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How do I get a civilian job


David Spitzer Bronx, NY

I am a transitioning army servicemember with over 28 years of service but am having trouble securing interviews and applications that I am not rejected for. I need advice and networking to hop onto a fortune 500 company.

14 December 2020 15 replies Resumes & Cover Letters



James Vickery Ogden, UT

Hi David,

I am a 31-year veteran of our armed forces and applied for 26 jobs, all of which declined interviews or gave me the "while you are highly qualified, you are not what we are looking for..." reply, if I received a reply at all. The job I have now found me, instead of the other way around.

As long-term service members we have a wealth of skills to bring to a business: change management, leadership, flexibility, adaptably, tenacity. Use those soft skills as you begin your job search.

What industry are you looking into: defense, aerospace, health care, IT? I assume you are focused on Fortune 500 for the stability, benefits and long-term employment potential. Government contractors are always hiring, and that is a good place to get your foot in the door. As a co-worker told me, there is no loyalty on 'this side' of the fence. If a better job comes along, grab it. Not what we are used to as service members.

Manage your expectations for the job. While you may not get a title and company car, you may still get a paycheck commensurate with your experience. The title will come with time and experience in the new company. There are many companies who place great value on hiring veterans: we are self starters, work with little or no supervision, find ways to solve problems and are ready to roll up our sleeves and get to our tasks. But that does not mean the first job will be a top floor corner office; we have to prove ourselves all over again. Just buckle down, do what you know how to do, and your managers will see what you can do.

As others have said, get your network working for you. The job I now have was a result of someone I worked with in the service talking to someone, who talked to someone else, who called me about the job. Get your free LinkedIn Premium account set up and use that extensively. Find old commanders and Sergeant Majors who will endorse you for the skills you have; follow companies that interest you (do they hire vets?) and reach out to people who work for those companies that are connections.

Are you willing to relocate? Some companies may offer remote work (the new working environment is a good example), but this could be a factor in a job offer if remote work includes two weeks a month in the 'home office' in Denver. Make that decision now since that will drive your search - if you don't care, that widens your aperture for jobs. If NY is where you need to be, you need to be more focused on your needs versus wants: what is the threshold and objective for your job search? What will you be willing to accept compared to an offer? What is the delta between your retired pay and a corporate salary to maintain your present lifestyle?

I am happy to help you navigate this road and give you some insight. There are companies who are hiring vets I can point you toward if you are interested, great benefits and steady, long-term jobs in the defense industry.

I am on LinkedIn at


22 December 2020 Helpful answer


John Dyck, Ph.D. Spring, TX

You are not just going to "hop onto a fortune 500 company".

You need to earn the opportunity.

As a potential employer I want to know how can you:
1. Save me money
2. Save me time
3. Reduce my stress
4, And most important, help me grow the company.
Answer these questions and I will hire you.

Good luck

27 January 2021 Helpful answer


Will Steinberg

Hi David,

Without knowing which specific field or industry you're looking for, many large companies have a veterans' network. I would also suggest you expand your search beyond the Fortune 500, because there could be a large number of companies outside of that scope that could still provide the basis for a good career.

Good luck with your transition!


Todd Cloutier Woburn, MA

Hello David,

If you are looking for a job at a fortune 50 company then please reach out to me here. I work for Raytheon Technologies and can assist you with an Internal Referral. Message me if you would like to pursue this opportunity.


Athena Cave San Diego, CA

Hi David,

I am a military spouse and am currently working at Morgan Stanley. MS has a strong Veterans Employee Network and focuses on recruiting veterans/service members for a variety of roles and helps newly hired veterans to transition to the firm through tailored career guidance and support. Feel free to visit the job site and send me your resume! I can always reach out to my Veterans networking group for you!

Stay positive!!


Dean Bottomley

Good Day David,

Thank you for your continued service. Without knowing your area of expertise, Logistics, Finance, Training or Operations it is difficult to provide a definitive answer.

Consistency is the key, however I encourage you to look at your career and define what area you served in and what tasking gave you the most pleasure.

