a job. How do I get my foot in the door?

Michael J


No one said life was going to be fair – but sometimes it seems very unfair.

The reason you left your job is to “continue your education.”  Do not talk about your wife’s job or relocating for her – it raises concerns about her future and whether it will affect your future employment. You did it before – you can do it again.

I can’t tell you specifically why you didn’t get an offer, but I can tell you that companies are looking for people to solve problems. Your job in an interview is to show them that you understand the problem and that you have what it takes to work with the problem. By reviewing the job description in depth before the interview you will have a better idea of what “they” are looking for.

Read through the posting or job description three times. once for content. Then, read it a second time for specific words that are emphasized.

There will be specific words used according to the job or industry that you are applying for. Make a list of these words to use as “key factors” needed. Now, return to the job posting and read it once more. This time read “between the lines.” What would it take to do this job? If for instance, there is a statement such as, “Position will require frequent collaboration and interaction on all levels of staff and management,” you can gather that “strong interpersonal” and “communication” skills” will be needed to do this job.

By making a list of “key requirements” you can match them against what you have to offer.

Good luck to you.

Carole Martin

Job interview expert Carole Martin has been a prime contributor to our Veteran Jobs blog, and offers her advice to veterans and service members who have questions, general or specific, about tackling the civilian job interview process. Send Carole your questions at, and moving forward, we’ll feature her answers in this blog.

About Ho Lin

Ho Lin is an editor at His interests include naval history, the New York football Giants, and loud rock music.