By Christy Eichelberger
As a veteran, the tremendous experience you have gained in the military is valuable to virtually any employer. But now that you are out of the military, you have to navigate the struggle of transitioning back into civilian life, and this probably includes the task of finding a civilian job.
In addition to the new skills and leadership experience you have gained during your time in the military, the experiences you have had may have given you a new view on life. If you were injured and are now living with a disability, you might not be able to go back to the same career you had before. These personal changes in you are likely to affect the direction you want to take your life in now, including refocusing your career, or pursuing an entirely new one.
Here are some things to consider when beginning your job search:
- What did you do before entering the military, or what interests did you have? Are you still interested in doing the same thing?
- Is there a civilian career that directly relates to your military career? Look for jobs that are similar to your military occupation and your skills and experience will translate easier.
- If you find yourself wanting to take your career in a new direction, identify the types of things you’re now interested in doing. What education, skills and experience are required? You may need to go back to school or seek additional training.
- When identifying possible careers, it helps to research the job market. The US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics identifies occupations with the highest predicted growth. Selecting one of these occupations means there will likely be a better job market, more openings and higher demand.
- Consider looking for jobs within the federal government or with federal contractors. Veterans receive preference points when applying for government positions, and you may have additional qualifications they often look for in applicants, such as security clearances.
- When applying for a job, make sure you transfer your skills into civilian terms that employers can relate to. Translate your skills into terminology and relevant experience that specifically matches the criteria employers are looking for.
- Don’t overlook the value of networking. Take advantage of the experience gained by other veterans who have retired from their military careers and use them as additional sources of advice and support.
Transitioning back into the civilian job market- or entering it for the first time- after time in the military is a daunting task. Use the skills you developed in the military to stay positive and focused on your goal and you will be successful in finding your next job.
Jul 13 2010, 11:31 AM