Transitioning from military to civilian life can be daunting. And while the majority of veterans indicated they felt prepared for their transition (77 percent), 62 percent also indicated they feel that hiring managers and recruiters do not understand their skills and experience. Here are some ways to help make the transition easier:
DO schedule your required Transition Assistance Program (TAP) workshop as early as possible. TAP offers a threeday workshop that covers possible post-service careers, provides job search advice and helps with resume writing and interview preparation.
DO think about what you want to do. The worst answer to “What do you want to do?” is “Anything” or “I don’t know.” Thankfully, 56 percent of respondents indicated they knew what they wanted to do after the military, but for the 39 percent who said they were trying to figure out what to do for a career, it’s essential to explore what jobs are out there and what skills sets are needed to transition to the civilian workforce.
DO talk about how the military provides skills that the civilian world doesn’t. Employers think military job candidates bring the ability to communicate (49 percent), leadership (43 percent), and confidence (41 percent) from their time in the service. These are valuable skills that not everyone possesses and can make you stand out to a prospective employer.
DO advertise yourself as a veteran when applying for jobs and on your networking profiles. Many companies are using social media to find qualified applicants and your veteran status will stand out if they have a veteran recruitment initiative.
DON’T assume that because an employer wants to hire veterans, they understand how your skill set is applicable to the jobs they have open. 56 percent of employers want more detail on a resume and 48 percent want better translation of military skills into jobs. Use a skills translator to clearly explain how your experience relates to civilian occupations and seek out other veterans who have transitioned for mentorship.
DON’T wait to think about what you will do after the military. Start planning at least a year in advance and give yourself time to network, research career fields you are interested in, and make some decisions about where you will live. Make your search for a job your new job.