Welcome to the Military Transition Resource Center, your one-stop shop for post-military career resources and hiring tools.
Your Military Transition Timeline:
You should begin to think about your post-military career as early as one-to-two years before you separate from military service. Consider what career path you’d like to pursue, think about networking events or professional organizations you can join, and consider how you may use your GI Bill benefits to give you the training you need to compete in your ideal industry. Information interviews may be a great way to decide if a particular career is right for you – and you can begin those long before you trade the uniform for the suit.
Depending upon your military MOS, you may have post-military employment restrictions – find out what those are. Also, take advantage of the official transition assistance programs offered through your branch of service – but also look into non-profit programs and other organizations offering career assistance to veterans. Make the most of your terminal leave – you may begin another job while still getting a paycheck from the government, or you may use this time to relocate or reconnect with your family.
Post-military Job Search Tips:
Searching for a job after the military may sound stressful – there is a new language to learn, rules of dress and office etiquette, and you likely have other decisions to make – like whether or not you should pursue a new degree or higher education. No two post-military job searches will look exactly alike, but there are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Consider location. Particularly if you have a family, location may be one of the most important factors. Research the area’s job prospects as well as amenities for veterans.
- Translate your skills. Your military MOS may have a clear and direct civilian job equivalent. Or it may not. But understand how your military skills are marketable in the commercial sector, and think through what new skills you need to pursue to connect your military experience to a civilian opportunity.
- Make sure you know your career path. Don’t jump into college, just so you can take advantage of your GI Bill, without knowing how that degree will help you transition into the right career. In some cases, you may not need a degree at all.
Veteran Transition Resume Tips:
The most important thing you can do in your post-military resume is translate your skills into terms any civilian can understand. Yes, if you’re transitioning into the defense industry, a defense recruiter may understand what an NCOER is, or how many people work in a battalion, but your goal should be to have a resume that is civilian-proof – where your top skills stand out no matter who is reading it.
You may wonder how many resumes you need – don’t get overwhelmed crafting multiple resumes for multiple career cracks. Your best bet is to create one master resume that reflects your primary job interest, and then tailor that industry with each job application. One common mistake on many veteran resumes is being too vague – don’t just chronicle your military service in your resume, make it clear to a recruiter what job you’d like to pursue, and what your qualifications are. Don’t know what type of career you’re interested in? Go back to informational interviews, networking events and transition assistance resources to help you narrow down your passions and interests.
Veteran Transition Interview Tips:
The job interview may be one of the most stressful aspects of the job search for many veterans. You’ve spent a career appearing before promotion boards and defending your decisions to superiors, but those formats aren’t quite what you’ll find in most civilian interview settings.
The first thing to do is research – learn everything you can about your potential employer, the company, and see if there are any contacts in your network who already work there.
Second, prepare. Most interviews follow a similar format, and there are certainly general questions you can be prepared to answer. Also, know when a question is inappropriate, and how to handle a situation that makes you feel uncomfortable. Also, be prepared to ask your own questions at the end of the interview.
Accepting a post-military job Offer:
Once you’ve nailed the interview, the next step is to await the job offer. This is another area where veterans may feel unprepared. Salary negotiation is important, and it’s critical that you understand your value, and how to translate your military compensation into a civilian salary. Your salary offer shouldn’t be based on a percentage increase of your military compensation, but on the requirements of the position, your overall experience, and your military compensation. Know how to spot a lousy offer, and how to negotiate to get what you want.