Transitioning from the military to civilian life can present a set of challenges for veterans. While your time serving your country may have boosted your confidence in many regards, many might feel apprehensive about their ability to cope with a 9-5 way of life. Here are some tips to help you find the right career as a veteran.
1. Look your best
Finding a job is largely about your experience, but it's also about how you present yourself. When you're called back for interviews, you want to do everything possible to prove your credibility to the company. This means being well-dressed and properly groomed. Adhering to fashion conventions might not have been mandatory while in the military, but it's certainly helpful in the civilian world. Luckily, they're not difficult to pick up on. Looking your best will give you further confidence and help you nail the interview.
2. Give yourself time to adjust
No one is expecting you to go straight from the military to a civilian full-time job. Your life has been all about protecting your country, and being thrust into a new environment can feel like you're crossing ice while wearing roller skates. Focus on what your needs are outside of work at the moment. Finding a job should be a priority, but you need to be in the right state of mind. If you're having trouble with the idea of working in a non-military environment, you should speak with a counselor to discuss what's going on. Conditions such as PTSD can also make the adjustment into civilian life hard to handle.
3. Use hiring resources
There are a number of ways to find employment as a veteran. Through various websites you can build connections and find job training garnered specifically for veterans. For example, this website lists some great resources: http://hiringamerica.net/news/12-great-online-resources-for-veterans-looking-for-jobs/. During your time in the military, you hopefully built up a number of connections with officers and other personnel. Get in touch with them to see what sort of opportunities would be available for you. Don't be presumptive and think that you'll be offered a job by the first person you call. Take out a pen and jot down any people that could give you leads.
4. Emphasize your skills
The person you are as you leave the military might not recognize the person you were when you first enlisted. Through training and beyond, you've learned how to solve problems, manage time effectively, and make proper use of your authority. These are skills that any employer would be ecstatic to have. When applying for jobs, you need to go into detail about your qualifications. Your resumé should have a section for your skills, both soft (non-measurable) and hard (measurable). These are some great examples of skills you may have built in the military: http://military.vista.edu/military-veterans/7-military-skills-vets-can-use-in-securing-a-job/. When drafting cover letters, make sure they're specific for each job and that you go explain thoroughly about your military service has prepared you for the duties of the position.
5. Decide what matters to you
Depending on the military's influence on your life, you might find a career that's tangentially-related to your time serving your country. There are no requirements for what kind of a job you can have as a veteran, but you might consider a period of reflection. If you wish to enter a specialized field, such as law or medicine, look into university programs that will make that possible. Here is a list of companies that are best for veterans: https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/10/the-10-best-companies-for-veterans.html.
Finding the right career after the military means different things for each veteran. There is no one career, nor is there one set deadline, that you must achieve. Your mental health and ability to trust in yourself are most important. Give yourself all the time and love that you need, and you'll be able to make it in the workforce.
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