Many transitioning service members leave the military with one big question – can I make it as a civilian? Service members are prepared for everything from a gas attack to public speaking, but the right formula for how to prepare for life after the military isn’t as easy. When it comes to your transition, here are some key tips to consider.

First resume writing – it’s subjective, it’s tedious – but it’s incredibly important. If you’ve spent a career in the military, admit that you have no clue how to write a good resume. You need professional help here. If you’re still in transition, get help from your military transition center. If you’re already out, there are a variety of charities and paid services to pursue. Craft an amazing resume, and then do it again. You’ll need more than one version of your resume to land your dream job.

Second, networking isn’t ‘a’ thing, it is ‘the’ thing. And it looks a little different in the boardroom than it does in a platoon. Get to work networking as soon as possible. Join military support organizations, clubs in your interest area, and meet-ups relevant to your career interests. Start networking now and keep networking – even if you plan to use your GI bill benefits before you pursue a career.

Third, there are a number of resources and non-profits out there. Pick a few that speak to you and align with them. Take advantage of their transition resources, and apply your skills as a volunteer. The plethora of support organizations can make it difficult to know where to start. Begin with the recommendations you receive in your official Transition Assistance Program events, and expand from there, based on your own interests and online research. But be sure they are legit, and don’t give money to any system – whether it’s a charity or a university – without doing a lot of digging.

The answer to the critical question – you can – and you will, make it as a civilian. Life after the military may not be a walk in the park – but at least you’ll never have to take another gas mask test.

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Lindy Kyzer is the editor of She loves the NISPPAC, social media, and the U.S. military. Have a conference, tip, or story idea to share? Email Interested in writing for Learn more here.