Preparing for a Civilian Career

Boost Your Potential

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Once you have honed your ideas about the kinds of jobs or career you want to pursue, boost your potential to land those opportunities by doing some further preparation.

Research potential employers and job openings

By beginning this research nine to 12 months before exiting the military, you can accomplish more than identifying some companies to target in your job search. You can develop a deeper understanding of the types of job opportunities that exist in your chosen career path and the skills that employers are seeking in applicants. With that knowledge and nearly a year of military service remaining, you can augment your skills and hone your resume to improve your chances to land the job you really want.

The Internet, of course, provides tons of information about employers – including information on company websites, LinkedIn pages, Twitter accounts, YouTube channels and other social media. Check out articles about those employers in industry publications or commentary about them on career sites, such as monster.com.

Enhance Your Skills

Your research into career options, job openings and potential employers may reveal some areas where you could benefit from some additional training, certifications or other job skills. By starting to plan your civilian career nine to 12 months before leaving military service, you can lay plans to enhance those skills (possibly even before you transition out) and boost your ability to land the civilian job you desire. Some steps that can assist this process include:

  • Identify training programs that will provide you with exactly the skills you seek. You may even find some colleges and universities provide some low-cost or no-cost courses to transitioning military and veterans.
  • If your future career plans hinge on using professional certifications that you earned in the military (such as heavy equipment operator or medical technician), find out how to transfer those certifications for use as a civilian. Some states readily accept some military certifications. But in some states and for some certifications, you may need to provide background documentation, complete proficiency tests or meet other standards. Your TAP advisor or the state department of labor can provide details.
  • Consider doing an internship. Service members can participate in unpaid internships while still in uniform and many employers offer short internships to transitioning military. It can be an excellent opportunity to gain exposure to your chosen civilian career, enhance your skills, build your network and possibly even set the stage for a job offer.