Preparing for a Civilian Career

Explore Career Options


Military service equips individuals with valuable training, experience and skills. And while some service members know exactly what they want to do in civilian life, most have an incomplete understanding of the full range of appealing jobs and careers into which they could transition. So it’s worth spending some time exploring your options.

Self Assessment

Naturally, some thoughtful reflection on your military service, other work experiences, training, skills, strengths, interests, favorite (and least favorite) jobs, ambitions and lifestyle preferences will lead you to solid ideas about the types of jobs and careers you would like to pursue after leaving the military. You should also be open to new opportunities that are different from your current job.

Some career-focused conversations can also help you identify the most desirable civilian careers. For example, contacting former commanding officers or military colleagues who have already left the service can lead to especially insightful conversations about civilian job options and the opportunities that might suit you best.

Take A Broad View

One of the most common mistakes that departing military members make is to accept a limited view of their job and career options. Skills acquired while serving in one role in the military may equip you for a wide variety of jobs in the civilian world.

For example, a member of a military motor pool doesn’t have to limit their job search or career planning to automotive or transportation companies. Their mechanical skills may make them great matches for jobs at manufacturers, heavy equipment companies, construction companies, shipping/distribution companies and other businesses focused on machinery.

Similarly, any individual who has been involved in the boundless logistics of the U.S. armed forces could be well suited to careers in Maryland’s large and flourishing cargo and distribution sector. Think of the activities of the Port of Baltimore, Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport or the growing number of distribution centers – such as Amazon, UnderArmour and Rite Aid – along the I-95 corridor.

Search widely for career options. There are more suitable and desirable opportunities than you think.


Assorted services and websites can enhance this process with tools that assess your interests, skills and work values in order to propose potentially suitable and desirable careers.



  • The U.S. Department of Labor website – – provides a wealth of resources, including skills and interest assessments, career profiles, training information, job search strategies and connections to local job boards, apprenticeship programs and networking resources. The site also links to the Veteran and Military Transition Center – a one-stop service for transitioning service members looking for employment, training or financial assistance.
  • CareerScope® – – offers veterans, transitioning service members and their spouses a free online assessment. Developed by the Vocational Research Institute, Career Scope has proven to be an effective yet easy-to-use career assessment tool.
  • My Next Move – – enables veterans and transitioning military to explore career options, various industries and job opportunities that mesh with their military experience and civilian aspirations. The site was created by O*NET – a source of occupational information developed under sponsorship from the U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA).
  • Futurelearncareers – –  free browser for advanced career search that will match your education and skills. Search for any job and receive all the skills, education/courses, specifications, and average salary.