Every service member, at some point in their career, must turn in their assigned weapon and hang up their uniform for the last time. Whether a first-term junior enlisted soldier or an aging force commander, all troops must take that fabled walk back into the civilian world. Although the task of finding a job outside of the service can seem daunting, veterans never turn away from a challenge. With proper planning and a few well-established tactics, veterans can secure meaningful jobs outside of Uncle Sam’s embrace.
Battlefield Training Translated
Every service member trains hard for their particular niche on the battlefield. Whether intelligence or infantry, every highly trained and skilled troop contributes to the overall victory. That valuable military training and experience in all disciplines equates to marketable professional jobs outside the military. The key to unlocking that marketability is connecting the dots between battlefield skills and civilian job skills.
Every transitioning service member receives training from the Department of Labor through the Transition Assistance Program. The Department of Labor already did the work of studying and identifying the exact skills service members learn from training and the battlefield that is needed in the civilian workforce. It falls on the individual to pay close attention to that training, not just check the block and select the correctly translated skills and training they possess and can take to the workplace.
Most importantly, don’t ignore your many GI Benefits, like free college for veterans. But get the facts as many schools are only interested in your money.
Long Lasting Network Of Friends Like None Other
The only thing more ubiquitous than bad chow in the military is the variety in personal interactions. Service members constantly shifting worldwide can create an unbelievable network of friends and colleagues. There is an essential distinction between veteran and standard business networks. Veteran networks share the bond grown from mutual suffering and accomplishing in some of the most challenging situations life can deliver. Veterans genuinely know the people in their networks, as others do not.
These veteran networks, whether official or connections through social media, provide former service members with endless opportunities to connect with employers. Maintaining and cultivating these relationships and conveying employment needs foster an environment that benefits all of the veterans involved.
Negative to Wilco and Roger
Military colloquialisms abound across all branches of service. Slang and jargon, while important in the military culture, detract from effective communication in a world that doesn’t understand them. While everyone in the 82nd Airborne Division knows what ‘Slip Away’ means, an interview candidate who uses such parlance may immediately turn off a potential employer.
Simple adjustments in speaking can pay huge dividends when searching for a job, but making that shift takes practice. Veterans just leaving the service are the most likely culprits of military speech infractions; thus, they need to work the hardest to remove words like ‘Roger’ from their vocabulary unless they are specifically talking to someone named Roger.
Veterans tempted to ‘curse like a sailor’ may not be fully welcomed in the office environment where character and integrity are prioritized.
Leave the Battlefield Behind
Questions about military service may arise naturally in the job search and interview process, but some experiences from war are better left unsaid. A detailed discussion of engagements with the enemy or lost friends can quickly sour an employer’s view of a potential employee. The stoic veteran seeking a job will more often than not benefit from the silent professional approach. Leave memories and stories for the appropriate time and place.
Today’s veterans possess many of the most sought-after skills and training required for employment in the civilian world. By translating that training, harnessing veteran networks, dropping the jargon, and leaving the war stories out of the office, veterans can propel themselves into the meaningful careers they have always wanted.
Veterans are more honored today than ever during the last few decades. Stand tall and proudly proclaim your veteran service. Major corporations are finally recognizing all the benefits of employing our military veterans.