From side hustles to internships, there are many ways for veterans to steer their career into a new path and try it on for size. Here’s what you need to look for in fresh opportunities, how to land them and how to make the most of them as potential full-time roles.
Pursue a side hustle
By landing a gig and sticking with it for at least three months, you’ll be able to “recognize its potential for your future,” Tom Kastner, vice president of financial wellness at Wounded Warrior Project, told AARP Veteran Report.
After getting that side hustle, ask yourself if the role is meeting your expectations and if it’s a good fit. Focus on honing tactical skills and soft skills like communication and time management.
Request extra work and immerse yourself in the organization. “Network and treat the job with the mindset that you want to be part of the organization,” said Kastner. “Not only will you learn more about the company this way, but the right people will notice, and doors will begin to open for you.”
Arrange informational interviews
Ask new contacts for “informational interviews” — conversations of up to an hour to learn more about their company, impress them and sound out openings.
Brooks Scott, executive coach and CEO of Merging Path told AARP Veteran Report: “Avoid fact-finding like, ‘How many people are in the company?’ or boring questions like, ‘What is your favorite part of working for this company?’”
Instead, spark a real conversation that makes you memorable. “Questions like, ‘When interpersonal conflict arises, how would you rate your team in terms of the time it takes to identify a problem and address it with the person?” Scott suggested.
“And you can follow that question up with an explanation for why you asked it, which will also show your level of intellect.”
Shadow a networking contact
As a former corporate recruiter, I can attest that those candidates who shadowed professionals successfully turned this into gained experience — plus talking points on their résumés.