One of the best ways to prepare for a successful job search is to choose a location that's rich in job opportunities. ClearanceJobs.com recently collected a list of five metropolitan areas that feature numerous companies tied to the defense industry, and tend to favor hiring veterans. It's important to consider where you're going to move after you transition out of the military – going home may not always be the best option.
Hampton Roads, VA (Virginia Beach, Newport News, Norfolk)
In looking for a hub of military-related civilian activity, you could do worse than Hampton Roads, VA. The area boasts the highest concentration of military infrastructure on the east coast with three Army bases, Department of Defense agencies, naval installations, and seven top defense contracting companies. Many of these locations do require civilian workers to operate, and veterans enjoy a boost to their employability when it comes to federal jobs. Furthermore, the average housing price in 2013 is $188,000 which is very affordable.
San Diego – Carlsbad – San Marcos, California
The greater San Diego area is one of the best places for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, and California features the largest population of veterans in America. Not only will you likely find a supporting community, the dense military presence offers plenty of opportunities for federal employment at high income brackets. Even if you prefer to tackle the private sector, San Diego is a booming location for biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and IT security.
Dallas – Fort Worth – Arlington, Texas
There isn't a prevalent military presence in the area, but plenty of companies that are contracted by the military have offices there. The industries range from defense contracting to providing new hardware, but all of them contribute and usually have a good history hiring veterans. Even if the military-friendly doors are barred for one reason or another, with 10,000 corporations, there are plenty of job opportunities.
Tuscon, Arizona provides a strong balance between military operations, private companies, and veteran-owned businesses. Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and For Huachuca both provide civilian employment opportunities, and successful companies like Boeing, Honeywell, and General Dynamics all operate in the area. Low housing expenses also make the area very attractive to prospective veterans.
Defense contractors abound in Huntsville, Alabama, which means great job opportunities for returning veterans. Coined "Rocket City," Huntsville hosts over 60 federal agencies and organizations that produce defense, space, missile, and aviation technology. Furthermore, numerous businesses have sprouted around those industries to support their growth, so there should be employment opportunities for everyone.