Consider a Non-Traditional Career Path
The military is a mighty force. Not only has it given you the skills that will help you in your interpersonal relationships, but it’s also an entirely separate world from the civilian sector. During your time in service, you learned to speak a different language, to walk a certain way, and to interact with people based on an identifiable rank structure. Because of how inclusive the military can feel, it can be challenging to step outside of it and accurately assess what your next career step should be.
Many veterans generally navigate toward industries relating to the jobs they performed in the military. This is generally considered a safe option because you’ve just spent years fine-tuning your technical skills and you know what they are. If someone were to ask you to list your top five strengths, chances are they would all have something to do with your function in the military.
What many transitioning service members forget is that there are plenty of soft skills that you’ve been perfecting during your time in service. Soft skills are just as important as your hard skills. They’re just more difficult to define and measure, which makes them more difficult to articulate in an interview. Overall, soft skills can be considered anything relating to people skills. So think about how many times you had to successfully navigate with a leader who wasn’t the most effective or any time you PCS’d and had to immediately get a feel for your new unit. These skills take years to develop and lucky for you, you’ve been developing them all this time without even realizing it.
Before you close out your job search to only being related to your field, it’s worth the time to consider a non-traditional career field. This is going to be different for each person, so there’s no one branch of the civilian sector that’s “non-traditional” but it could be anything that’s outside of your duties in the military. Maybe there’s a passion that you’ve always had but haven’t had the opportunity to explore. Or maybe you have discovered through your time in the military that you’re actually really good at something completely outside of your wheelhouse.
When you consider a non-traditional career option, you’re able to:
Leverage your skills.Career satisfaction is huge. If you’re planning to work for any significant potion of time (and let’s face it, that’s basically everyone) then you need a job that’s going to be rewarding and challenging enough to keep you engage. You have the skills; now’s the time to find a new way to use them. The military has already engrained in you’re the ability to be resilient and adaptable. These skills set you up to be successful in any field.
New approach to old problems:You’ve just spent years figuring out how to redo something that plenty have done before you and plenty will do after you. And you’ve done in t in a way to leave your mark and improve your unit and organization. This is a dynamic skillset to have in today’s market.
Be open to considering non-traditional approaches to your next career. You already have the skills you need to transition from one role to the next. Make the best of this fluid time and figure out what’s going to make you most happy in the long run.