Career Advice - A Community Blog

Erik Larson writes about the job market, resume improvement, and career advice

Transitioning from the military to a civilian job

Written by Erik Larson, Community Blogger | Apr 26, 2017 2:53 AM

It is not easy to understand the experiences a service man or woman undergoes when transitioning into civilian life. Most veterans have a difficult time readjusting back to their family environment and reconnecting with loved ones. According to studies, some of the factors that increase the difficulty of this transition is post-traumatic stress disorder. The difficulty is the result of seeing someone they know die or get injured in service. Research shows that service people who had a well-established belief system before embarking on a mission have an easier time starting out a civilian job than others.

Veterans face some issues when integrating into the civilian workforce. These include:
• A veteran may have zero or very minimal experience in searching for a job or undertaking an interview. One has to adapt new skills that will fit the new job.
• A veteran has to establish how his/her military skills are applicable in the civilian environment and present a useful resume.
• Most veterans report experiencing a sense of fear of losing the job since they do not believe that they measure up to the set requirements.
• In the case of a veteran returning to an old job, there is a feeling of alienation because of the possible social changes that took place in the office while he/she was on deployment.

Tips to have an easier time transitioning into the civilian workforce

• Upon retiring, the military offers candidates a Transition Assistance Program workshop to provide training and employment information. The program is open within 180 days after retirement and offers lessons for three days consecutively. The report details strategies one can use to find a new fitting career, land a job, present an applicable resume and pass the interviewing process. Alternatively, it offers the Field Service Record document that contains a militant's training skills, experience, and qualifications.

• Establish how the military skills will prove useful in the next job. For example, if one decides to start out as a corporate professional, it is vital to consider skills such as coaching and delivery of results. A veteran who worked in aircraft management could find a perfect job working in a technical company such as a motor assembly plant.

• Research about employers who have a convenient environment for veterans. Some administrators prefer recruiting veterans due to their disciplined work ethic and other technical skills. Other jobs have high numbers of ex-military personnel who support one another through the transition period. Some of these military friendly employers include Home Depot, P & G, Proctor, General Electric, and Gamble. P & G has a vibrant support group called Blue and Grey that provides networking and support opportunity to service personnel.

• Having a military security clearance is a valuable asset in today's job market. Many companies and sections of the government need employees with security clearances.  If you lost it or don't have it you should contact an attorney and apply, 98% of security clearances that are applied for are ultimately granted.

• Adjust language terminologies to fit in with the civilian society. As difficult as it may be, have patience when trying to replace phrases such as '18 hundred hours' with '6 in the evening'. While addressing a supervisor, it is okay to use the person's name, unlike in the military where officers have the reference of sir or madam. This adjustment helps create a friendly work environment that will help familiarize the veteran to colleagues.

• Focusing the job searching efforts to finding recruiters who run transition programs has proven beneficial to hundreds of ex-service people. Bradley Morris and the Lucas Group have assisted more than 25,000 retired militants adapt a civilian career. They match the skill sets with a civilian job to ease the experience of learning new skills. As a result, these ex-militants report a 96 percent satisfaction rate.

• Lastly, networking is a good way to find people who have similar experiences. By knowing new people, it is possible to reduce the amount of time one spends dissecting the different transition strategies and landing a suitable job. Newly acquired acquaintances and friends offer invaluable advice on readjustment and job openings.

As an ex-military personnel, it is paramount to give oneself credit where it is due. Serving in war is a tough call for any person. It takes courage to leave loved ones and a much simpler life to enter into a life-threatening situation far away from home. During the tenure, an ex-service person gains competent skills in leadership, responsibility, communication and task execution. All these attributes have the possibility of thrusting one into a successful career path if utilized correctly. When combined with the ability to handle high levels of stress, the interview process, and actual job undertaking will be easier.

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