There are a lot of people making their way from a life in the military to civilian life and that transition can often come with more surprising bumps in the road than you might think. Thankfully, no-one has to make the transition alone, since so many others have made it before you. Here are some of the tips they’ve shared over the years on how to make sure your first steps into professional civilian life go as well as possible.
Consider where your transferable skills might lead you
There are plenty of skills that you have learned during your time in the military that might seem like they are not much good for anything other than military life. However, that’s not likely to be all that true. For instance, if you’ve participated in giving any training courses, then you will have training preparation and delivery experience. If you’ve done financial admin work for the military, you can do the same for businesses. If you’ve worked in equipment repair and upkeep, then manufacturing and engineering jobs could make use of that. If you want to be able to stand out from the crowd, then focus on finding jobs that make use of the skills you’ve already built up through your service.
Make sure you get the right help landing in the civilian world
People making the move from military life to civilian life and then having an issue with job-hunting has been a known issue for some time, now. As such, there have been plenty of programs to help the transition to a civilian career created now. The most famous is the Transition Assistance Program, which offers employment and training information and advice, such as advice for which career to choose, how to do a job search, and how to prepare yourself to apply for positions as best as possible with resumes, cover letters, and help to prepare for interviews. It can help you develop the skills that help you get picked in the job market.
Don’t be afraid to show off military career stats
Most employers are going to be interesting in your career history, no matter where it was spent. A lot of might worry that because all of their experience is military-related that it doesn’t count, but that’s not the fact of the matter. Don’t be afraid to talk about which campaign and operations you were involved in and what you did there. You should also complete a record of accomplishments as part of your resume, and be ready with the hard numbers you can use to show off results you have achieved in your past career, whether it’s a certain amount of hours delivering training courses, how many subordinates you’ve looked over, or something else.
See what you can transfer for college credit
If you’re aiming to earn a degree that can go on to help you apply to more jobs, then you should look at the potential of whether any of your military training could, in fact, qualify you for some student credit. For instance, you could use your cyber security military training for college credit towards a degree that could get you started on a technology grant. The American Council on Education works with the Department of Defense, alongside some military-friendly schools to help you get a headstart in your course load. Whether this is applicable depends on the college you’re going to, amongst other things, so it might be worth looking at which colleges are known to take part in this scheme.
Never stop networking
One of the two best tips is to play up your strengths as a candidate who has served in the military, as the past points show. The other is to make sure that you connect with all the right people. There are plenty of recruiters who work specifically with ex-military personnel. However, you should network with everyone else you can, as well. Look to other veterans you might have worked with or talked with in the future. If you have an industry in mind, look into local networking events specific to people in that industry. Your connections won’t pay off immediately in most cases, but they can eventually lead to opportunities that don’t see you face as much competition as you might during applications.
Hopefully, the tips above help you turn your years of service into something that will continue to pay off for years in the future, as well. No job is a guarantee, but with the steps outlined here, you can at least give yourself the best chance possible of success.