If you’re near the end of your military service career, it’s time to start thinking about your next step in life. Making the transition from military member to a regular civilian can be a challenge, but if you plan ahead and set some goals, you can find success after you’ve retired your uniform and the soldier’s life. The Department of Veteran’s Affairs offers programs for people making the change, so it’s important to take advantage of the offerings and reach out. Here are important steps you should follow when leaving the military.
Choose Your Home Base
First, you need to decide where you will live after your military service. As an enlisted soldier, you may have gotten used to being deployed or stationed in areas all over the world. While moving around and seeing different places is exciting, it’s now time to stay in one place and put down your roots. Do some research about where you want to settle down. Choose a place that provides plenty of employment opportunities and a lower cost of living. Here are some of the top places to live in the country.
Build a Network of Support
It’s also important for your future success to have some sort of network of friends and family available after you leave the military. If you’ve been serving for many years, you may be leaving a large number of friends and colleagues behind. Consider moving to a location where you have family nearby so you don’t feel alone. Connect with other former military members you know who have made the leap to civilian life.
People transitioning out of the military can also take advantage of some of the educational opportunities available to veterans. Service members are eligible for a variety of veteran education benefits. The government offers options such as the GI Bill or the Yellow Ribbon Program to help with the cost of college tuition and fees. These programs can help lower the cost of education, giving you access to college degrees to help you get closer to a successful career after the military.
Revise Your Resume
If you’re ready to begin your civilian job search, you’ll need to update your resume for the field you’re aiming for. Some military members have never written a resume, so if you have to start from scratch, consider getting some resume writing help. Instead of writing a general resume that could be used for a variety of jobs, customize your resume for each position you apply for. Write a personalized cover letter to go with each job application to increase your hiring potential.
If you’ve narrowed down your job search to a specific field or position type, check out the required qualifications before sending in your application. Many jobs today have a list of technical requirements or certifications. Your military service may not have included learning these essential skills, so you may need to take some time to update your knowledge. Enroll in online certification classes for the required skills and level the playing field.
Network With the Federal Government
Many former military members find work after their service with the federal government. Working in a federal agency gives people with military experience a sense of familiarity and security. In the federal government, you can get access to excellent benefits and job security, depending on your position. You can also secure a good salary with a consistent schedule of cost of living raises to plan for a successful financial future.
Look for a Civilian Career
The last essential tip for success to former military members is to look for a civilian career that is similar to their service assignment. Research your old role in the military and analyze your previous daily responsibilities. Review what skills you used in your years of service to see what you’re capable of. In many cases, you can find a similar role in the private sector that utilizes the same skills you have expertise in. This way, when you make the change from a military member to a civilian, you’ll feel prepared and capable in your new job.
Success is in your future once you leave the military if you have a solid plan. Be proactive and take charge of your next steps by working to plan this next chapter.