Please upgrade your web browser

These pages are built with modern web browsers in mind, and are not optimized for Internet Explorer 8 or below. Please try using another web browser, such as Internet Explorer 9, Internet Explorer 10, Internet Explorer 11, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Apple Safari.


With little more than a year left of service. How can i best prepare myself for entering into another career?


Steven Shepherd Sumter, SC

I am interested in Information Technology. As a Veteran, I am not opposed to doing thing in a defense/aviations role.

9 January 2019 10 replies Military to Civilian Transition



Kevin J McRoberts Des Moines, IA

Start reading anything on information, (news articles, books, magizines, web sites, etc.) concerning the commercial real estate industry... There are numerous type of jobs, careers, and income levels in every part of U.S. and global. You can be the best with good solid desire and motivation... don't give up and learn it. Detailed oriented, creative, helping others, and a very proud and satisfying profession when you do it the right way. Call anytime you discuss.
Kevin J. McRoberts
T: 515.264.8400


Brock Renshaw Tampa, FL

Leverage your professional networks.

Download the military transition app from It helps align your mil expertise with civilian jobs.

It works for disabled vets and spouses too.

Intuitive tool.



Dr. Scena Webb Auburn, WA

Hi Steven,

Definitely connect with folks who can share reasonable expectations with you. I am always available to share what I have learned since transitioning.


Kent Watson Monticello, FL

Good afternoon Steven, Having computer certifications will open doors in the private sector. If you have a security clearance that is within five years, then this will make you more marketable in the defense/aviation communities. What helped me the most during my pretransition and transition was Networking. Military is based upon merit promotions. Whereas, in the civilian community you will learn the importance of networking to help open doors. Your skill sets and abilities will prove your worth. However, networking up front will help to initially open the door or cause an opportunity to come your way. You can start with professional organizations, trade organizations, technical organizations, fraternities, or beginning an on going dialogue with those in your chosen career field. Having mobility will prove to be another advantage. Thank you for your service to our Nation! Sincerely, Kent T. Watson, Chief Warrant Officer Four, served nearly 35 years as a proud Soldier/Warrior in the U.S. Army of America. Now Fraud Prevention Inspector in the health care industry.


Mike Grayson Mckinney, TX

Hi Steven,

There appears to be pretty significant demand for those who have both security clearances and technical know-how by Amazon Web Service S3 and Microsoft Azure. The reason is that they have landed secure DoD contracts and are having a problem filling positions. Both are headquartered in Seattle but also have other locations. My advice is to contact them, let them know you have a clearance if you have one and get some direction from them.



jared townsel Antelope, CA

I started in cyber security six years ago after doing ten years as a signals intelligence analyst. My first step was studying SQL through Onward to Opportunity; they have good IT courses and cyber if that’s the way you want to go.


Aubrey McDonald II Fayetteville, NC

Since you mentioned your interested in the IT Fields, please reach out to Inward to Opportunity. They provide over 25 IT Certifications for Veterans fir Free. Their an amazing organization. I'm not in the in the IT field but truly love helping others locate resources to help them excel.

I own my own Company and am committed to Professional Development and Servant Leadership

910 578 9860


Deborah Carter Owens Cross Roads, AL

Hi Steven,

It's time to do some research!

Decide where you want to be (geographically) and start looking at the types of IT roles being advertised by local employers. Of the roles that you find interesting, determine if there are themes showing up in the job requirements (certifications, education, experience etc.) and if you have gaps, create a plan to close the gaps. Hopefully a year will give you enough time so that you'll be ready and qualified to apply when you transition, but if it will take longer, at least you can start working on a jump start now.

Good luck!


Rob Pianka Lancaster, PA

Hello Steven,

There are many many things you will eventually have to do to secure a career in the civilian sector, but, since you have been wise enough to ask this question early in the process, please allow me to suggest you start exploring two things:

1) What are the differences between the military and the civilian worlds?
2) What am I really passionate about?

You know it's not the things we know or the things we know we don't know that can sabotage all our efforts, it's the things we don't even know about that'll get you: our "blind spots".

Everyone transitioning from one world to another (in this case from the military to the civilian world) brings a lot of assumptions that turn out to be false. I'm sure you learned that when you went into the military.

Most civilian opportunities do not give you anywhere near the structure as the Military does. They don't often have a great value you can share, like defending America. Often it is your authentic enthusiasm for what the company does that makes you valuable to HR and sustains your efforts in the field over time.

So, in sum, rather than think about how to do what you do now in a civilian job that gives you a lot of security I recommend that you think about what you want to do and who you want to do it with. In effect, in the civilian world this strategy is more likely to get you job security.

At least, that's my opinion,



Chris Barrett New York, NY

Hi Steven,

That's a great question and one that many transitioning service members don't think about enough (myself included when I was getting out). I know the Army has some good programs like Soldier for Life which can be a great asset as you begin to think about your next career. You've already signed up for an ACP mentorship which is a great first step!

I think the biggest thing to prepare yourself for is the level of responsibility in your civilian job will pale in comparison (at first) to your role in the military. I think that is hard for a lot of career military personnel to accept, but is a reality for a majority of senior enlisted/officer transitioning. Sometimes people let their egos get in the way and scoff at anything that isn't equivalent to the level of responsibility they had in the military. However, those who are willing to take a slight step back will make leaps forward once their military work ethic is on display.

Another thing that is sometimes difficult is taking the first job you get offered out of the military. This one can be less avoidable as we know that everyone needs to support themselves and their families. Doing your homework now in the job search will help immensely as you get closer to your separation date. I think you'll see that you can find a meaningful position with a company that you can grow with professionally.

The resume writing, interviewing, translating your skills, etc. are all part of the preparation, but will come much easier than altering your mindset to the civilian workforce after a career in the military. Keep an open mind, listen and learn from others, and do your research.

Best regards,

Your Answer

Please log in to answer this question.

Sign Up

You can join as either a Veteran or an Advisor.

An Advisor already has a career, with or without military experience, and is willing to engage with and help veterans.
Sign Up as an Advisor.

A Veteran has military experience and is seeking a new career, or assistance with life after service.
Sign Up as a Veteran.