The Most Important Skills
You Must Learn
In Order to Succeed In the Civilian World
“Learn how to become wealthy by choosing the right career when you make the transition into the civilian world”
OK you have served in the military for many years and acquired a ton of skills and now you are ready to begin life in the civilian world once again. So, what next? What career are you going to choose? Where do you go and how do you start? Well rumor has it that the contracting industry is where most veterans are making all the big money. Contracting is definitely the way to go if you want to make a lot of money and put those technical, organizational and leadership qualities you acquired in the military to good use.
After most veterans leave the military, they look to establish a new career. Most veterans have an idea where they are headed. For the most part, they want the comfort of knowing that their new career and they want to make sure that it is going to be something stable not a career that just gets you by week to week.
After relocating and traveling in the military, most veterans want to make sure that they are going to be at their new job for a long time and that there is no hopping around and relocating involved.
Veterans are looking for a solid foundation so they can start creating a productive new life for themselves. Many veterans look for careers similar to the jobs they did in the military.
Last year 10,000 active-duty career officers retired. About 100,000 senior enlisted men and women also left. Many find jobs for defense contractors or government agencies - their security clearance opens all doors. Other jobs stand out too.
Many veterans look for jobs that involve problem and solution - teach them something and they can fix any problem. This is why so many veterans end up in logistics. One veteran said he spent 22 years in the Navy before retiring as a master chief petty officer in 2005, when he was in charge of staff and facilities at the Navy's submarine training school. He was not just looking for a job; he was looking for a second career.
That search led him to the logistics team at where he started as a group leader for operations later that year. "Logistics is all about deliverables, so in that sense, it's not a lot different from the military, the retired naval officer said. Crossing over from military life can present challenges, though, so keep these things in mind as you make the transition into the civilian world.
Here some tips to help you:
- Figure what you want to do - Find a career that is similar to the things you learned in the military
- Stop the military talk and adapt to civilian talk - Drop the sirs and ma'ams and try to loosen up a bit in interviews. Get comfortable with the idea of not being addressed as Captain or Colonel.
- Do not feel obligated to stay in your hometown - After spending most of your adult life on the move, you will want to go home. Unfortunately, the job you want is not likely to be there. Look first for the job and then settle on an area you want to live in.
- Don’t’ be afraid to brag a little - Show off what you learned in the military: reliability, ethics and leadership. Stress your ability to motivate younger or lower-level employees. Show it off you earned the right too.
- Figure out how to use your training to impress employers - Chances are, you earned plenty of certificates and took numerous training courses, many of which translate to civilian jobs. That recruiting course, for example, might be equal to an HR certificate in the corporate field.
- It is time to change your image (dress to impress) - Got a friend in the business world? Ask them for help on style. Consider growing your hair out - get rid of the crew cut. Remember that your first impress is your only impression so get help on the attire. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. The dress code in the civilian world is very different from the military world.
Fact to consider:
CNN Money Magazine picked Construction Manager as the job that would be a great fit for veterans. Citing the ease of transition, the applicable skills you already have, and the potential job growth in this field, the magazine encouraged veterans to look into this field. You should also know about the Federal Contractor Program (FCP), because it could lead you to your post-military career.
Federal Contractor Program
Through this program, any contractor or subcontractor that receives a contract of $25,000 or more from the federal government is required to take affirmative action in order to find and employ qualified veterans. This includes special disabled veterans, Vietnam veterans, and recently separated veterans. If you qualify, be sure to check for jobs in this category that are posted with your nearest state job service. This program does not guarantee referred veterans will be hired, but it may get you in the door!
Education and Training Options
For managerial positions like the one recommended by CNN Money, you need all of the skills you gathered in the service and most likely a bachelor's degree. Although real-world skills are essential, if you want to be promoted, you would be wise to obtain an education. Each branch of the service has assistance programs to help you earn your bachelor's degree and you can take classes while you are in the service, even online, free of charge. I know one soldier that just finished her education online and what a difference it made for her. Coursework can lead to a degree and can earn you promotion points. If you have already separated from the service, you can use your Montgomery GI Bill to get your education.