Transitioning into civilian life from a military career can be difficult. While it’s often a goal of many former service members to start a new career after they exit the service, the truth is that doing so can be quite difficult. As such, you’ll want to try a few things to jump-start your post-military career.
Polish Your Resume
What many service members forget is that a great deal of what they did in the military really can translate to civilian life. It’s important, then, that you make sure that your future employers know the same thing. Don’t forget to put your military service on your resume and certainly make sure that you are clear about how the skills you gained while in the service can be used in a new civilian position. Look at your transferrable skills, which may include training others, saving money, administration, or machinery repairs. Practice switching from military to civilian jargon, including shifting from military to civilian time and not addressing professional contacts as Sir or Ma’am.
Look at the Resources
There are plenty of resources out there for veterans, but finding them can be tough. You can speak to your commanding officer to find out if there’s anything he or she knows about programs once you’re out and you can certainly check online to see what’s around in your area. You might be surprised by the sheer number of resources that are out there for those who are willing to do a little homework. One excellent resource is a transition assistance program workshop, which will give you employment and training information within 180 days of retirement or separation. The workshop will cover career exploration, research strategies, and resume and interview preparation.
Speaking of homework, going back to school is a very common way to jumpstart your career. Once you get your certification for veteran benefits, you can go back and get a degree in a field that interests you. If you can combine your new education with the skills you picked up while serving, you’ll be an incredibly attractive prospect to many different potential employers—and you might even have what it takes to start a business of your own.
Talk to Others
Finally, make sure that you talk to other veterans in your area. They may be some of your most valuable resources, especially when it comes to local programs. Not only can they help you to find a job, but many are more than willing to tell you about the strategies they used to reintegrate into civilian life. Never be afraid to talk to others when you get out—your fellow veterans can be an incredible lifeline. Look up employers that are friendly to ex-military employees. Some of these include Home Depot, P&G, General Electric, and Proctor and Gamble. Military.com has an excellent veteran-friendly job search that can help you find more.
It’s very possible to have a successful career once you get out of the military. Be sure to check out the resources that are available to you and don’t be afraid to talk to others who have gone through the same thing. If you’re willing to put in some work, you’ll set yourself up for future success.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan