5 Resourceful Steps that Lead to a Successful Post-Military Career
Transitioning from active-duty military service to a civilian job can create unique hurdles of its own. From knowing where to look for employment to showcasing skills in an interview and landing the job, there can be uncertainty on how to proceed in an ever-evolving workforce.
It is important to find an enjoyable job as well as an employer who shows their gratitude for service men and women and wants to see them succeed. There are several steps to take when integrating back into the civilian world.
Here are just 5 easy resources to consider and navigate throughout the process.
Utilize the Transition Assistance Program (TAP)
This program is available for all military personnel during their transition period and begins several months prior to the actual departure from the military. Conversations with resource members take place to help guide service men and women through the process of understanding what options are available. There are a plethora of benefits to be utilized and the proper knowledge on these will help when deciding on a career and possible school options. There are also career track courses available through TAP, which will aid in determining the right fit for each individual.
Learn Your Skills Through a Career Assessment
There are a variety of self-evaluation tools available with a list of questions that will be a beneficial guide in narrowing down possible career paths based on one’s skill set. Most of these resources are free and can be taken in a few minutes. CareerScope is one tool that is offered through Veteran Affairs. Knowing this information ahead of time will make the process of deciding on a school and program of study easier and more cost effective because benefits won’t be wasted on tuition in a field that doesn’t serve the right set of skills for you. Once career options are narrowed down, make a list of transferable skills from the military. What areas did you excel in? What areas did you notice as weaknesses? Understanding your soft skills will serve you well in an interview later on, too. Some examples of soft skills include communication, emotional intelligence, creativity, adaptability, personality, and work ethic. How did any of these prove beneficial in the military and how can you transfer these notable qualities into a civilian job?
Find the Right Educational Institute
Once the career focus is narrowed down, it’s time to find a school to continue your education. Depending on the circumstances and what best fits your lifestyle, there are different avenues to weight such as online or in-person classes. Many schools will have a section that lists what military benefits they accept and how to complete the process for getting tuition reimbursement. Oftentimes, you can fill out a request information form or call the institution to receive more direct feedback on your specific situation and what you are hoping to get out of your education.
Prepare for Interview Opportunities
While finishing your schooling, it is important to work ahead and search for possible jobs in your area of expertise and prepare for interviews. There are several job search websites such as Indeed, Ziprecruiter, and in-person job fairs you can take advantage of when looking for the right fit.
The Occupational Outlook Handbook is another resource that will provide you with what skills a job wants to see as well as the median pay scale for different career options. In addition, before hitting send on an application, this step also requires drafting a cover letter, which can be generic and then tailored to each specific company when you submit an application, a resume, and transitioning from military verbiage to civilian language.
Some of the communication methods used in the military are not well known or commonly used within the civilian day-to-day duties. For example, practice referring to time by 7pm rather than 19-hundred hours. When describing duties or skills you displayed in the military, remember to speak in layman terms rather than co-op language or code words.
Network and Consider Your Options
One of the best ways to learn about job openings in a specific career field and secure employment is through networking, which can be accomplished in multiple ways. Connect with friends and fellow veterans who may be further ahead in the process and can give you tips or introduce you to an employer.
You can also reach out to recruiters or head-hunters who can give you information on places looking for former military personnel. A lot of government agencies seek military service men and women, and this avenue provides several options for employment. Once you have job offers on the table, evaluate the pros and cons of each one. It’s important to remember salary and other benefits can be discussed and negotiated. Ultimately, it’s important to find a place where you enjoy working and can utilize your skill set.
Blackstone Career Institute proudly offers portable, accredited, career training programs that align with the unique needs of our military servicemen and women. By training for an in-demand career you will be prepared to transition into a job domestically and abroad. You can speak with a representative today who will answer any questions!
Written by Laura Conaway
Laura Conaway is a middle school teacher-librarian and author who writes for a variety of publications in the educational sector and mainstream narrative writing field. She graduated with a Library Science B.S.Ed. and a Professional Writing minor from Kutztown University and enjoys learning new knowledge and staying current on educational best practices. When she’s not writing, she enjoys adventuring outdoors, serving in the community, and playing her violin and guitar.