For veterans, finding success after the military is not always a simple task. Going from the military to a civilian career is a big transition. There are several things you should know when you come out of the military.
When you first went into the military, you probably had to field questions from family and friends. Both positive and negative things were likely said before you entered into basic training or boot camp. It’s not much different when you transition out as family, friends and others will have plenty of questions.
Transitioning out of the military and into civilian life can be difficult. It can get lonely and you might even find yourself missing the military. Here are some of the many ways you can make the transition easier.
Start with a TAP Workshop
The Transition Assistance Program or TAP workshop is a great choice when you want to transition out of the military. It will help you gain knowledge about employment and training within the first 180day of retirement or separation.
The workshop is a three-day event for all ex-military job seekers. It will cover career exploration, resume, cover letter, job search strategies and interview preparation.
Get Going By Using LinkedIn
As one of the top social media sites for employers and employees, signing up LinkedIn shouldn’t even be consider optional. You need to get your profile set up, get it up-to-date and have it ready for the job search. LinkedIn even offers a one-year premium job seeker account for veterans free of charge. Take advantage of this and use a professional headshot, include your resume and come up with a good headline.
Once you’re on LinkedIn, start looking for military connection with people you know from your time in the service and those already transitioning into a civilian career. You should also join the Veteran Mentor Network and work all other connections. You never know which connection will lead to the right job.
Seek Out Military-Friendly Employers
Some companies will not only consider hiring a veteran, but actually seek them out. There are companies that love to hire veterans because they know you’re disciplined, have a strong work ethic and will get the job done.
Use websites, such as MilitaryHire.com, VetJobs.com and HireVeterans.com to find the right employer for you. You can also look for government jobs through USAJobs.gov or the U.S. Department of Labor.
Market Your Quality Transferrable Skills
You have great skills that will transfer into the civilian world if you look at them in the right way. Just because you may have spent a large amount of time training others on a specific piece of equipment not used in the civilian world, doesn’t mean these skills don’t transfer. You have management and training skills, if this is what you did in the military.
Most service members have transferrable skills perfect for the civilian world, if they can align the right job with their skills. Maybe you helped the Air Forde save a large sum of money on travel accounts. If this is the case, you may be the perfect choice for a financial controller position.
Some skills are pretty easy to figure out how they might translate, such as an MP going into law enforcement or a mechanic working at an auto shop. However, others, you may have to think about a bit and try to relate those skills to the civilian world.
Let Military Jargon Go
You’re used to using military jargon, but it’s time to let it go, at least some of it. You need to fit in with corporate speak to ensure potential employers can understand you and see you as a good fit. In addition, make sure you switch back to using civilian time instead of military time.
You should also refrain from using Sir or Ma’am whenever you address professional contacts. Instead, you can probably use their first name, as that’s far more common in the business world.
Create a Hot Civilian Resume That Stands Out
The TAP workshop will really help with this skill, but it’s one you need to master. You don’t want to list your military career as a large series of numbers on your resume. Nobody will understand it. Instead, you need to use a military-to-civilian translator website to help break down your military jobs. Make this as easy for a civilian to understand as possible. If they cannot understand what you did, they won’t know how valuable you are and why they should hire you.
Create a Transition Account
Before you leave the military, take time to create a transition account. Don’t assume you will come right out of the military and receive a job offer within just a few weeks.
A transition account is similar to an emergency fund, but should be separate. This account should include three to six months of bills ready to help support you while you’re seeking employment. If you don’t have this account, it could put more pressure on you to find a job you don’t fit into or won’t like.
There are several great ways you can go about transitioning out of the military. Start early and make the transition easier by getting prepared before you actually leave the military. If you wait until you hit the 30-day countdown mark, you may find yourself behind when you do get out of the military.
Before you leave the military, sign up for VA benefits, figure out a career path, connect with a Vet Center and start doing research about where you might want to live. Take advantage of your college benefits. The key here is to keep moving forward and growing. Keep your family in the loop as they can help you throughout this process.