A military service member's transition from active duty to civilian life after discharge might be shocking. The civilian world is not the same as the military world anymore. As a result, getting used to how things work can take some time, especially regarding job searches in the civilian employment market.
This is an issue for many veterans, and as a result, many veterans who start working in the civilian employment sector frequently switch jobs until they find something that makes them feel comfortable, like their former military service. However, many cannot follow the correct path and are often lost in achieving financial stability in the civilian world.
It might be challenging to shift from military service life to civilian life. According to the same Pew Research Center poll, 48% of veterans who served after 9/11 reported finding the transition to civilian life very tough or moderately challenging.
Veterans might not immediately find a good fit even if they land a job in the civilian job market. As per the research by VetAdvisor and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families, 43% of veteran respondents stayed in their first civilian employment for fewer than 12 months, and more than 80% did so for less than two years.
In this article, I'll talk about the challenges veterans encounter while the military-to-civilian career transition and the steps/resources that may help them to achieve financial stability.
Civilians may be unaware of the difficulties of leaving active duty as military personnel and returning to civilian life.
Here, we focus on a few of these difficulties. Veterans might have a hard time with the following:
During their absences, the families might have established new life patterns and set new rules for working day-to-day activities. This is one of the most prevailing reasons for military divorce. Both the Veteran and their family must understand the adjustments for coping with it.
The military aids military men and their families to settle into new bases and posts. When military personnel leaves active duty, this facility is often not immediately implemented. The Veterans and their family should search for new ways to create social communities or join the existing ones as new members.
If they had a military career, a Veteran might not have ever thought of, applied, or interviewed for a civilian job. He or she will need to learn and master these new talents.
A Veteran will need to figure out how to translate his or her military tasks and talents into civilian terminology and produce a resume while seeking jobs.
Military personnel may not have written a resume for himself/herself before. The military uses a Field Service Record instead of a CV to list education, training, and experience.
A Service Member who deploys with the National Guard or Reserve must get used to returning to their prior employment or another one at the same comparable organization. As soon as three days after leaving a combat zone, some freshly returned Service Members might be seated at a desk.
When vets return to their former work, catching up with the new regime, developing new skills, or adjusting to a new job role may become necessary. Apart from that, it will also become difficult to respond to other social changes at work. So, some veterans returning to the military service also find it difficult to adjust and fear losing their jobs.
The military has a defined chain of command and offers organizational structure. In our civilian world, this does not exist organically. Veterans must develop their own framework or get used to living in a more ambiguous environment.
In the military, having basic necessities provided are common. Still, there is frequently limited flexibility (e.g., vets dine at set times in a specified location, and the duty station decides what they will wear).
Given the limited options available to service members, the variety of choices available to them in civilian life can occasionally be overwhelming.
Veterans don't leave the mission until it is over. Whether the "mission" or task is finished or not, a civilian employee may quit working and go home at 5 o'clock in a private sector organization. Some Veterans may not be aware of this rule and find it confusing.
In contrast to the military's culture of teamwork, the civilian workplace might be far more competitive in the civilian world. Veterans could find it uncomfortable with minor issues while communicating through the business language as they used to communicate more directly in military environments. So they might again start looking for the right job in the career fields.
Finding a doctor, dentist, life insurance, etc., may be new to a veteran. The military previously offered these services.
The paperwork and procedure for accessing benefits and services from the Department of Veterans Affairs may also need to be navigated by a Veteran.
Veterans may experience difficulties transitioning from military to civilian life, particularly when maintaining financial stability. I've gathered some unique advice on a smooth military-to-civilian career transition and achieving financial stability to aid you through this process.
Consider your responsibilities while on active duty and the transferrable abilities you developed there. The hard and soft skills you acquire while serving in the armed forces are useful to find suitable civilian employment.
While soft talents could include things like good customer service, attention to detail, or leadership traits, hard skills include technical knowledge, programming skills, and physical strength. Consider taking a self-assessment test to identify your talents and interests if you have trouble identifying your soft and hard skills.
There are many differences between a veteran and a civilian in terms of communication skills.
As a result, you might start to familiarize yourself with the language used in your preferred civilian industry if you're a veteran to help you blend in. Join LinkedIn groups relevant to your industry and benefit from the discussions. Examine job postings for civil positions that use these terms. Find a mentor who can educate you in the field of your choice for a profession.
Knowing your strengths is one thing, but realizing how your abilities transfer is another thing. Even while you can use your hard and soft talents in various occupations, there are specific sectors that non-active military personnel prefer to favor.
