On Friday, September 19th, I was invited to speak to job seekers taking part in the Fort Belvoir Job Hunter Resource Group (JHRG) at Army Community Services (ACS). During this weekly meeting, job hunters discuss career search strategies within the local area. They are also actively building a network which will prove invaluable, as many positions are filled through referrals.
During this meeting, we had great discussions which are relevant to all job seekers. A few of those discussions and my thoughts are listed below for future reference.
Q: How can I explain taking a position outside of my industry to a potential employer?
A: This is a common situation for many people, especially for military spouses. It is true that many employers look at job titles first to indicate if they are in line with industry standards and are relevant to your career path. When discussing your employment, be sure to lead the conversation by highlighting the relevant skills acquired from that position and tell the employer how that will benefit their organization.
Q: What if my previous supervisors are no longer at the company I worked for?
A: This is also a common occurrence so don’t let it get you down. Instead, list the information for the Human Resources office as it is highly likely that any job verifications will come from that office anyway.
Q: Is it reasonable for me to find gainful employment after 15 years of being out of the workforce?
A: Yes, absolutely. If you have volunteered during that timeframe, feel free to list that experience as your work experience. While you may not have received a paycheck, you did acquire skills that may have been the same skills acquired in a paid position.
Q: What is the best resume format to use?
A: This depends on your situation. Resume formats vary and the best format is one that accurately highlights your skills and achievements for the position you are seeking. One size does not fit all! Feel free to use non-traditional formats when necessary. Remember that employers are busy and may only have 30 seconds to look at your resume. In this case, you need to make sure that you capture their attention right away. Make them see that you can solve their problems through your resume!
These are just a few of the conversations that took place during the Fort Belvoir JHRG on Friday, September 19. Remember, if you are a military-affiliated job seeker, you don’t have to do it alone. Call or visit the Fort Belvoir Army Community Services (ACS) office to learn more about how you can become a part of an active and supportive community of job seekers within the Northern VA area.
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