Military staff, once their careers end, face a new challenge after years of constant moving cities and states, after being involved in war zone areas and so on. They see themselves forced to start a new job search and find a satisfying and rewarding job. For service members, the world seems a little too small after their military careers end. However, the job hunt doesn’t have to be that long as many expect. Given their experience and expertise, certain veterans might have an easier time transitioning to a civilian life. Below are several tips and tricks, as well as career suggestions that will help veterans make the most out of their military experience.
Start Your Job Search Now
Considering the fact that you spent plenty of time to prepare for your military career, you should start your reconversion journey now. It will take time and you want to make sure that you have it. In short, the military spent 384 hours to train you for your career. To gain the same beginner-level training in your civilian career, if you start studying for 2 hours daily, you will need to invest about 6 months working on your transition.
Career experts also claim that for every $10,000 worth of salary, you should spend one to two months searching for a job. If you plan to start your civilian career at $40,000, expect to spend 4 to 8 months searching for a job actively.
The bottom line is: don’t procrastinate. If this helps, have a plan of action for the process. Set time-specific milestones for your transition to civilian life.
Create a professional network
You have been a military; you have spent most of your time in a foreign country, fighting on the battlefield, or training for the battle. You do not have a well-established professional network, and when it comes to skills, you probably lack many of them. Why do you need a professional network? Because its members are the ones who can connect you with a hiring manager. If your network has zero members, you need to start growing it.
You haven’t looked for a job in years, it is understandable that you do not have someone in your group who can put you in front of a manager. Now, you have time to meet recruiters and to check the civilian job market.
The trick is to have a readable resume, to learn new skills, and to be open to new things. Ask the recruiter to offer you feedback on the skills you need to acquire in order to get the job you want.
You need qualifications…period
Yes, it sounds quite harsh, we are telling you that you cannot get a job if you do not have the needed certifications. But, think at this, when you were an active military you did have any chances to be sent to battle if you did not have the required qualifications? Were you allowed to use a warfare device if you did not have the needed education? The same rules you will have to follow in the civilian jobs market, you need to meet the requirements the job description lists.
Only during the first hour of posting an open position, the employer receives around 300 resumes. From these 300 resumes, only 10% of them are ones of applicants who are qualified for the job, and who have experience in the industry. The company will choose one of these candidates, therefore, you should not waste your time, or theirs, by applying for jobs you are not qualified.
You may think that you are qualified for a similar job in the military, and you will not have difficulties in convincing employers to see you as a potential candidate. The truth is that they will do the same as the military would do for a civilian. Even if they are qualified to be a chemist let’s say, on the civilian labor market, the military will not consider them the right candidate. If you have chemistry knowledge acquired from the military classes, you will have to enhance it with information suitable to be applied in the civilian world.
The first step to get a certification is to enroll in a university class. Yes, it is a long time ago when you last time followed a class; you may need an accommodation period. But you should not lose a single minute. You can postpone your university enrollment with a few months or even a year, but during this period, you should find a professional who offers online chemistry tuition. They can guide you through the process and help you improve your skills, before starting the university classes.
Do not pretend to be an expert in a certain field
Before heading to an interview and telling people you are an expert in a certain field, you should check the civilian labor industry and see if that subject is relevant for the current job market. We encourage you to make the claim after you know for sure that the recruiter is looking for an expert in the field you have knowledge. If you need information, you should Google it. Write the name of the domain plus the word “jobs” and see if there are job postings that require that particular qualification.
Your skills and knowledge will help you decide what job openings are fit for you.
It is the moment to manage your health care
You probably know at least two or three veterans who face challenges with the Veterans Administration. Yes, lately the process is starting to get better, but you should take the bull by the horns and have a medical check. At least a year before your last day as an active military you should have your medical checks. Record them, scan them, and have them in multiple copies. Record them with the American Legion, AMVETS and DAV with at least half of year before your last day on Active Duty.
In a nutshell, you should expect your transition to be difficult and stressful, because it is a lengthy process, but it does not mean that you do not have chances to get a high-paying civilian job you will love.