Here Is What Employers Want

Companies are increasingly looking for technology-savvy job candidates.
Companies are increasingly looking for technology-savvy job candidates. (Staff Sgt. Collette Brooks/U.S. Army photo)

Unfortunately, job creation remains fairly slow these days. Those firms that are hiring are taking longer to make the offer as they look for the best possible candidate.

Let's face it, it is a buyers market, and in this case, the buyer can afford to be choosy. Combine this with the coming drawdown of the military, and the challenges of finding work become even higher and the market more saturated. Even highly qualified job seekers can get bypassed if they fail to mention a particular skill they have or if another candidate offers just a bit more.

Let's look at what employers want. First, they want someone who is already knowledgeable about what they are hiring for. To their way of thinking, it is far better to hire someone who is already trained than to have to train someone. This can put the transitioning vet at a disadvantage, unless they are going directly into the same type of work they did in the service.

Also considered basic requirements are a good work ethic, solid communication skills and problem-solving abilities. Transitioning vets possess these traits in spades. Good news there.

Increasingly, employers expect fluency in the latest software and tech tools. This can be a wild card for you (or against you), depending on what you were exposed to on active duty. You might have to get some training on your own to give yourself the edge.

Then, there are social media and various other technologies. Depending on what you are looking for, your familiarity with Facebook or your being a super user of the iPhone and its countless apps may win you extra points. Of course, you only get those points if you understand and can explain what you know. So you must find a way to get it into the conversation.

Traditional wisdom tells us to keep resumes to a page or two, but this forces you to make hard tradeoffs about what to include. A digital application gives you the opportunity to add a bit more. You don't want to write a novel but don't cheat yourself, either.

If there is space on the form, don't be afraid to use it to your benefit. This isn't a text message or tweet with limited characters. This is your chance to make yourself stand out from the crowd by customizing your replies to that company and that position.

You excel in the coveted skills of leadership and adaptability. But you don't get to tell that story if you don't differentiate yourself from another applicant who is already trained to do what you are applying for. All things being equal, the veteran has a lot to offer. But all things are not equal, so you must work to tilt the field to your advantage.

Wally Adamchik is a nationally respected expert on leadership and personal excellence. The former Marine is the president of FireStarter Speaking and Consulting and works across North America helping organizations improve their leadership abilities at all levels. Adamchik is the author of "No Yelling: The Nine Secrets of Marine Corps Leadership You Must Know to Win in Business."

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