I recently published an interview guide for employers/recruiters/etc. to use when interviewing a veteran. Through the feedback received, I was asked a thoughtful question on the opposite end of this advice, as to what a veteran should do to bridge the subject of military experience into the interview, if it is not asked of them.
This question is so important because I have heard first-hand from veterans who felt they shouldn’t mention their military experience because they weren’t asked about it specifically. Being made to feel you should downplay your experience and knowledge in any situation is never ok. You should feel empowered and accomplished from your time serving our country and never second-guess showing pride in what you’ve done.
Focus on what you’re most proud of from your time serving our country. What did you accomplish? What are your top 5 skills obtained (job related, or otherwise) that will carry through to your civilian career? What were you best known for within your command? These foundations will help you to build your story, the story of who you are as a veteran and a future employee to the company you’re interviewing with.
When preparing for an interview, you’ll practice your elevator pitch, you’ll nail down your 2-minute introduction of who you are and be ready to go when asked. But do you know how to tell your veteran story? If you haven’t figured it out just yet – here are a few suggestions to get you going. Fill in the blanks with what comes to mind and craft the story of who you are and what you’ve accomplished.
When do you bring these point up if no one asks you first? Naturally, when you’re talking about your experience, break into your response by referencing high points throughout your service. Here are a few suggestions to get that conversation going:
- During my time in the military, I accomplished ________. I was proud of the way we _______.
- I am most proud of my ___________from my service. This taught me ____________________.
- Through my experience, ___________ I learned how to _________and ________and am better prepared for this role because of it.
- The military taught me ______________ and I want to keep growing that knowledge by learning how to impact change in your organization.
- My day to day job involved __________. But through my service, I perfected ______, ________, and __________. These skills have shaped me into the candidate your company is looking for.
- I was best known for my ___________ and ____________ while serving our country. These have defined my service and will set me up for success in the future.