As a veteran, you are part of a unique population. Unlike the average college student, veterans have more training and experience, obtained in the military. The challenge, however is translating this experience to civilian careers. It is important to take advantage of the career services offered through your University in order to expand your professional network.
Leave the Jargon on Base
The hiring staff at civilian companies may not understand military structure, acronyms, and processes. If your resume focuses on your military experience, make sure to translate your skills and accomplishments into civilian terms. If they do not understand your qualifications, you may be overlooked for the position.
Translating your military experience on a resume:
Transitioning from the military to civilian careers often presents the challenge of translating one’s experience and developing the business competencies necessary to succeed in a civilian environment.
As a member of the military, you’ve undoubtedly moved several of times during your career; therefore, you are able to easily adapt to new environments and situations. Adaptability is just one example of the many transferable skills acquired throughout a military career. Take time to identify your transferable skills and present them to hiring staff on your resume and during interviews.
Check out some of these skill translator websites to help get you started:
LinkedIn is great resources for veterans because it can help you connect with military officers outside of the classified online system you were used to having while in service. LinkedIn offers a 1-year free access to LinkedIn Premium Subscriptions to vets. There are numerous military and veterans groups on LinkedIn, like the Veteran Mentor Network, that you can use to ease your transition to civilian life.
- Job Hero - Veteran Career Guide: a list and explanation of multiple websites to provide guidance and support in the transition to civilian life
- Feds Hire Vets
- VA for Vets
- National Resource Directory
- American Job Center - Veterans
- USG's Veteran's Resources from our Center for Student Engagement & Financial Resources
Disclosing Your Disability
There are no laws requiring the disclosure of a disability. If your disability does not require accommodations, you can decide if you want to disclose or not. If you need to disclose your disability because you require accommodations, which make your disability apparent to others, you should be comfortable discussing your disability and informing your managers and co-workers about how your disability may affect your ability to perform your job. You do not need to give them the personal details of your disability. Try practicing what you will say beforehand so you feel more confident explaining what accommodations you might need. Also think phrase things to stress your ability, not your limitation. For example if you have a back injury, instead of saying “I cannot stand for more than an hour.” Say “I can stand for up to an hour.”
For more information about the nuances of disclosing your disability in the workplace, read “The Art of Disclosing Your Disability,” a free online pdf.
A reasonable accommodation is any change or adjustment to a job or the interview process that enables you to still perform all essential functions of the job or be fairly evaluated.
If you need reasonable accommodations, as allowed by the ADA, for an interview or on the job it is important that you are proactive and work with human resources and your manager to meet your needs. Use this as an opportunity to demonstrate your ability to problem solve and work as part of a team.
Inappropriate Interview Questions
Not all hiring staff are familiar with what is and is not legal to ask during an interview. As a result, you may come across illegal questions during your interview regarding your disability. For more information, review the ADA Enforcement Guidance document.
Remember to try not to get angry or frustrated if someone asks, often they weren’t aware of the legal implications or human curiosity got the best of them. Use this as an opportunity to show how you can remain composed under pressure or how you can handle difficult questions. If you choose not to go into specifics, the following response will suffice: “Under the ADA, I do not have to answer that question.” If you do choose to answer the question, focus on your strengths and be positive in your response.
A Guide for People with Disabilities Seeking Employment provides quick information on the Americans with Disabilities Act such as, if you are protected by the ADA, what qualifies as a ‘reasonable accommodation’ and how you can request on.
USG's Career & Internship Services Center staff want to ensure that all students in our campus community are able to engage in our wide range of activities. We ask that any student in need accommodations to attend and/or participate in a USG Career Services event, contact our team at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-738-6338. Student accommodations are at no cost to the student, but we ask for at least 10 days notice in order to make all necessary arrangements. Additional information regarding Disability Support Services provided at the USG campus may be found by linking to USG's Center for Academic Success.
- Lime Connect: this organization assists student with scholarships, professional development webinars along with information about internships and full-time job opportunities
- The American Association of People with Disabilities is the nation's largest disability rights organization. For more information on there summer internship program, click here.
- US Business Leadership Network (USBLN) is a national non-profit that helps business drive performance by leveraging disability inclusion in the workplace, supply chain, and marketplace.
- Federal Employment of People with Disabilities
- Emerging Leaders - competitive paid summer internship and leadership development opportunities for students with disabilities
Coming Out in the Job Search or Workplace
It is your decision to come out in both the job search and workplace. It can often be a difficult decision, and each individual needs to evaluate their specific circumstances to decide the best course of action. Some students list LGBTQ organizations on their resume as a way to “vet” un-supportive employers, others may only choose to come out after being hired, if at all.
