Things Veterans Transitioning to a Civilian Career Should Remember

  • Sense of Purpose
  • Job Changes
  • Managing Expectations
  • Skill Transfer
  • Veterans’ Opportunities

On leaving the military, veterans must choose a civilian career. Most leave the military without a job. This can be a disorienting time since they may also be struggling with housing, medical care and readjusting to civilian life. Veterans can go on to have many different rewarding careers after their service, but it is important to be patient and to not get discouraged. Here are some factors that will affect the job search.

Related resource: Top 10 Online Colleges for Veterans

1. Sense of Purpose

Making a transition from the military to civilian life can be difficult. Some people find themselves struggling without a strong sense of purpose they had in the military. Therefore, it is important for veterans selecting their civilian career to consider what they feel strongly about and where they will be able to find a similar sense of passion. This can mean making some short-term sacrifices in favor of reaching those longer-term goals.

2. Job Changes

As part of the process of finding the right civilian career for a military veteran, there may be some missteps. According to the Harvard Business Review, nearly 50 percent of veterans do not stay for a full year at their first job after leaving the military. In some cases, it might also be necessary for some people to take a job they do not necessarily want as part of the path to the job they do want. Veterans should not be discouraged if they experience one or more rapid job changes shortly after leaving the military since it is all part of the process.

3. Managing Expectations

It can take some time to find the right fit for a veteran seeking a civilian career. Civilians who have been in the workplace for years may have more experience and a better sense of how to present themselves in the workplace. Veterans suffer disproportionately from underemployment and low pay. Although it can seem unfair after the sacrifices they have made, they should prepare themselves for what may be a long journey to a truly satisfying career.

4. Skill Transfer

Some veterans can get bogged down in the assumption that what they did in the service is what they will be doing back in civilian life. Certainly, veterans who enjoyed what they did and who want to build on that can do so, and the government offers resources to veterans that help them translate their military skills into skills in the civilian world. However, for those who wish to pursue other paths, there are a number of retraining opportunities available for veterans at little or no cost. Veterans selecting a civilian career should not feel limited to their military experience.

5. Veterans’ Opportunities

There are a number of resources available for veterans in addition to training opportunities. Some government agencies offer preferential hiring for veterans. There may also be benefits that allow veterans to attend college. Veterans should not hesitate to contact the Veterans Benefits Administration and other agencies to find out more about these resources.

Veterans who understand these factors and who go into the job search knowing that finding the right fit might take time may feel less frustration during the process. Starting a new civilian life after the military can present many challenges, but it is possible for a veteran to select a civilian career that is as or more rewarding than their time in the military was.