As a veteran, you’ve developed exceptional skills that can be applied to any workplace. Everything you’ve learned during your time in service—from cultivating leadership skills and strong work ethic to building resilience and clear communication skills—can make you an asset in your next career. But stigmas against veterans can lead to challenges in your job search, no matter how robust your capabilities may be.

You’re not alone if you’re struggling to land your ideal role. While the U.S. veteran unemployment rate has dropped to 2.8%, many former military members continue to be pushed toward low-skill jobs—often due to traditional career path expectations and licensing requirements for positions they’re otherwise suited for.

Starting the career you want begins with finding the veteran job support you need. When you work with a staffing agency, you can gain the help of recruiters who will advocate for your skills with business leaders and connect you with roles that align with your goals. Here are three ways to maximize the benefits of working with a staffing firm and achieve new heights in your professional future.

1. Choose a Specialized Veteran Staffing Agency

Any staffing agency can connect you with open positions, but those that specialize in helping veterans find jobs can increase your chances of getting an offer. ATR International, which runs a dedicated veteran employment program, is well-versed at evaluating the skills and experiences of service members and translating them into civilian terms. This support can help you refine your resume and interview responses with language that speaks directly to the demands of the position.

Veteran staffing firms also understand the unique challenges you may face as you acclimate to civilian life. Whether your biggest barrier to employment is a career gap, mental health struggles, or another concern, our recruiters can offer support and coaching to get you back on track.

2. Be Clear About Your Goals

Many former service members seek brand new career paths once their time in the military ends. When you’re job searching as a veteran, it’s important to be upfront with your recruiter about your professional goals and interests—even if you don’t have any job training related to your ideal path.

Firms like ATR offer career counseling for ex-military personnel on top of veteran employment services. No matter how ambitious your goals are, your recruiter can help you identify the best next steps to get you where you want to be. Of course, you can also let your staffing firm know if you don’t have any specific goals in mind. Career counseling can help you envision your ideal professional future.

When working with a staffing firm, it’s also important to chat with your recruiter about your job preferences—for example, your ideal salary, management style, and work location. Your recruiter will set expectations around what’s realistic, but they need to understand your vision to provide optimal veteran job support.

3. Consider Nontraditional Paths

Some of the best jobs for veterans may not be traditional, full-time careers—at least not right off the bat. Your staffing firm, eager to help you get your foot in the door, might connect you with contract jobs and temp-to-hire opportunities. Though you might not have considered these employment arrangements, contracting gives organizations the chance to “try before they buy,” allowing you to showcase your skills and earn a full-time position if there are roles available.

Even if these types of jobs don’t result in a permanent home for your career, they can help you reach your professional goals—even if it’s just by giving you hands-on experience with an essential tool or marketable projects for your portfolio.

Just as employers must remain open to military backgrounds in place of college degrees and white-collar work experience, you benefit from staying open to nontraditional positions. There’s no harm in having a conversation—you’re under no obligation to take any job offer, and you may be surprised!

Pursue Your Civilian Career

Getting a job can feel like an immense challenge, especially if you’re newly adjusting to civilian life or making a significant career change. However, staffing firms—particularly those with established veteran employment assistance programs—can help you solidify, pursue, and achieve your professional goals. Experienced recruiters, like our team members at ATR, provide extensive veteran job support, from resume refinement to career counseling. All you need to do is be honest and open to diverse opportunities.

Get the veteran job support you need. Learn how ATR’s Military Commitment can help you take the next step in your career.

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