No matter what approach you take, remember that employers ask questions during an interview about items listed on your resume. Anything you list on your resume is ‘fair game’ for an employer to ask about. Your level of disclosure in answering is up to you. However, it’s important to anticipate the types of questions you might be asked in an interview and practice your answers.
Finding LGBTQ Friendly Employers
Identifying LGBTQ friendly employers can be essential to quality of life and safety. Read the details of a company’s anti-discrimination policies (often found on their website), and look to see if any policies specifically note employees who identify as part of the LGBTQ community.
The Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index is the national benchmarking tool on corporate policies and practices pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees, and can help you find a LGBTQ friendly workplace.
The National Center for Transgender Equality provides a wealth of information concerning Transgender rights within the workplace. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provides federal protection against harassment, discrimination, and ensures access to safe restrooms and other facilities in companies with 15 or more employees. Several states and local municipalities have similar protections in place. For more information including information no how to lodge a complaint, please review their pamphlet.
- OutForWork.com - A nonprofit dedication to educating, preparing, and empowering LGBT college students and their allies for the workplace
- Out Professionals- Leading gay and lesbian professional networking site
- ProGayJobs.com - First e-Recruitment site dedicated to gays and lesbians to get jobs in gay-friendly companies. The website provides job postings from companies that promote diversity and provide safe and open environments for Gay and Lesbian workers.
- USG's Diversity Resources - Gender Identity and Expression
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects individuals against employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, or religion. Despite this protection, minorities can still encounter unique challenges while job hunting.
Many organizations offer online resources to help minorities connect with employers, sharpen skills and find mentors. One place to begin a search is with minority-owned businesses. Diversity Information Resources and the Minority Business Development Agency list minority-and women-owned businesses around the country. Check on LinkedIn for groups specific to helping women or minorities in the workplace.
- Diversity Employers - largest database of equal opportunity employers committed to workplace diversity
- Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT)
- Career Women
- Explore your options for working in the United States on an F1 visa.
- Find out about worldwide employment trends through Going Global
- Many international students realize that the level of English that helped you score well on the TOEFL is not enough to get by comfortably in a college or work environment. Get tips on improving conversational English skills from U.S. News & World Report. Don’t forget to highlight your native language proficiency on your resume though! Speaking two languages is highly sought after in the workforce.
- InternationalStudent.com – The leading online resource for international students around the world. Information for international students studying or looking to study in the US, UK or Australia as well as a dedicated study abroad center for US students who want to travel abroad. Everything from international student loans to calling cards are covered on this site.
- USG's Center for Student Engagement & Financial Resources: International Student Resources and Immigration Resources
Employment with DACA
Students currently authorized for employment under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) may apply to any internship or employment opportunity which does not require citizenship. In this case, the student’s DACA Employment Authorization Card meets all I-9 requirements and enables students to work at many employment opportunities that were previously unavailable.
For assistance with participating in experiential learning, internship, part-time, or full-time employment opportunities under DACA, please contact USG’s Career & Internship Services Center and meet with a Career Coach. Our coaches can aid students in career planning, resume and interview preparation, internship and job searching, and guidance regarding employment rights and disclosure under DACA.
Gaining Experience as an Undocumented Student
Students seeking career exploration, experiential learning, internship or other employment opportunities without a DACA Employment Authorization may pursue the following:
- Volunteer Opportunities
- Career Immersion Activities
- Job Shadowing
- Research Opportunities
- Unpaid Internships
- Internships Eligible for USG’s Internship Scholarship Program
If you are interested in continuing your education beyond the bachelor’s degree, graduate school may be your next step. Contact USG’s Career & Internship Services Center and schedule an appointment with a Career Coach for assistance with identifying and applying to graduate programs which fit your career path.
- Employment Rights with DACA
- DACA Resource Center
- Life After College: A Guide For Undocumented Students
- UndocuGrads National Network
- My Undocumented Life
- Employment for Undocumented Students
- See other resources for International, DACA, and undocumented students from USG's Center for Student Engagement & Financial Resources
USG’s Career & Internship Services Center offers a variety of on site and virtual resources to help all students at USG with career planning, career readiness, career experience, and employment. We provide Career Coaching in a collaborative and confidential space in which students can explore their values, interests, and skills to determine their career path. Our coaches also provide guidance on the employment application process, Internship Scholarships, and graduate school exploration. Schedule an appointment on USG Career Connector or contact us at email@example.com or 301-738-6338.