Searching for jobs is a slow process, especially when you want the exact right position. Instead of endlessly scrolling Indeed, hoping to find a unicorn, we’ve got 3 tips to help Veterans like you in their job search. If that’s what you need, keep reading.

Tip 1 – Build your resume and cover letter for civilian employers

One of the biggest roadblocks for Veterans is that they don’t craft a resume or cover letter designed for the job they want. Like most people, Veterans create a single, generalized resume and send it to multiple companies. Many don’t bother with a cover letter at all.

To increase your chances to get hired fast you’ll want to create custom resumes AND cover letters for each employer. You’ll also want to avoid common Veteran mistakes such as:

  • Using military slang and acronyms
  • Building a resume designed for federal employers
  • Being too vague with your experience
  • Not customizing the overview for each job
  • Not relating your experience directly to the job

Military resumes might work for some employers (especially when they have deep military roots) but most won’t get it.

So one of the best tips to help Veterans in their job search is to take your time on resumes and cover letters and to show very specifically what problems you can solve for the company when they hire you. In short, give the employer reasons to want to work with you

Tip 2 – Leverage social media to grow your network

Resumes are nice and every once in a while you’ll get a hit on Indeed, but there’s a better job platform and you need to know how to use it.

I’m talking about LinkedIn – a social media platform designed for networking. It’s like Facebook but for professionals, and it’s one of the easiest ways to expand your job outreach.

On LinkedIn, your profile is basically your resume in digital form. You’ll have a headline at the top, a brief overview of yourself, and then you’ll list your work experience, education, certificates, endorsements and anything else that makes you credible.

Here are some other important LinkedIn considerations:

  • It’s not Facebook so don’t treat it like casual fun
  • Use LinkedIn to research companies before you apply
  • You should add a smiling professional photo in your profile
  • Be sure to add any relevant experience and work history
  • Connect with decision-makers in companies you want to work for

That last piece is important. Once you connect with decision-makers, then you can publish useful, relevant content to your LinkedIn page that might be helpful for those people. Not only will they want to read more by you, it positions you as an expert at solving their specific problems.

As your network grows, and once you build a strong profile, you’ll find employers reach out to you when you’re fit for their jobs. That’s because LinkedIn appeals to head hunters (recruiters) because they make it so easy to find the best candidates.

By the way, did you know Veterans get a year of free access to LinkedIn Premium?

When you join LinkedIn Premium you unlock hundreds of courses, resume-building tips, and enhanced network and job search features that make it easier to connect with employers to get hired.

Tip 3 – Get certified in marketable skills that employers need right now

Our last tip is to earn in-demand certifications in your chosen field. It’s not always a deal-breaker if you don’t have a degree or decades of experience. One of the easiest ways to compensate for lack of history and education is to hold top certificates that prove you can do the job.

For instance, if you want to go into the I.T. field, but your military background is in Logistics and you barely graduated high school, then you could get certified in PMP, Cisco, Security+, or other top skills that will open doors for you.

Skill certifications give you a leg up on the competition. Plus, employers sometimes value certificates more than less practical and unrelated degree programs.

Also, to sweeten the deal, you can earn most certificates in just a few months and you can pay for them with military benefits like GI Bill. Depending on the program you use, you might even receive over $1,000 per month in housing allowance and other stipends while you train.

It’s the little things that help Veterans in their job search

There are a lot of ideas you can test to help you find jobs. The suggestions above give you the best chance to get discovered by employers in your field. These simple ideas will make you stand out and help others notice you because they prove you’re a problem-solver.

Finding the right position takes an investment from you. When you want a good, full-time job you need to take your search seriously. That means you’ll want to apply regularly. Attend networking events and job fairs. And if you know your current skill-set won’t get you the pay you want, then it’s time to upgrade your problem-solving power with the right training and certifications.

So stick with it. Show employers what problems you solve. And remember, the deeper the thorn in their foot, the more relief they’ll feel when it’s removed. When the pain is bad enough, employers will pay any amount to have someone take it away.

Be the person who specializes in thorn removal by solving BIG problems in industries like IT and cybersecurity and you’ll find a good job with the top pay in no time.