Moving from the military to a civilian career is a difficult move with many changes that some veterans aren’t prepared for. Asking for help and feeling vulnerable, out of place, or just plain confused are not feelings many military members are used to having. The military environment is drastically different from a civilian career where help and support from co-workers and managers is readily available. Veterans are used to an environment that builds and produces leaders all with the same goal in mind-get your mission accomplished.
Everything in the military is on a strategic and tactical level; you are always prepped to do what needs to be done. However, during the transition from military to civilian life you’re going to need help, especially when it comes to your career.
Asking for help can feel like a weakness or a failure, but it is exactly the opposite. Admitting to needing help in order to better yourself is a sign of strength and shows that you are ready for the next step and ready to better yourself.
Here are a few things that you might need help with during your transition from military to civilian.
When it comes to resumes, the more information is not always ideal. Veterans have numerous performance reports that could end up being pages long when typing it into a resume. While those duties might be important to the veteran, not every detail is important or necessary to a resume. Leaving out certain jobs could be helpful to making your resume more cohesive and relevant to the job you want. Instead of focusing on particular job responsibilities, highlight your skills that will transfer from your military resume to your civilian resume. Also, military jargon doesn’t always translate to civilian HR.
Creating a resume can be overwhelming. Try to keep it simple and focused towards the job you want.
Applying For The Right Position
When applying for jobs out of the military, many think that their future civilian career is decided for them based on their experience and skill set. Most skills can be transferred from one job to another. Focus on what you want to do and what you excel at. For example, if you were a medic in the military, nursing would be a good fit. Switching careers is always an option as well with additional on-the-job training or school.
The Hiring Process
There is no way to know who is reviewing your resume once you apply for a job. In the military, you might apply for an award or special humanitarian circumstance, but performance endorsements count for so much towards that and you are not involved in the process. Get familiar with how the company you are working for operates. Each person at a company you will talk to has a specific role in the hiring process. Know what that person does and learn about the company before applying. Read reviews online or reach out to anyone you might know who has worked at that company previously to find out about the hiring process.
Knowing How To Interview
The skills you learned in the military will help you find a career that is suited to those skills. Telling the interviewer about your past as a sniper and how you an ace a PT test won’t get you the job but explaining how your skills and knowledge will make you the best fit for the position will.
If you haven’t been on an interview in a while or maybe never have, practice with a friend or watch some videos to get a better idea on how to handle the interview once you get there.
Networking and Career Tools
These are vital to staying competitive and informed about job openings in your area. Sites like LinkedIn and Indeed are the current go-to sites for finding jobs. Learn how to use them as well as search for keywords relating to your skills and experience. Understand that putting your resume only for public view can only help you get the career you want. Focus on getting noticed by your resume and applying for the job you want.
Remember that asking for help when it comes to your career is not a weakness. The transition is not easy and there will be numerous challenges along the way and know your rank does not carry over to the civilian world. Asking for help is a tactic to help you succeed.