This information, direct from corporate recruiters, should help you understand the civilian job search process better. Use it to make your transition job search faster and smarter.

Most corporate recruiters are handling between 25-100 open positions for multiple hiring managers at any one time. Even the great ones are not experts in all the jobs they recruit for.  Sadly, many hiring managers place hiring way below daily demands and fires, so requirements are not always clear and progress is not always fast.  Even the best hiring managers have emergencies to deal with that interfere with resume reviews, interviewing schedules, and making offers.

Here are the best recruiters’ ideas to help you succeed.


Make sure it clearly says what job you seek, in your summary or a headline, and shows your background as it relates to that job.

Do show your work progression starting by the middle of the first page. I want to see what you have done in specific jobs and I want to see your growth over time. Learn enough about the career you seek next so you can write in civilian terms I will understand. This helps me know if you will meet our needs.

Don’t start with negatives. Don’t give me an excuse to toss your resume in the reject pile. Negatives include: lack of contact information, vapid objectives, total years work experience, lists of generic skills, or longer periods of unemployment without showing what you have been doing to keep current.

‘Apply Online’ Rules

Many companies, and all government contractors, use applicant tracking systems (ATS). These help us with legal compliance and managing the large number of applicants we get.

Unfortunately for both you and us, the ease of applying for jobs means nearly 90% of all applicants do not meet the requirements. So be sure your resume clearly shows that you do meet the requirements.

I search our ATS using the keywords the hiring manager wants most. I will look at the top ten results and if that provides enough good candidates, I will not look at the other 100 or more that came up. You may be a great match but if you are not in that top 10, I will never see you. So learn the keywords in your field and use those the company uses!

Job Fairs

Be prepared. Look at the information provided about employers attending the job fair in advance and be ready to talk about the specific jobs we offer and your expertise.  When we meet, tell me what you are looking for specifically and give me a 30 second ‘elevator speech’ on your qualifications for that work.

Want to make me immediately discount you? Ask either of these questions when you meet me in our booth:

  • What does your company do?
  • What kind of jobs do you have open?

These tell us that you were too lazy to prepare. And we are not hiring lazy people. You may get another 20 seconds, while I am checking out the people behind you in line, but you are toast.

A job fair is an interview. Dress and act like the professional you seek to be. I may be in a corporate polo shirt or tee but that is marketing.


Our company loves employee referrals! So a major part of your job search should be to find people at every target company which interests you.  Then build that connection and enlist their support in getting your resume to the right people. This also gets you around the ‘black box’ of the Applicant Tracking System although we will still ask you to apply via it.

If you think you want to work for our company, start searching LinkedIn and your other contacts for people in your field who work here – and contact them. Tell them why, ask questions about the company and why they work there, and enlist their assistance in referring you.

Our Veteran hiring team is on LinkedIn, Twitter, and (often) Facebook. Contact us for more information and assistance. We also go to events where we hope to meet you. But we expect you to contact us once we meet, so we know you are interested.

There you are – great info from the folks tasked with finding great candidates. Use it to your advantage in building your job search plan and activities!