Hunting for a job is hard work, but it can be even more challenging for veterans returning to the civilian workforce. It’s a huge adjustment because the culture of the military is very different than that of the civilian workforce.
While some aspects of the job hunt will be the same for veterans and civilians alike, there are a few differences, especially when it comes to figuring out how to use your military experience in a non-military setting. Here are a few tips to help veterans looking to enter the civilian job market.
Translating Military Experience into Civilian Terminology
One of the biggest obstacles is knowing how to effectively translate your military skills and experience into a civilian occupation. The Veteran Employment Center, a division of the US Department of Veteran Affairs, can help you do this. It will not only help you put together a list of civilian skill equivalents that you can use for a powerful resume, but it can also help you learn about potential career paths that you’re qualified for.
While most of your military training can be applied to a post-military career, some career choices might require you to take an exam or a recertification course to be able to use your credentials in the civilian workforce, because states or the federal government might require their own licenses and certifications. This includes things like flying aircraft, using certain kinds of machinery, or treating patients.
Networking is Key
Networking is just as important for veterans as it is for anyone else job hunting. Let your family, friends, or even other veterans know that you’re looking for a new job.
Reach out to those that are in the field you’d like to work in and see if their companies are hiring for any positions that you might be qualified for. Even if they aren’t currently hiring, it won’t hurt to put feelers out there or even submit a resume in case they do have a position open up in the future.
Have Copies of your DD214 and DD2586
Make sure you have all of your important documentation. Sure, you know that your DD214 (Report of Separation) and DD2586 (Verification of Military Experience and Training) are important for VA-related purposes, but did you know that these will also be important when you go back to school or enter the civilian workplace?
Make sure that you have copies to show your school or employer, as they will likely need to verify your service, training, and experience. If you are missing any records, they can be replaced through an online application with Veterans Affairs.