Updated February 15, 2021
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Making the transition to civilian life from military life can be a big adjustment. From your relationships to your career, it is important to ease your way into your new lifestyle. Thankfully, the transition from military to civilian jobs can be an effortless one.
Your time in service offers a valuable skill set any employer would love to have on their team. Leadership, the ability to work under pressure, a drive to succeed, and communication are all skills that will get you far in the civilian workforce.
That all being said, even if your skills are useful in the workplace, it can be challenging to translate them from military to civilian terms. Read below for tips on how to update your resume and LinkedIn, interview tips, and more to find your perfect fit for your transition from military to civilian jobs!
Tips to Transition from Military to Civilian Jobs
As the saying goes, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. While that isn’t 100% true (what you know matters a lot!), building up a strong network of people will help you get far in your career. Your network can be the defining thing that makes you stand out against the rest of the job applicants.
Whether it’s a contact who works at your desired employer or a friend who has tips on the interview process, establishing strong relationships are crucial to finding the perfect fit in your job search.
Along the same lines as networking, setting up your LinkedIn profile is extremely important in your job search. This platform allows you to showcase all of your skills to a wide range of people, including recruiters. Some employers scan LinkedIn profiles to find candidates with the skills they are looking for. Other employers will cross-reference your profile with your application to verify the information.
Use this space to showcase your skills, grow your network, and apply to jobs. Be sure your profile picture and personal headline are updated, and follow this LinkedIn checklist to make sure you make the most of it.
One of the first things a potential employer sees is your resume. Here, your skills are the star of the show, and having a resume that stands out can help you get ahead in the application process. There are many resources available to help you build out a stellar resume that translates your military experience into civilian skills, including a VA resume builder and the free resume assessment from Monster.
Keep your resume short and sweet, highlighting only the things that are relevant to whichever civilian job you are applying to - you may write several versions of your resume during your application process. Recruiters rarely read more than the first page, so show off your accomplishments and skills in a concise manner. Follow this resume guide to ensure you have everything you need for creating your civilian-friendly resume.
Now that you have your network developed and your resume is written, it’s time to go out and find the right civilian job for you. Look around LinkedIn and other job listing sites like Military.com’s Veteran Jobs Center to see if any job openings spark your interest or if your connections work at companies you admire. Even if there aren’t any immediate openings at a company you are interested in, write it down to monitor for later!
If searching on your own is too overwhelming, attend a Transition Assistance Program workshop to learn job search strategies and career exploration tips.
Going into an interview can be an intimidating experience, but if anyone can handle it, it’s you! The keys to acing any interview are preparation and confidence. If you have been asked to come in for an interview, that means the employer is already impressed with what you have to bring to the table and wants to know more. They already know you have the skills; all you need to do now is bring the personality!
One of the main things to keep in mind during your transition from military to civilian jobs is your language. Avoid using military jargon that may leave your interviewer feeling lost or confused. Similarly, translate your experience in the military into civilian terms. Explaining your duties in detail may not make sense in a corporate world, so instead, explain how your leadership during your service can be shown in various ways in the office.
Finding the Ideal Civilian Jobs
When making the transition from military to civilian jobs, your four main focuses should be building your network, updating your LinkedIn profile, refining your resume, doing a job search of military-friendly employers, and acing your interview. Your military experience has equipped you with skills and accomplishments that will make you the ideal candidate for any employer. Good luck, and happy job searching!