© 2020 Koch Industries, Inc. All rights reserved.
What We Do
So, you’ve kicked off your boots and you’re ready to join the civilian ranks. Now what? Use the following tips to get prepped for this new challenge.
Get updates from Koch delivered right to your inbox.
Before you apply for jobs, let us help you examine your passions, skills and goals to determine the right career fields for you to pursue.
This important step seems so obvious that you’ll be tempted to skip it, but consider this: if you don’t know who you are and what you want, how are you going to convince anyone to hire you? Get in touch with your interests, passions and goals so that you can better sell yourself to potential employers in your resume and interviews. Here are just a couple of the resources out there to aid in your self-evaluation:
It’s important to determine where your interests and passions intersect with the skills, knowledge, abilities and attributes you gained in the military. Here are just a few online tools to help guide you:
Results from a study at Syracuse University revealed that half of transitioning military veterans left their first job within one year, and nearly 75 percent within 18 months. Rather than jumping into the first job that comes your way, make it your goal to succeed in a private sector career that you will enjoy long term. Instead of asking yourself “what job could I do?” ask, “what career will I pursue?”
REMEMBER: Identify career fields that would satisfy your passions and interests, and that will allow you to showcase the skills, knowledge, abilities and attributes you previously identified.
Once you’ve found the career(s) you might be interested in, gain insight into specific career requirements, work environments, challenges, lifestyle changes, advancement opportunities, required certifications and more.
Think of this new potential career path not as a straight line, but as stepping-stones on the path to success. Set a career goal, envision how you’re going to achieve it, anticipate some of the challenges you may face and how these can help you grow.
See this plan in action in our military relations manager’s article, “Dance With the One Who Brung Ya.”
Once you’ve determined which career field(s) you’d like to pursue by thoroughly evaluating your interests, skills and qualifications, it’s time to search for available roles. The Koch careers website is a great place to start! Follow these simple steps to browse open positions and opt in for alerts.
*You will automatically receive an email announcing newly opened roles that match your profile and interests.
A solid resume could score you an interview for the job of your dreams, so make sure yours is well prepared using the following tips and tools.
A resume is your chance to highlight your strengths and accomplishments. Use the following examples and helpful tips to define your skills in terms a civilian recruiter will understand.
Weak: Hold a top secret security clearance.
Stronger: Integrity, trustworthiness and ability to manage information resulted in being given greater responsibilities, authority and access to highly sensitive data.
Weak: Prepared and disseminated daily activity reports to higher command.
Stronger: Enabled senior management to make timely decisions by increasing their awareness on the organization’s overall performance by collecting relevant information, then drafting succinct reports.
Weak: Commendation Medal awarded by Major General ______, Commander of ______.
Stronger: Commended by the CEO for enhancing operations and increasing the team’s efficiency while performing under pressure, and by meeting the needs of every customer through personal diligence.
Weak: Maintains accounting system associated with supply management.
Stronger: Enhanced management of critical supply chains by ensuring the continuous flow of essential information through successful operation and maintenance of an enterprise-wide information technology system.
Weak: Successfully planned current and future military training exercises for an organization in excess of 1,000 personnel.
Stronger: Expert in analyzing operations and individual performance to identify organizational and individual training needs. Developed multiple training plans and inspections, which improved and sustained the team’s effectiveness.
Weak: Named “Best Leader” in a Company of 150 personnel during a live fire training exercise resulting in the second highest score in a unit of more than 1,000 personnel.
Stronger: Critical thinking skills, risk management and safety program experience, and superb leadership led to being designated the top leader of 36 peers in the organization.
Weak: Supervises or performs duties involving request, receipt, storage, issue, accountability, and preservation of expendable supplies and equipment.
Stronger: Improved the efficiency of several supply chains servicing multiple customers by identifying their particular needs and establishing priorities of effort. (You could also be more specific by quantifying how many units or customers you served.)
Leader vs. Manager: You “lead” people but you “manage” processes. Use “lead” or “led” when pertaining to people, but use “manage” or “managed” when referring to processes or programs.
Want your resume to reach the recruiter? Customize it – for every role you apply for. Then, double-check that your details are relevant to the job description using this easy exercise.
