Separating from the military isn’t simply a matter of changing jobs. The military is a way of life, and transitioning away from it isn’t without challenges, even if you’re looking forward to the change.
Tips for Making the Military Transition
If transitioning to civilian life is on the horizon for you, start taking steps now to make the switch a little more seamless.
1. Start early
How soon are you looking to transition? Even if your transition is months away, now is the time to brush up your resume and begin thinking about what you’d like to do in the next part of your career.
Part of the transition away from military life means making decisions yourself, instead of having someone else make the calls in your life. Now is your chance to think about what you actually want from your future. You don’t have to do the same thing you’ve been doing, unless that’s what you really want to do! Thinking through this process and coming to a decision can help you guide the next steps in your transition.
2. Fix your resume
If you haven’t updated your resume recently, now’s the time. Think about how your military experience makes you an asset in the business world and make sure your resume conveys that information to your potential employers. You have transferable skills, but it might take some time to suss them out. And while you’re updating your resume, make sure it’s jargon-free and easy to understand.
3. Keep learning
The thought of going back to boot camp might make you cringe a little on the inside, but continuing your education should be a bit less painful than that was! Constant training is incredibly important, and re-skilling or up-skilling is something you can start working on even before your ETS date. Once you know which field you’d like to land in, you can start training programs to make yourself more marketable to potential employers.
You can take advantage of the GI bill to help you cover tuition, and your military experience might translate into college credits, too. Fields like cybersecurity are fast-growing and might fit well with your experience. And you can listen to top podcasts for military transition for perspective, education, and tips that could help you with your switch.
Networking after the military might be awkward, especially if you’ve avoided social media for security reasons. Almost every recruiter uses social media, so sprucing up your online presence can be key to putting yourself forward as a candidate. Find your networking style, get your network on, and let recruiters know you’ll be open for work soon.
Transitioning to civilian life is a process that takes some time. Not only are you getting used to a new way of life and a new career, but you’ll have to navigate different types of relationships and make decisions in a way you didn’t have to until now. But once you know what you want to do in the next chapter of your life, you can take actionable steps and live your best post military life.