WE. ARE. BACK. It’s been awhile, took a short break with things getting busy at work. Yes, you likely will have more free time as a civi than you did in a deployable unit on active duty; however, you still get busy sometimes.
Anyway – time to bring some actionable advice. Next up, interviews.
Now that we’ve got the resume squared away (see all the resume posts if you haven’t already), it’s time to get prepped for your interviews. While there are a lot of similarities between job interviews and boards in the military, it’s definitely a unique experience and something that requires preparation. As a result, we’ve broken down the process into 9 key aspects to help prep yourself. We’ll have a post for each section where we break it down to the nitty gritty, but for now, we’re going to do an overview so you know what to expect.
- Be Positive
- Tell Me About Yourself (TMAY)
- Success/Failure Stories
Attitude: Perhaps more important than anything else we cover, you need to have the right attitude going into the interview. Attitude was hugely important on active duty, and it’s equally important when your having a conversation with a potential future employer.
Dress: NO, you cannot wear your uniform. Even if the job fair says it’s okay. It’s NOT. This section may seem unnecessary, but we’ll cover in detail how to make sure you’re dressing for success without breaking the bank.
Be Positive: You will be asked why you are leaving active duty. This is not an invitation to start talking about all the things you hate about the military. In this section we’ll cover how to give a positive spin and show the employer what you’re looking towards next.
Tell Me About Yourself: Every interview will start off with some sort of “tell me about yourself.” How do you answer this question? How long should your response be? We’ll cover that here.
Success/Failure Stories: Nearly every question you are asked in an interview is an opportunity to demonstrate a past success story (or failure story). You need to have several of these memorized so you can whip out the most appropriate one to respond to the question. How do you have these stories properly developed? We’ll talk about that in this section.
Location: One of the huge mistakes veterans can make is being too open or too focused on location when getting out. We’ll talk about the balancing act of location versus career and how to make sure you’re being realistic while ensuring you end up somewhere you’re happy.
Compensation: There’s A LOT of money to be made in the private sector. Military pay is a little funky with BAS, BAH, Tricare, and other perks. What might seem like a pay raise getting out might be actually a pay decrease when you consider all your benefits. Getting a grasp on this before getting out can be difficult so we’ll break this down to give some perspective on what to expect and how to know what you’re worth during the interview/negotiation process.
Questions: In nearly every interview, you will be asked if you have any questions for the employer. Having questions is a great way to show you’re interested, especially beyond the surface level. In this section we’ll talk about how to have the right kinds of questions prepared to show your interest while also learning more about the company.
Closing: In sales, closing is super important. The same is true in an interview – you are trying to sell yourself so you have to close at the end of the interview. It can feel a little awkward, but fortunately as a veteran you’ve got a fair amount of confidence in you and you can display that at this point during the interview. We’ll talk through some scripts about how to make it clear you’re interested in and/or want the job.
This is A LOT to cover, but it’s all critical information for making sure you crush each and every interview you get.
Sure, you might have the confidence to go into an interview and wow every person in there. But, as a veteran, you also know preparation is key. For each deployment or mission, we spend TONS more time preparing than we do executing. Don’t get cocky because this process is much more of a science than an art. Fortunately though, we are going to work through it step by step. Stay tuned for each topic as we break them down one by one!
If you have read this far and haven’t written your resume, get to it! We’ve got tons of posts on how to write it, but check out the format page first to get you started.
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