COVID-19 accelerated the shift towards virtual recruiting, and job-seekers who take advantage of the change have an inside track. We spoke to recruiters and hiring professionals during the Veterans Florida Virtual Expo’s panel on The New Job Search, and here are the main takeaways on standing out and finding a career in this new era.
Be Precise and Surgical
Anyone can go to a job board and apply for dozens of jobs with just a few clicks. Instead, take the time to do your research and focus on a few employers.
“Target companies that you really want to work for. You must network and get to to know at least 5-10 people in that organization that you’re having regular conversations with weekly on social media,” says Bobby Turner, Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion Military Recruiting at Bank of America.
A precise resume is just as important as networking when it comes to getting your foot in the door. Your resume needs the right keywords to get past the automation that many companies use to sift through applicants. “Use some of those descriptor words and incorporate those into your resume. It makes it a lot easier when you’re doing that precision,” said Anthony Bencomo, Senior Talent Acquisition Analyst at Lockheed Martin.
This is especially important in describing your military experience. Avoid acronyms and military-specific terms. It’s also ok to use different resumes depending on the job you’re applying for.
Pick a Social Network and Own It
LinkedIn is generally the best platform for professional networking, and service members and veterans get one free year of LinkedIn Premium Career. That allows you to message recruiters, get insights into who’s viewing your profile, and access to an extensive library of online learning.
Find groups related to your industry or area and use them to build your network, ask questions, and learn about opportunities like networking events or even open jobs.
Just as importantly, remember to treat your LinkedIn profile differently from others.
“Your online presence is your business card. I keep Facebook separate from LinkedIn and Twitter. One’s for friends and one’s for professionals,” said John Kinloch, Employment Supervisor for the City of Orlando.
Take Advantage of Resources and Identify as a Veteran
At Veterans Florida we offer one-on-one career assistance to veterans and their families. We help you craft a resume, prep for interviews, and will work to place you in a career with veteran-friendly employers that we work with. Register here to get started and our team will reach out to you.
Don’t be afraid to say that you’re a veteran. Many employers have recruiters who are veterans themselves and specialize in recruiting veterans for your skills and work ethic.
Nail Your Online Interview
Once you’ve got an interview, it’s all about preparation. Use networks like LinkedIn to research the interviewers and find common interests or backgrounds. A successful interview should feel like a conversation. Remember that there’s a good chance the person recruiting you is also a veteran. “Be memorable, measurable, and meaningful,” says Bobby Turner, Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion Military Recruiting at Bank of America. “If you can hit on those three things during an interview, you will be fine.”
Write down and rehearse the answers to questions you expect to come up, and be ready to provide metrics that prove your abilities.
Finally, make sure you’re in a quiet and distraction-free place for a virtual interview. Check your lighting, test your internet connection, and dress appropriately as if you’re interviewing in-person.
Watch the full New Job Search panel from the Virtual Expo here for more insights and advice from our panel of experts.