Once that is defined, should you be ready, I suggest you venture out on your own specialty.

The rewards of being your own boss are definitely worthy of your career. Apply your strengths. Even if you start small, part time, once you have an idea of the direction you wish to travel, draft a business plan.

If you ran a division, or squad or department you can run a business. You have more experience than many mid level Corporate Executives
Contact those that you served with in your network, that may be ahead of you in a new career or have started their own business. as Retiree's we are always ready to help each other.

Its definitely a challenge starting your own business but remember, we did more before 5am than most people did in a lifetime!

Feel free to contact me at

Capt Dean Bottomley


Lex Levin Ellicott City, MD


Happy to help you. I'm a full-time professional resume writer and a former Fed specializing for the last 11 years in working with Active Duty and Reserve Service Members, Veterans, and Military Spouses transitioning to Federal or private sector work. I don't use templates and do all the work myself. You can best get in touch with me through my website contact page: Just answer a few questions, upload your current resume, and I'll review and advise.

Happy holidays,



Sam Hoffman Roslyn Heights, NY

Hello! Not sure from this post what kinds of jobs you're looking for, and sadly it's not the best time to start looking for jobs. But if you are in the Bronx, you should definitely get in touch with Tom Murphy at Edge4Vets.
Message me and I'll give you his contact nfo


cathy salerno Chester, NJ

Hi David, Thank you for your years of service. I’d be happy to help if I can. Maybe there’s something about your initial approach that is not garnering interest? I’d be happy to have a phone call with you to understand better and offer suggestions. My email is


Joe Engle Indianapolis, IN

Hello David:
I put together a document to help getting a job, transitioning to civilian life. It covers resume building, and has been used by others on this board. I would be glad to send it to you. Just message me requesting it.

Good luck!


Jeff Martin Ashburn, VA

I’d suggest that you network at the target company or industry. Use LinkedIn to find people already working there and reach out to them. Ask them the process they used to get hired and ask them to help you navigate the hiring process and if they are willing, ask them to submit you as a referral. These activities require much more time on your part but in my opinion would greatly increase your chances for success. Good luck!


Kevin Hicks Freehold, NY

One technique that has some benefits is to network over a cup of coffee (or via Zoom this year). Using LinkedIn or another employment search engine, type the name of the company you’re interested in and the word “Veteran.” If the company has a Veteran’s group or recognizes Veterans within the company, you may get a list of individuals at the company who served. You can then send a few of them an individual message and ask to meet virtually or over a real cup of coffee if you’re in the same area. Then you can ask about the company, maybe the specific job you’re thinking of applying for, etc. Now you’ll potentially have an inside contact who could potentially mention to the hiring managers to look out for your resume.
Good luck!


June Webb Washington, DC

Hi David,

You may want to meet via Zoom video with a career coach and discuss your skills in the army and how those skills translate into the civilian world. Then you would need a professional to write your resume so that it is ATS Compliant (overrides the filtering online filtering system) and a cover letter for the targeted companies and place them on as many recruiting platforms as possible.

Please connect with me on Linkedin to discover more on how my coaching consulting company can help you.

Visionary Successful Guidance
June Webb


steven williams Houston, TX

David, happy to assist and review your resume as well. My email:

I am also happy to jump on a quick call 15-30 minutes, as your time allows and talk through a bit of your goals, type job aiming for, etc to maybe better direct you in your pursuit.

Hope to hear from you.

Steven Williams


Brock Renshaw Tampa, FL

Hi David

Network. Network. And then network some more.

Connect with your professional and personal networks. Let folks know you’re looking. They can help open doors that online application cannot.

Grab your NCOERs and award citations. They contain the information that shows what you accomplished or results.

Put those results into your resume.

Hiring managers want to see how you add value to their team, which is captured in your accomplishments. Things like; saved time, saved money, increased efficiency, anything that shows you deliver results.

Also send me your resume:

I’ll check it out and give some pointers to help out.

But make sure you’re leveraging your networks. Folks in the career / organization you’re wanting to go into can help you get there.


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