10 Tips for Transitioning from the Military to a Civilian Job

by on April 19, 2017 in Career Advice, Job Search Tips, Outside-In®, Workforce


In addition to being an act of bravery and sacrifice, serving in the military is an opportunity for personal growth. Military personnel learn countless valuable skills, but once their tours end, many struggle to translate these skills into success in the civilian job market. Through the following tips, you can be just as successful outside of the military as you were in it:


  1. Assess Your Skills

Review all the skills you learned in the military and review civilian jobs to see which of your skills are transferable. For example, if you served on a base in Spain, you probably learned some Spanish. This skill could open the doors to work in interpretation, multilingual writing, diplomacy, or any number of other fields.


  1. Identify Qualitative Strengths

Military personnel learn how to communicate precisely, manage their time, improvise, work autonomously, and other skills that are valuable but hard to measure. Emphasize these skills in your resume and in interviews.


  1. Focus on Solutions

When developing a LinkedIn profile, identify specific problems you know how to solve. Present the ability to solve these problems, rather than generalized skill descriptions, to employers.


  1. Conduct Research

Research new business practices and economic trends. For example, whereas employers once frowned upon workers who took their phones out during meetings, many now encourage employees to obtain useful information on their smartphones in conferences. The better you adapt to trends like these, the easier it is to work in a respectful but efficient way.


  1. Adjust Your Jargon

Employers and coworkers communicate in different ways than officers and soldiers do. You should practice using civilian time, addressing people by first name or civilian job title rather than by MOS rank, and explaining concepts without military shorthand.


  1. Attend Adjustment Programs

The Transition Assistance Program (TAP) and other adjustment services help retired military personnel learn career search and application skills. By attending one, you benefit from decades of experience helping soldiers transition to successful civilian careers.


  1. Find Military Friendly Employers

Look for employers who have served in the military themselves or hire large numbers of employees who have. Not only can these employers aid in your transition, but they can more easily understand your background and skills. Placers Staffing will help you identify such employers in your area.


  1. Network with Experienced Recruiters

Look for recruiters, headhunters, and employment agencies like Placers that have extensive experience working with former military personnel. They can connect you to promising employers and provide other resources to aid your transition.


  1. Social Networks

Use LinkedIn and other networks to connect with employers and contacts who might help you find a job. These include fellow soldiers, civilian contractors, and others who worked with you during service.


  1. Set Clear Goals

Once you’ve completed the tips above, put together short-term and long-term career goals. This will make it easier to determine whether you are succeeding and adjust your strategy accordingly.
Starting a civilian career after military service is challenging, but with the right guidance, you can easily translate your many skills into success. Placers Staffing agency is committed to providing this guidance to all who have served their country. For more information on succeeding in the civilian market, contact us today!

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