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Asked by michael on April 1, 2015

I am a recovered (IU/VA) USAF vet and have not worked in 4.5 years due to it. Is this what is holding employers from interviewing me? What should I do to get them to talk to me?

Answered by Cassandra, Hiring Expert at Verizon, on April 2, 2015

First, thank you for your military service and the sacrifices you've made for this country.
The question presented raises a number of questions for me since the reasons why an employer may not select you could be for various reasons not necessarily related to your status as and IU Vet. You should ensure that any of the roles you're applying to are a strong fit/match to your skills and experience. If you have an employment gap in your work history have a clear explanation of what you've been doing during that time to stay updated in your field of interest (e.g. volunteering, mentoring, taking classes, etc.) all of that information would be helpful for an employer to be aware of as they review your background against the opportunity they have available.
Another suggestion would be to utilize the employment tools, coaching, support and resources that are provided to you post active duty via the military as you conduct your search. The support you can receive as a Vet can help you through the search process. Additionally, I encourage you to check out companies with a dedicated commitment to hiring Veterans along with job boards focused on hiring veteran talent, as well. I encourage you to continue on and wish you well in your search.
 

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Answered by Monica, Hiring Expert at Emerson, on April 8, 2015

A lapse in employment often creates a highly visible gap of unexplained time off from the workforce in a resume or application.  And, if the hiring organization places a high value on job continuity or on recent experience working with a currently trending set of skills, an applicant with long-term lapses in employment history may face the extra challenge to present a resume or application that stands out from the rest. 
The resume or application will need to emphasize and outshine others in different set of skills or attributes of high interest to such organization.  The company’s website, online research, and professional networking circles – in person or online – would be great sources of information.  While networking, don’t forget to exchange information about yourself, and of your career accomplishments and goals.   
Also, let’s accept that you’re in a unique situation; you’re not a standard applicant with a standard resume life.  Take time to adapt to your job search with this outlook in mind – own it and be proud of what you’ve accomplished while off the workforce.  Definitely share this valuable information.  Include a cover letter to provide a brief note on such accomplishments and the new set of skills you’ve mastered through your journey; or you could place this information on your resume in list form.  Ultimately, the organization that will invite you for an interview is one seeking your skills and experience.  The real quest, though, is to land an interview at the organization that will value the set of skills, work experience, and personal attributes you’ve mastered on and off the workforce and where you’ll be to utilize such to succeed and prosper.   
With much gratitude and respect, thank you for your military service.

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Answered by Sara, Hiring Expert at American Express, on April 10, 2015

First and foremost, thank you for your service to our country and we are happy to hear you have navigated the difficult road to recovery.
Your gap in employment can present a concern for employers, but is not insurmountable. Assuming that you have already determined your focus area for employment (i.e. finance, marketing, analytics, etc.) and type of company, there are a few ways that you can improve your odds of winning an interview. 

There are many company's today with strong veterans networks that are a good connection point for individuals like yourself looking to transition back into the workforce. Do some research to figure out which companies have this in your area of interest and reach out to make connections. Vets already in the workforce can provide insights on the company and you can learn from their own journey. 
Get involved (if not already) in volunteering, mentoring, and community work. This can showcase your interests, leadership, and collaborative spirit.
 Reach out to recruiting firms that can help you finesse your resume and story. And in that vein, also look to engage with professional coaching or training companies.


Best of luck!    

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Answered by Megan, Hiring Expert at Archer Daniels Midland, on July 28, 2015


There are many companies, including mine, who support hiring veterans and even hold specific career fairs for veterans. I would target career fairs that are specific to hiring veterans so you can talk one-on-one. Make sure you really sell yourself in person and on your resume. I would suggest talking about some of the things you did during recovery that will show the employer that you have true dedication and will work hard to reach your goals.

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