Leaving the military is like leaving home for the first time. Upon discharge, service members are faced with the question of: "What's next?"


Tip of the Week

Leaving the military is like leaving home for the first time. Upon discharge, service members are faced with the question of: "What's next?"

Some service members obtain their degree while in the military and have their sights set on a career path prior to transitioning into the civilian sector. Many others, though, are undecided on their post-military career, including a lack of knowing which type of degree will lead them to a career that aligns with the skills developed during their military tenure.

It is important to note that experts recommend service members begin the transition process from military to civilian life as early as two years before being discharged.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job demand in the fields of health care, information security, scientific research, law enforcement and financial services will be especially strong over the next decade. There are many resources for members of the military who are looking for assistance with discovering what career options are available. Some options include:

• Military Skills Translator Tool: Military members become proficient in many tasks during their time in the service, but understanding how those skills translate to civilian jobs is not always easy. University of Phoenix created a Military Skills Translator Tool, which takes a service member's military occupational specialty code and provides a list of civilian occupations that correlates to the job skills sets the service member held while in the military.

• Transitional Assistance Program: The U.S. Department of Labor's Transitional Assistance Program is designed to provide soon-to-be discharged or retired service members helpful education and workshops on job searches, resume and cover letter writing, interviewing techniques as well as decisions that might need to be made relating to career choices.

In addition to identifying a career, service members will need to know how to communicate their military skills and training into civilian terms during the job search and interview process. Don’t use a lot of acronyms, and instead promote universal skills like leadership, management, cooperation, teamwork and strategic thinking. Include them in the cover letter and resume, alongside all technical skills learned.

Once in the interview, be respectful of the interviewer, but also relax. Military personnel tend to be very direct and straightforward, but the civilian business world is open to more casual and conversational interactions.

— Brandpoint