Leaving your position in the military is a life-changing decision. It means entering back into civilian life, something you might not have experienced — especially if you enrolled in the military out of high school or at a young age. Making the transition may be intimidating, but it isn’t something you can’t handle, especially with the help of fellow veterans and organizations.
Ninety-five percent of veterans seek employment after serving their time in the military. Learn more below about making a smooth transition from military life to civilian life, such as translating your skillset, building a resume, and interview tips.
Learn From Others
Countless veterans have transitioned to civilian life before you, and they can be some of your most valuable resources. Creating a support group of fellow veterans could be helpful when navigating the challenges of finding a job, attending interviews, and simply settling into civilian life.
Use Military Transition Resources
The military and other state and local government programs offer resources and assistance to veterans making the transition to civilian life. The Department of Veterans Affairs has the Transition Assistance Program to help veterans understand the benefits and services available to them.
Consider Your Available Education Options
Different careers require various degrees and training. You may decide to head back to school to pursue a degree before seeking a new career. One place to research degrees is College Scorecard, a website offering data from the Department of Education on median salaries students can expect from certain career paths.
Many military-friendly colleges around the country offer resources and support specifically designed for military-affiliated attendees. Military-friendly schools typically provide transfer credits, financial aid assistance, and flexible learning options for busy veterans with jobs and families.
Start Searching for a Job
One of the most intimidating parts of transitioning back into civilian life is applying for jobs and attending interviews. USAJOBS is a website showing available jobs in government careers that tend to be popular among veterans. Take your time when applying for and accepting a job, as it may be the start of a lifelong career. Choose a job that suits your aspirations.
Create the Perfect Resume
Your resume is how you present yourself to potential employers. Creating an excellent one can help you land your dream job.
Many websites can help you prepare the perfect resume, such as Military One Source, an official Defense Department site. Indeed also offers a resume template for former military members and other tips for finding an ideal job.
The following are several tips to keep in mind when creating your resume:
- Tailor your resume to the employer or job you’re pursuing.
- Translate military terms to civilian terms for easier understanding.
- Highlight your accomplishments.
- Don’t be too wordy. The best resumes are one page.
- Show any volunteer experience. It highlights your credibility and values.
- Don’t share unnecessary information, such as religious or political affiliations or salary information. You can negotiate a salary and benefits later.
- Read your resume multiple times to catch any typos or mistakes.
- Always send a cover letter with your resume, explaining why you’re interested in the position and what makes you the best fit.
Crush Your Interview
Job interviews can be anxiety-inducing, especially if you haven’t done one in years. There are many steps to mastering an interview and most of them require due diligence on your part.
- Spend time researching the company or organization where you want to work.
- Make sure you fully understand the job requirements and how your qualifications make you the perfect candidate.
- Know how your military experience makes you the right fit for the job.
- Know your answers to common interview questions such as “Why do you want this job?” or “Why should we hire you?”
- Create a list of questions you have about the job.
- Practice job interviews with a friend to get comfortable.
Remember to always show up to interviews early, dress appropriately, and be well-groomed. Be confident in your skills and be proud of your military service.
Conquering the Transition to Civilian Life
The transition from military to civilian life may not be easy, but you’ve accomplished much tougher tasks during your years in the service. Remember to use your available resources, communicate with fellow veterans, and seek a job that fits your career and life goals.
Find more tips on how to successfully transition from military life to civilian life in the accompanying resource.
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.