Exceptions: Retain quality comments that can quantify the value you created in leadership, management, risk management or diversity.
Use the term translator and these helpful tips to define your skills in terms a civilian recruiter will understand.
Though this list is not all encompassing, it was gathered from the experiences of one military recruiter and verified by numerous other hiring managers and recruiters.
Swap military jargon with universally understood words using this easy tool.
You’ve matched your qualifications to the perfect civilian role. Now, it’s time to confront your next challenge – the online job application.
Every job listing has a unique job description. Consider it your “mission from higher headquarters,” because as with any mission, you must have a full understanding of what’s expected of you to apply for the right job, write your resume and get an interview.
PURPOSE OF A JOB DESCRIPTION
Job descriptions outline the main duties and responsibilities involved in a job. They are written by the company’s hiring manager with assistance from the recruiter and HR personnel, and the purpose is to:
Did you know that job descriptions can be used to your advantage on your resume and application? Learn how in the next section.
When you find a suitable job, it’s important to recognize why you are interested. Let’s break it down so you can leverage the information to your advantage.
When searching for a job, remember that military and civilian job titles are similar, but the requirements could be vastly different.
PRO TIP: Learn how to translate your military skills in the Write a Resume section of this guide.
Consider where the job is located and determine if you are willing to relocate there.
This is where you learn more about the company and its culture. Is this a place where you could see yourself?
Imagine yourself in this role and determine if it will be personally and professionally fulfilling.
This paragraph is sometimes titled, “A Day in the Life Typically Includes.” This is your list of specified tasks. Review them and analyze your ability to perform them – to standard. (Note that this is where you identify your specified, implied and essential tasks.)
PRO TIP: In your resume and during your interview, you must be able to show competency in the tasks outlined in this section. To learn how to incorporate this into your resume properly, review the Make it Relevant section in this guide.
BASIC & PREFERRED REQUIREMENTS
Basic requirements are non-negotiable – you must meet them all – but with preferred requirements, you can meet some or all and still compete for the job.
PRO TIP: Review the next section in this guide titled The Application to better appreciate the importance of these requirements when applying.
Do not push this button until you have taken the two-step test.
Do not push this button until you have taken the two-step test.
Applications are an important step in the official selection process, and your participation is absolutely required – no matter how badly a company desires your expertise.
YOUR OBJECTIVE: To officially announce your desire for employment in a specific open role.
THE BUSINESS’ OBJECTIVE: To make a legally defensible listing of the applicant’s employment history, educational background, degrees, qualifications, references and more. Most companies use online applications to streamline and simplify this data collection process.
POTENTIAL PITFALLS: Last year, nearly 30 percent of military veteran job seekers were disqualified because they did not provide proper responses to pre-screening questions. Avoid this stumbling block by following these simple rules of thumb:
BEFORE YOU HIT “SUBMIT”:
You’ve conquered the job search, and you’re ready to face the front line. Proper preparation is the key to triumph in the final, most intimidating battle – the interview.
As a veteran interviewing for a civilian role, your skills could be misinterpreted based on your delivery and demeanor. The following are common perceptions and some tips to keep in mind:
Get a good night’s rest, review your battle plan, rehearse your actions on the objective, relax and follow these interview tips:
You nailed the interview, and you’re waiting impatiently, hoping to hear an offer. When that happens, the company will expect you to negotiate. So, let’s make sure you’re fully prepared for this critical step in your transition.
Defining your negotiation strategy should actually begin long before you receive an offer, during the self-evaluation and career research phases of your transition. Use this time to reflect on your needs, wants, and your worth so you’re prepared to receive, analyze and negotiate any offer that comes your way.
Evaluate the company and location.
Once you’ve secured an offer, ask for time to review and consider it. Salary is not the only thing to consider – review the entire deal.
Compensation packages may provide programs that will strengthen the financial offer and may also be negotiated, sometimes more easily than salary alone. They might include:
To reinforce the salary, companies may provide bonuses as an incentive for value creation and retention:
Two often-overlooked but critical items to consider with any offer are:
Companies develop their offers to be competitive in the market, to incentivize performance, and are based on their expectation of the new hire’s value creation. Keep all of this in mind, and: