Leaving the service in the pursuit of a civilian job can be daunting. After being apart of the military for quite some time it can be challenging to leave the uniform in the closet. Although employment opportunities for veterans have improved over the years, it can still be difficult to land a job. In April of 2015, veterans had an unemployment rate of 6.9% compared to non-veterans with a rate of 4.9%. However, using the right tips, any veteran will be able to claim victory as they transition into the civilian working world.

Prepare Yourself

The job hunt is no easy task. Job hunting can take anywhere from a few months or even years. It can even become more challenging when a job requires a post-secondary education that you put on the back burner. Set yourself short-term and long-term goals and stick with them. For example, a short-term goal could be reorganizing your resume and a long-term goal could be going back to school to get a bachelors.

To show your experience, training, and military service to possible employers, print out copies of your Report of Separation and Verification of Military Experience and Training. Along with that, be sure to include any transcripts detailing any military training or coursework you may have completed. All of these things will be helpful in filling out your resume.

Showcase Your Character

While it is important to document your certifications and experiences, employers are looking to see how you have applied your skills in real life situations. Use your cover letter, resume, and interview as a way for you to illustrate that you have the skills that employers are looking for. Emphasize any situations where you took the lead or how you created a solution when no one else did.

Reach Out and Network

After leaving the military, don’t be afraid to reach out to family, friends, or old comrades. Any one of your connections can lead you to your next job. If you are still having trouble with networking, you can turn to the help of numerous groups and organizations that support veterans in their job search. Veterans Support Organization, America Wants You, AMVETS are a few other options.

Although finding a civilian job can be intimidating if you treat it like a mission you will be able to succeed. Preparing yourself, showcasing your character, and expanding your network will all help you in taking the next step in your career.

Originally published at michaelgsheppard.net on December 28, 2018.