Re-entering the civilian workforce, or perhaps entering it for the first time in your adult life, can prove to be a challenging task for Veterans. Our armed forces do a fantastic job of training civilians to be soldiers, airmen, sailors, Marines, and the like, but sometimes doesn’t put enough emphasis on preparing those men and women for the transition into civilian life. Here are a few brief strategies for making a successful transition into the workforce!
Prepare for your Transition
As your military career winds down, it’s important to keep in mind that these last few months are going to be crucial in terms of your post-active duty life. Take this time to formulate a plan or strategy on how you can attack your professional life back home. Each branch of the military provides invaluable programs and workshops that help to educate and ease service members into the workforce. Use this time to ask questions and explore opportunities presented to you. If you can, check-in with other Veterans who were able to excel in a different area and learn from their experiences. Make sure that you’re setting yourself up for success as best you can. Too much R&R upon returning home can quickly snowball into legitimate unemployment.
Get Your Paperwork in Order
Depending on what age you enlisted, there’s a good chance that you’ve never had to create a proper professional resume, as your Field Service Record held all of that relevant information up until this point. It’s going to seem a little tricky translating your military experience into this format, but there are a lot of great resources to help you with that! Things like leadership, teamwork, punctuality, and technical skills are something that any hiring manager will be looking for. Make sure you highlight that on your resume! Once you have your basic framework down, visit our Resume Resources page for a downloadable template and other great strategies.
Find a Career Path for You
During your time in the military, success is often defined with unrelenting teamwork and a rigid daily structure. During the entire transition into civilian life, simply finding something that fits with your strengths and interests can prove to be immensely difficult. In the military, there is a clearly defined path of progression, and life without that kind of structure often creates a bit of uneasiness among Veterans. Luckily, this issue is well documented and therefore dozens of agencies and organizations have created resources to help Veterans find an occupation that suits them. Here are a few to start:
Prepare for your Interview
Unlike when you’re on active duty, the job hunt and interview process is all about you. At first, it may seem a little uncomfortable to have to tout your individual skills and accomplishments to someone you’ve just met, especially in a professional setting. While you were on duty, the team and the greater good always came before any individual. But finding a new career path is largely a solo mission, where your only objective is landing that perfect job. During your interview, talk about how your teamwork and problem-solving skills helped you accomplish goals, and how you take pride in your work. Make sure you bring a couple of copies of your resume, Report of Separation, and your Verification of Military Experience and Training form, and you can refer back to those during the interview for guidance.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg—Visit our blog post on interviewing skills for more information!
Many Veterans believe that one of the biggest keys to a successful professional career is to create structure for yourself. While on enlisted and on duty, so much of a service member’s daily life is built around a strict structure that some Veterans struggle to get their footing back in civilian life. Use the resources above to find something that works for you and build your life alongside it!