This article is written to provide you tips to transition to a civilian job. Your ETS papers are in hand and you’re ready to leave the military. Now it’s time to find a job in the civilian sector.
So what gives?
After years of being entrenched in an organization with clear progression standards, the civilian working world can come as a culture shock to many transitioning Service Members. Chances are you’ve been working on your military career and haven’t given much thought to how to make the most of your time in service.
- Be Prepared to Work for It
The job hunt in the civilian world is hard. The good thing is that you’ve already learned how to goal set for the short and long term, and you hold yourself accountable. Start by organizing your educational and training documents. Keep copies of your Report of Separation and Verification of Military Experience and Training on hand to help verify that what you say on your resume levels up.
- Civilian Friendly Resume
Military acronym are basically unintelligible to civilian employers. Utilize the services of a professional resume writer to help highlight what you’ve done with your time in service in terms that potential employers can understand. Replace military job titleswith titles that show your actual responsibilities.
- Make Your Connections
While in service, you were probably discouraged from networking since it means going outside of your chain of command. As a result, you might feel uncomfortable networking or don’t know how to do it.
To be successful in a job search, break out of that mold. Just like you needed the support of your fellow Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, or Sailors to get the job done, in the working world you need people to help guide your search. Connecting with other veterans and transitioning Service Members will be a great resource for you as you move out of boots and into dress shoes.
- Develop an Elevator Pitch
If you can’t tell a prospective employer why you’re a good fit, then you’re not ready to interview. Practice rehearsing and highlighting who you are and what skills you have to offer a prospective employer. Transitioning out of a culture where the team comes before the individual, this might be hard at first. But remember – this is your chance to highlight why you’re the best fit for the position and how your skills will translate to the job you want.
- Step out of being a Service Member
This is probably the hardest hurdle for Service Members to overcome. You’ve been wearing your uniform proudly for the last few years, so why not wear it to an interview? The answer – because it sends the wrong message. You need to show the hiring manager that you can adapt to the civilian world. So dress the part. Wear a suit and leave your boots at home. Make sure you’re able to speak about your service outside of military terms. Remember, only 1 percent of the US population joins military service. This means most of the hiring managers you speak with aren’t going to understand what you’re saying if you speak in acronyms and jargon.
- Do Your Research
Make sure you’re right for the role that you’re applying for and be prepared to back up your claims. It’s not just about being worthy of the job; it’s about being right for the job. This is where your network can come in handy. When you have a network of people who are actively working with you to place you in the right job, you’re more likely to interview with companies that are looking for your particular skill set.
Following these tips will help you begin to understand that the civilian workforce isn’t so much about a career track that has been chosen for you based on your