Life in the military is demanding and tough, but it becomes a familiar way of life for both officers and enlisted men and women. For that reason, it can be difficult for individuals to transition into a civilian life after leaving the service. Part of that challenge often relates to finding a job after spending years in a military uniform. Fortunately, there are several options available that will give any veteran some much-needed assistance finding the right position to jump-start a post-military career. Here are a few tips to keep in mind during this sometimes overwhelming process.
Identify Your Hurdles
Before getting started on any civilian job search, it's important to understand the potential pitfalls that could present themselves throughout the process. For starters, some employers might be wary of extending a job offer to someone who has not been in a similar work environment.
Despite the technical and interpersonal skills servicemembers gain while in the military, such discrimination is too often an unwelcome aspect of transitioning into civilian life. That is why G.I. Jobs recommends taking a few concrete steps toward addressing this roadblock before it becomes an issue in the first place.
That could come in the form of signing up to take classes or earn licenses that will prove beneficial when applying for a job in a chosen field. Furthermore, developing a great resume is also vital for a veteran hoping to start off on the right foot. In addition to including the years of service, don't forget to mention the many marketable skills gained during your time in service!
Pursue Your Opportunities
Although there will likely be a few minor setbacks along the way, this should not discourage vets hoping to score a great position outside of the military. In fact, many people find that transitioning into civilian life opens up a world of new possibilities.
Never hesitate to relish this opportunity by searching in areas and industries that might not be obvious choices. As it turns out, several companies go above and beyond to extend a helping hand to applicants with a military background. According to Military One Source, one tactic involves receiving a professional assessment. This can come from a military representative from the transition office or in the form of a civilian exam meant to reveal areas of aptitude that could send a job search in a new and unexpected direction.
Additionally, any veteran concerned about finding a post-military job should make the best use of all the contacts he or she has built during a career in uniform. A strong network of allies, including active military personnel, can provide the encouragement and motivation to keep pressing on toward the goal.
Follow Your Passions
In the end, the best path toward gainful civilian employment depends on a good fit between the employer and employee. That means any veteran who is looking for a job must make every effort to determine whether a particular industry will provide fulfillment.
Start off by really thinking about what types of work sound intriguing and begin looking for an open position related to that field. In some cases, this might mean keeping one foot in the military realm. As Today’s Military points out, continued service in the National Guard or as a Reservist might be an interesting alternative to leaving military life completely behind.
Of course, there is sure to be a point at which it is necessary to bite the bullet and settle down into some type of civilian life. Building on the interests explored while serving as an active duty servicemember can help make that transition as smooth as possible.
Many would-be employers are likely to appreciate the unique skill set presented by an applicant with a military background, so don't let a lack of direct experience become a deterrent from putting out feelers. Using your network can open up unexpected doors that lead to that exciting next chapter of life.
All told, transitioning from military life back into the civilian job market might not always be fun and there could be disappointments along the way. But don't let that get you down, because it is possible to shift from the service to civilian life without missing a beat.
There are resources within the military able to help make the process manageable. Likewise, there is no shortage of well-intentioned employers who love to hire veterans! So get out there with your polished resume and positive attitude and define your own future!