As a military veteran you are a valuable employee in many sectors, and the most natural fit is within the Defense Contracting Sector. Follow these tips to help land a job with a contractor:
1. Detail Your Military Skills – Create a version of your resume that focuses more on your military-specific technical and operational skills. Defense companies that design, manufacture, integrate and maintain military systems, including hardware and software, are always on the lookout for veterans who possess system-specific or operational knowledge on a specific system. List any relevant certifications as well.
2. Network, Network, Network – If you live close to a military installation, there are likely several active DoD contractor professional organizations holding events and monthly luncheons in your area (i.e. – AUSA, AFCEA, AOC, SNA). These luncheons are a prime venue for networking and developing relationships with the defense contractor leadership that may be interested in hiring you. Wear a suit, a smile and be engaging! Come prepared to share 1-2 stories about your experiences, but also be prepared to ask a few questions about their organization and the defense contractor role.
3. Follow the Breadcrumb Trail – The government hiring system is a slow moving animal and DoD contractors are often used to augment new government hires in a myriad of disciplines (engineering, logistics, technical support). To get an idea of job categories that DoD contractors are looking to fill search the government hiring websites to gauge the needs of the government. Then, take that information to individual companies to see if they have openings in those areas. For starters try http://www.usajobs.gov, which aggregates all federal job openings into one full featured website.
4. Listen to the Big Boys – The defense contractor community is driven by the top grossing federal contractors, and often these companies are on the leading edge of fulfilling new requirements to support the DoD. Visit these companies’ websites to find job postings that interest you. The Washington Technology Top 100 list is a good starting point in determining which sites to check first.
Please send any questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org