For people who prefer mission-based work, industries like healthcare and education are attractive options, whereas natural leaders may feel more at home in the public sector. By searching online or contacting other veterans who have through the shift themselves, you can learn about the job alternatives that are open to you.
Focus your search on a few professions, then look into income ranges and necessary skills. The U.S. Department of Labor-sponsored CareerOneStop website provides free skill and interest tests, career exploration tools, and more. Additionally, there is a section dedicated to veterans, military spouses, and transitioning service members. Choose the position type, salary range, and geographic area you will accept. But avoid putting yourself in a box. If you're having trouble, change your goals or look into other possibilities.
Numerous organizations are devoted to assisting veterans with transition issues and employment. Make contact with these groups to get help and resources.
According to Kelli Anderson, Career Coach at Resume Seed, these groups frequently present courses on transition. To learn how to conduct an efficient job search, create a CV, and how to crack the interviews, attend these workshops and training programs.
Take a workshop about finding work. Get recommendations for recruiters and employment agencies, job leads, career coaching, and computer access for online job searches. There are many services available at transition aid offices. You may log into the DOL's Transition Assistance Program website for extra resources. Check with your local VA to see if they provide workshops or classes on separation.
For a complete picture of life in the civilian workforce, you must look other than the VA. For further information on the reality of the existing workforce, think about speaking to people outside the industry. Your VA will be able to put you in touch with a Transition Assistance Program that can give you the tools and instruction you need to get ready for this new chapter.
Apart from that, the members of the US Armed Forces have various debt help options available for Veterans, compared to other citizens.
Look for groups and financial institutions that can be helpful with programs for service members, such as:
Even if you feel out of place or lonely at this point in your life, finding a job where your coworkers and management know your background and preferred working methods will smooth the transition. If you're looking for a job, seek organizations that actively promote veterans; you can usually find this information on the "About" part of the employer's website.
Your workplace culture will significantly influence your general well-being. In the military, finding someone to give you feedback or point out your mistakes is easy, but in the civilian world, it can be challenging. Military personnel require direct communication, and companies should be aware of this.
Jobs fairs are one-stop shopping, whether they are physical or online. Meet potential employers, exchange resumes, and conduct on-the-spot interviews in one location. Dress professionally and prepare your interview techniques. Find out through your transition assistance office or online about forthcoming job fairs and who will attend.
One of the best strategies for a job hunt is networking. Throughout your time in the service, you've developed many excellent relationships. The ideal moment to start employing them is during the transition. Contact your friends and other veterans. Reestablishing friendships is a beautiful idea in and of itself as you shift. 70% of jobs are found through networking, according to a 2016 analysis from Yale University and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Make an effort to stand out to get that interview.
Military members are permitted to save a total of 60 days of terminal leave. It's essential to save the entire 60 days for a successful career transfer. The 60 days of paid leave you receive (after you separate) provide a significant financial cushion while you move from a military profession to a civilian one.
According to Dave Haney, CEO of Surety Systems, Inc., a service person might, with good planning, have a civilian job lined up to begin much sooner than 60 days after leaving the military and even have a brief period where they are being paid by both the military and their new civilian employer.
Making a budget is one step veterans may take to secure their financial security as they transition from the military to civilian professions. According to Ranee Zhang, VP of Growth at Airgram, this budget should include savings, income, and expenditures targets. Veterans can better understand their financial alternatives and make a smooth transition into civilian life by researching available veteran benefits, such as the Post-9/11 GI Bill or the VA Home Loan Program.
One step veterans can take to navigate transitioning from military to civilian careers is to invest in themselves. Veterans should invest in their education, skills, and experience, assuming they have at least some financial stability. This will help them stand out as candidates when they apply for jobs and give them an advantage over other applicants.
Samuel Fletcher, Co-founder, SupplyGem, explained that it's also essential that veterans invest in themselves emotionally and mentally by taking time away from work—whether it be a vacation or just a few days off—to recharge their batteries before returning to their jobs.
Maintain good life and health insurance coverage as you transition from a military to a civilian career. Prioritize getting a job offering group life insurance while seeking additional coverages designed specifically for veterans. Individual life insurance coverage with fixed premiums can also provide further financial protection to your family with your demise.
Dr. Willy Portier, Co-founder of Concerty, said that considering health insurance type and adequacy is vital, so you must ensure that your potential employer provides that. Medical costs can cause you to go bankrupt post-military, so select a job that offers sufficient medical coverage for you and your family.
You should also establish a health savings account and contribute regularly to this fund to cover out-of-pocket medical care costs.