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Veteran Friendly Job Search

Why is there a need for a Veteran friendly job guide? Jobs are readily available at the moment with many companies promising hiring bonuses. Just a cursory search online yields hiring rates up to $2,000 with $2-$4 raises after 90 days.  However, often Veterans are looking for a career, and not just a ‘job’. If that is the case, the job search takes on a little more importance and a little more difficulty.

Veterans have a lot to offer employers, regardless of how long they were in the service. The part that can be hard is translating the experience of Military Service into terms that civilian human resource specialist can best understand. This can be made a little easier depending on the particular career being sought. There are many contracting corporations such as Lockheed Martin, Leidos, and Booz Allen Hamilton. They are more accustomed to working with former military, and may have positions which fit neatly with a Veteran’s former job in the Service. However, for others, the challenge is in telling prospective employers what they have to offer in a way that is understandable.

USAJobs is the clearing house for all Federal jobs. The website requires a prospective employee to create a profile. Jobs may be searched by location, or by keywords including the job title or the agency.

It is important to understand that a resume for a Federal job is quite different from a typical resume. A federal resume tends to be more involved and detailed, often running into multiple pages. If a Veteran is thinking of applying for a Federal job, the best advice is to search for some federal resume examples and look at them before creating their own resume for the job. The important thing is to tailor the resume for each specific job that they want to apply for.

Indeed is one of the better known job search websites on the Internet. It is easy to create a profile and upload a resume on the platform. Again, it is important to tailor the resume for the job. Even if a Veteran is applying for the same job title with different companies, it pays to do a little bit of research and tailor the resume AND the cover letter (you’re sending cover letters, right?) for each company. The cover letter allows a prospective employee the opportunity to include some more personal information that might not have a place in a formal resume, but should be included. For example, a cover letter would be a good place to explain a gap in employment while the Veteran was in a volunteer position.

Company Websites

Do not neglect major corporation websites. The three companies mentioned above all have career sections which list their open positions. They also have customized application processes through their websites. It is better, when dealing with larger contracting companies like them, to go straight to their process rather than attempt to find them through most third party sights like Indeed. That being said, there are some third party employment services which deal mostly with contractors.

When searching for contract jobs, it can be a wise idea to be organized. Veterans should ensure their resume is up to date and complete, as well as tailored for each specific position and company. Their cover letter should also be specific for each company.

Clearance Jobs is a specialized job search website which works with contactors and jobs requiring a clearance. The clearance can range from Secret to Top Secret. The nice thing about the website it that the jobs are vetted. While a website like Indeed may have some questionable listings mixed in with the normal listings, lists only jobs from known and trusted companies.

Finding Contract Companies

How does a Veteran find different contract companies to apply to? There are many different means. However, one of the easiest is to go to Wikipedia. A simple search for top contracting companies in America will bring up a list of the top 100 contracting companies by income, yielding a ready-made list of companies to search.


Finally, Veterans may have a difficult time translating their military service into civilian speak. We have seen many resumes with job descriptions ranging from arms room NCO to combat engineer, patriot missile operator, platoon sergeant, and squad leader. Veterans need to remember that even in many larger corporations or even contract companies, the human resource specialist viewing their resume may be a civilian who has no idea what anyone in the military does for a living.

Follow some basic guidelines.

  • Do not use acronyms
  • First Sergeant = Senior management / project leader / personnel supervisor
  • Squad leader = small group leader
  • Platoon Sergeant = section leader / team leader
  • Combat engineer = experienced in construction
  • MP = law enforcement experience
  • OER / NCOER = performance apprais
  • Mission = task, jo
  • Subordinates = employees, co-workers

Veterans shouldn’t worry about what their military title was. Concentrate on the function of the title. A Sergeant Major was a senior advisor. A Company Grade officer was an operations officer. While the Veteran is proud of the rank they obtained, and rightfully so, the rank will likely not mean near as much to human resources as knowing what the individual actually did at that rank.


Do not forget social media. LinkedIn hosts many job opportunities. However, the place where LinkedIn shines is in locating people who might be of assistance. Within a week of applying for a position, a Veteran can search the company on LinkedIn and often find a Hiring supervisor or Human Resource specialist. With that information and a Pro account on the website, the Veteran can send a message asking about the application and the position.

Finally, don’t give up. Before the pandemic, it was not uncommon to have 100+ resumes out in order to get an interview. Experts suggest that typically job seekers should send out up to 10 resumes and cover letters each week in order to secure an interview. Be sure to keep organized with possibly a spreadsheet of companies. Don’t be afraid to email or call Human Resources to ask about the application or the position if nothing is heard within a couple of weeks.

Best of luck if you are in a job search. Hopefully this information will be of use. And as always, if you have questions or comments drop them below or email us at

God Bless, NWAVet

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