As of 2018, there were about 326,000 unemployed veterans living in the United States. It can be hard for someone with a successful military career to suddenly transition into civilian life, but securing a job is often an important part of their next chapter.
Unfortunately, there are some employers throughout the country who still seem hesitant to hire those who have served in the military. Everything from mismatched skills to negative stereotypes tends to give employers pause.
Further, the nature of the military means they train you for the exact job you’ll be doing. They tell you where to go, what to do, and how to do it. They even tell you what to wear and how to behave at any given time. So, it’s often tough for military personnel to step back into the “real world” and change everything they’ve been trained to do for years, but it’s not impossible.
If you’ve recently gotten out of the military and you’re trying to secure a career for the rest of your life, there are some things you can do to increase your chances of landing a job.
how to get a job after the military
Find Translatable Skills
One of the best ways to find a career that will work for you is to think about which of your military skills will be translatable to a job. Obviously, military training and civilian job training are two different things, but that doesn’t discredit the experience under your belt or the education you received through your military training.
The more employers that understand some skills learned in the military can be beneficial for certain jobs, the better. You can help to convince an employer you’re the right person for a job by sharing how your experiences would be helpful for them.
So, what are some possible career paths where you can use your military training? It’s probably no surprise, but the healthcare industry tops the list. Whether you do administrative work or you become a registered nurse by earning an online nursing degree, you can take advantage of any medical training you received in the military to jump in headfirst into the healthcare industry.
Other industries that offer solid career paths for veterans include:
- Government positions
- Defense contracting
- Information technology
- Financial services
- Law enforcement
Your military training might seem like it was for one specific purpose, but many of the skills you learned can translate into civilian life more than you might think. Think about what those skills are as you apply for jobs and explore different industries.
Work With Companies That Support Vets
If you find yourself really struggling to get a job or you’re not even sure where to begin, there are businesses and organizations out there specifically designed to help you. For starters, you could apply for a job at your local VA.
Veterans bring teamwork, resilience, innovation, problem-solving skills, and diversity to VA careers. You can talk with other veterans in a way that regular civilians can’t because you can personally relate to their experiences. If someone is struggling, you can be their biggest support system just by listening.
It’s important to understand that the skills and talents of a veteran never fade away. Working at a VA can not only provide you with a sense of purpose and a fulfilling job, but you can share those skills with other vets along the way and find comfort in knowing you’re doing something worthwhile for your brothers (or sisters) in arms.
Other companies and nonprofits also work to help veterans find jobs across the country. Home Depot is one of the largest companies that hire veterans on a regular basis. Between 2004-2014, the company hired more than 60,000 vets to work in its stores. McDonald’s, Dollar General, Nike, Disney, and UPS are also geared toward making veterans a priority in their hiring process.
Transitioning to Civilian Life
When you leave the military, it’s not just about finding a civilian job, it’s about changing every routine you’ve grown accustomed to for years. While a job is important, the best thing you can do for yourself is to take stock in your mental and emotional health. The military can take a heavy toll on people, especially if you were deployed or had to engage in any kind of combat.
So, while you should absolutely focus on finding a job, don’t do it at the expense of taking care of yourself. There are so many organizations that can help you to find work, but many of these organizations also focus on career counseling and training for specific skills, as well as working on your resume and just getting you ready to re-enter the workforce.
Having those resources at your fingertips can make a big difference in how well you’re able to transition back to civilian life. It’s easy to be prideful or to think that your military experience will help you to handle civilian life again with ease, but there is no shame in reaching out for help along the way. When you do, you’re more likely to land a career faster, but you don’t have to compromise your overall wellbeing just to find a job.
About the Author: Sam Bowman writes about people, tech, wellness and how they merge. He enjoys getting to utilize the internet for community without actually having to leave his house. In his spare time he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.