Finding success after military service can be quite the challenge. Many who transition back to civilian life feel unprepared or lost, especially when it comes to landing a new job. If you’re struggling to settle into the world beyond the military after your retirement or separation, you should know that you’re not alone. There are numerous resources available to help shed light on what to do and how best to go about it.
Below, we’ll go over a few pointers on making the transition into civilian life.
Capitalize on the Skills You’ve Gained
Serving in the military — no matter the branch — imparts certain skills that come in handy on the job. As you determine the next steps and begin your job search, consider how these skills can translate into what you want to do now. Such skills could include precise communication, self-discipline, resourcefulness, time management, and so on.
You should reflect on the roles you fulfilled and how they might be applied to other positions. For instance, if you were in charge of an operation or department at some level, you could draw a parallel between the experience and that needed to fill a management or leadership role.
When it comes time to apply and interview, play up your natural strengths as well as the skills you’ve attained throughout your military career. That way, you can effectively demonstrate why you’re the right person for the job.
Utilize Applicable Programs and Training Opportunities
Job seekers can also benefit from workshops and similar events designed for those who are ex-military. A great example is the Transition Assistance Program (TAP). Offering advice on career exploration, interview preparation, and resume building, the workshops put on by TAP and other programs can be very constructive for armed forces members on the hunt for employment and all types of training information.
Connect With the Right People
There are other resources you can reach out to who understand the struggles of military-to-civilian transition. Specialized recruiters and military-focused headhunting outfits could steer you in the right direction and get you in touch with military-friendly employers. They may even be able to help you pinpoint the best career path to fit your experience and unique traits.
You can also speak with other veterans. Joining a support group of men and women who understand the process can lead to many positive outcomes. You could learn from their experiences, be introduced to valuable contacts, or simply connect with others who can relate to your struggles. Being part of and networking with such a group can also provide support beyond finding a job and into other aspects of settling into life outside of the military.
Quick Tips on Setting Yourself Up for Success in Civilian Life
- Adopt a more relaxed body language and speech.
- Although relaxing the manners and etiquettes you’ve learned from service can take time, it can be helpful in fitting in and obtaining a job.
- Address professional contacts correctly.
- There’s no need to use sir or ma’am during the hiring process. Instead, you can usually address people by first name.
- Adjust to using civilian time.
- Doing so could prevent miscommunication when scheduling interviews and meetings.
- Avoid military jargon.
- Consider using alternatives to terms and phrases you picked up, such as AWOL, boot, or black swan.
- Take advantage of social media.
- Another great way to get out there is to create or update your profiles on LinkedIn and similar job sites. Remember to use a professional headshot and email address to spruce up your online appearance.
These are just a few words of advice to help get you started. If you would like to learn more, please see the accompanying resource from Veteran Car Donations for further information.
Author bio: Veteran Car Donations is a national organization that accepts vehicle donations to better the lives of veterans. The organization partners with a number of well-known veteran charities to help provide essential medical care, mental health services and more.