How to Transition from a Military to Civilian Career

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It’s not easy finding a good job these days. Companies are cutting back, and it seems to be taking longer and longer to find a job that pays well and one that fits your career goals. This is particularly true if you’re a military veteran.  

Fortunately, there are a number of career and job finding resources available to veterans and their families. These have been set up to help reduce the high unemployment rate among today’s veterans, which is significantly higher than the civilian unemployment rate. 

If you served in the U.S. Navy, for example, there are some key career benefits you might want to look into. Eligible Navy veterans can now get assistance from employment specialists at no cost.

Wounded, ill and injured veterans, as well as their families are eligible for assistance though the Family Employment Readiness Program (FERP). While FERP is not a job placement service, their employment specialists can help guide your career choices through individual counseling, workshops and seminars. These services can help acquaint you with the latest job-hunting strategies, interview techniques, and resume writing pointers to give you a leg up in facing the challenges and opportunities of today's tough job market. They can even advise you on how to dress for success.

No matter what branch of the military you’re transitioning from, there are some specific things you can do to help launch your civilian career:


Evaluate your transferrable skills. Learn to verbalize and “package” your military experience to fit today’s corporate needs. If you trained soldiers how to operate and maintain a tank, re-package that to show how your acquired training skills and tools can effectively impart important information to groups of civilian technicians. If you worked in supply, show how your administrative and logistics skills saved your unit “X” amount of dollars every year. If you worked in avionics or computers, verbalize your abilities and knowledge to a high-tech company.  

Seek out military-friendly employers. They’re out there and they’re eager to hire men and women with the leadership and discipline one acquires in the military. Many who already work in these companies are former military, so seek out their guidance and mentorship. Check out Proctor and Gamble’s  “Blue and Grey” networking group, Home Depot, General Electric, and other firms who recruit former military officers. Visit’s Career Center for firms that hire former military.

Work with recruiters who specialize in transitioning military. The Lucas Group has helped 25,000 officers and technicians find civilian careers. Bradley Morris is another military transition recruiter with a high success rate. 

If you're a transitioning servicemember, the jobs are out there if you know where and how to look. 




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