When you start searching for jobs, you need to know what the boundaries are for jobs that will meet your requirements. This way you are efficient and targeted in your approach to finding the right role. If you do not do this, you may waste a lot of time that could instead be focused on the right opportunities. For example, what motivates you to wake up every morning and do great work? If your motivations are too broad, dig deeper to identify your most important ones. If your purpose is overly narrow, consider reflecting to see if that motivation can apply in another way. In general, there are 3 key things you need to have done before you even reach the potential interview stage. They are as follows:
- Look Internally:
Self-reflection requires being 100% honest with yourself. To help you with this, ask yourself these questions:
- What am I good at?
- What do I like, and do not I like?
- What motivates me to do my best work?
- Where is my desired location?
- What is my desired salary?
- How many hours a week am I willing to work?
- Am willing to travel, and how much?
Answering all of these questions will help you identify your strengths, interests, and motivations. From there, you can apply these methodologies to help crystalize your responses to those questions:
- Use online skills assessment tools
- Take stock of your personal finances by using a personal budget worksheet
- Talk with your family and LISTEN. Make sure you understand and value their needs and desires, too
- Speak with mentors and coaches
- Update your resume
- Update your LinkedIn or other applicable social media
After you do this, you will have developed a framework that will help you identify roles that are right for both you and your family, if applicable. You should now have boundaries set that will enable you to quickly decide which roles will meet your needs or not. Now, you are ready to begin the job search.
- Look Externally:
Looking externally means being efficient; learn about companies and determine if they are a good fit BEFORE you apply. You can learn a lot from talking to current employees and hearing about their experiences.
Here are some tips when doing your job search:
- Research companies in your target industries, that are in the geographic region you would like to reside, or that provide remote work options that support work from anywhere you would like to live.
- Evaluate these companies and learn as much as possible about their culture and values.
- Catalog your non-military contacts (local, community, school). Take note of where they are working, ask to speak with each of them about their company, if you like the company ask if they can refer you to a specific role or hiring manager, if appropriate.
A few methodologies for doing these are:
- Informational Interviews – Reach out to people in positions at companies you are interested in to ask about their experiences at the company, in the role, and in your desired career field. Connect with people at the level you are trying to get hired, up through the level of manager/director (Hiring managers). If you build rapport, you can ask these contacts to connect you with applicable hiring managers (they may be willing to do it without you asking).
- Network (In-Person and Virtually)
- LinkedIn – Message employees (Don’t ask for a job but ask them about their job so you can learn)
- Mentors/Contacts through MVPvets
- Mentors through other veteran orgs such as MedTech Color, FourBlock, The Honor Foundation, The Marine Raider Foundation, etc.
- Online search – Company websites, Glassdoor, press releases, financial statements, etc.
At the end of this, you should have confirmed the top 5 companies where you would like to work. You should also have met and spoken with employees and hiring managers at those companies who are in the roles you are targeting BEFORE you applied.
- Apply and Follow up:
Submit your application to the companies you are interested in using their internal system or website. After you submit, notify your contacts at the company you applied to so that they can track your application or weigh in on your behalf.
Try to submit applications to all 5 companies at the same time. You need to do this in parallel and not in series. Don’t end up in a position where you turn down a job with the hopes of getting another one at a better company. You want to be able to evaluate multiple offers at the same time and select the best one without having to turn down an offer for another company that hasn’t made you an offer.
It’s ok to apply to roles that aren’t listed online. Make a good impression with the hiring manager and they will be sure to remember you the next time a role opens. Keep your contacts and networks warm during this process. It is possible that you will be hired into one of the roles you applied to. It is also possible an iteration or two of this process is required to land your dream job. Your network will align you to what your target companies are thinking and alert you to new possibilities – keep your network warm.
MVPvets is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting life science companies with talented veterans ready to serve a purpose, with a broad bandwidth of skills, and an extraordinary focus on achieving goals. MVPvets’ network has grown to nearly 100 life science and medical device companies, hundreds of mentors, and thousands of veterans.
If you’re a transitioning service member or military veteran interested in being matched with a mentor, apply today and we’ll get back to you shortly.
If you’re in the biotechnology, medical technology, or life sciences industries and would like to give back to our veteran community by becoming a mentor, apply today.