August 30, 2016, by Tiffany Rowe – The U.S. military has an outstanding marketing strategy that entails depicting military service as thrilling and character-building while preparing its members for the world outside. In more than one advertisement, the military touts its veterans’ ability to turn their military experience into a civilian career after their service commitment ends; they claim the military provides the hard and soft skills employers are desperately seeking, so a military background is a significant boon for job seekers.
It’s true that many of the abilities veterans learn during their service can apply to civilian careers, but the reality of finding a job after serving in the military is much different than marketing materials make it seem. According to a survey by Prudential Financial, nearly half of service members feel unprepared for their transition into the typical American workforce, and more than two-thirds found their entry into civilian life more difficult due to their confused employment situation.
Still, it is possible to apply skills and knowledge learned in military service to great effect in the American work environment ― as long as you know how to do it properly. This guide should help you (or the service member you know) transition into civilian employment as smoothly and successfully as possible.
Try TAP and VETS
The military is indebted to the love and loyalty of its veterans, and to repay that debt in part, it offers a number of programs to help vets move from the armed forces to the workforce. The most extensive, Transition Assistance Program (TAP) from the Department of Defense, is designed to provide a wealth of resources for service members and families to make every aspect of the transition easier. There is a specific TAP program for each branch of the military, and spouses have particular materials they can access, as well. TAP provides assistance with completing additional education, finding a job in public or private sectors, and even starting your own business.
The Department of Labor also boasts a program for integrating veterans, appropriately called Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS). VETS provides much-needed counseling as well as career advice and guidance. Additionally, employers can use VETS to find worthy job candidates, making the hiring process easier for both sides.
Identify and Assess Your Interests and Abilities
For any job-seeker, this is potentially the most difficult step. Before you look for work, you should fully understand your career needs and wants, as well as what you can contribute to your future job. You might find it beneficial to listen to a former military speaker, like Robert O’Neill, to help you determine where your strengths lie and learn how they transition to civilian life. However, though your most recent experience might be in the military, you can draw upon previous experiences to help you identify your true interests and abilities.
Adapt Your Experience to Corporate Language
For civilians, military jargon is largely indecipherable, so explaining your knowledge and skills using the lingo you did while in service is not the best way to get a job. In fact, you may also need to modify your body language to better fit in the corporate world. If you struggle to translate your experience into regular parlance, you might ask a non-military loved one to tutor you and review your application materials during your job search.
Locate Military-Friendly Employers
It is important for all job-seekers to research and understand their employers, but for ex-service members, it can make all the difference. Some companies are much more military-friendly than others, providing a more sympathetic and supportive environment for vets. Typically, these include organizations that serve the military or veterans, such as USAA or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, but a handful of private businesses also pride themselves on their openness to military service, and it doesn’t hurt to ask during the application process.
Take Advantage of Your Network
Aside from programs like TAP and VETS, the military provides an excellent network for its members to use after service ends. Friends and acquaintances within the armed forces can connect vets with potential employers, making the job search short and simple. Even better, you might find your way to a recruiter or headhunter that specializes in post-military employment, like Lucas Group and Bradley Morris. The more you can outsource your job-seeking efforts, the faster and easier it will be to transition into civilian life.
About the Author: Tiffany Rowe is a marketing administrator who assists in contributing resourceful content throughout the World Wide Web. Tiffany prides herself in her strong ability to provide high quality content that readers will find valuable. She enjoys connecting with other bloggers and collaborating for exclusive content in various niches. Her hobbies include Yoga, photography, D.I.Y crafting and a new interest in dog training.