How to Start a New Career Path as a Veteran: The Complete Guide


Unlike other professions, you are not always retired when you are a veteran. You are merely retired from active military service. This puts you in a difficult situation of adjusting and starting again, but with the right strategies and mindset, this can be the perfect opportunity to take your skills and your passions and make a real, thriving career for yourself.

Start a new career, start a new business. The choice is yours, and with this guide, you’ll be able to build the blocks of your success:

Choosing What You Want to Do

Possibly the biggest barrier to starting your new career is choosing what you want to do. The biggest pitfall you can fall into is to select the first thing available, rather than considering what you can do with your skillset, or what your passions are.

If necessary, you can completely start from the ground up. You can create a career in an entirely new industry you have no experience in and succeed because at the end of the day you have some truly laudable skills under your belt. From time management to discipline, these are very transferable skills that will help you succeed anywhere.

You don’t need to choose and lock in your career, either. You can find a job that pays the bills and then explore your interests until you find something that clicks.

You can do this by taking free online courses until you find something that you are interested in and want to pursue. If you are interested in working with your hands, there are workshops and even online classes you can take to try it out and get a feel for it before really trying to pursue it.

What is important is that you find something you love and are passionate about. It is a mistake to think the job you go for has to be something you love. Social workers, for example, would be hard-pressed to say that they love their jobs. What they are, however, is passionate about their work. They believe in what they do. Find that thing that you are passionate about, and you’ll have a great career ahead of you.

Four Ways to Start a Career in a New Industry

There are four main ways you can use to start a career in a new industry. Of course, if you know someone who is happy to take you on and train you, this is a great option to ease you into a different kind of workday and to build up your skillset in the commercial sector.

If you don’t, then you have these four options to look into:

Leverage Your Skillset

You will be surprised at how many industries can use your existing skillset. A weapons or explosives expert can work in the entertainment industry, for example. Between special effects, sound design, and even prop supervising, there are many great options to choose from – and they want you.

Personal defense jobs, security jobs, and other similar careers are all ideal choices for those looking to use their existing skillset in the private sectors.


Internships are highly problematic. Apprenticeships, however, are great choices if you are looking to get involved in the trades. Yes, you will need to take units and earn credits to qualify for a state license in most cases, but apprenticeships are wonderful ways to work, learn on the job, and get involved in a well-paid industry.

With an Entry-Level Position

It can feel degrading to apply to entry-level positions but think of this more as opening the door. Once you are in, you can showcase your skills and quickly get repositioned where you are most valuable. At the very least, use the time to network and to build your connections in the industry that you want to work in.

With a Degree

The last way to kickstart your new career is with a full-on degree. Master’s degrees, in particular, are excellent for giving you the knowledge and skills you need to apply and work in mid to senior-level positions.

To make the most out of the opportunity, try to get a degree that would allow you to apply for a position in a growing market. In 2020, the best job to get involved in is public and global health policy, and that job growth is only expected to expand as more institutions realize the importance of the position.

You can qualify for that degree from Victoria University Online with any bachelor’s recognized in Australia, with a relevant Graduate Diploma, or with approved relevant career experience, so if you worked in a similar role in the military, you could use that to leverage you into an exciting new career immediately.

Working Your Way Up: Your Options

Getting your foot in the door is a great first step, and working hard will help you go far, but to really make your career your own you should also consider using these three tips to get you to your goals:


It is, and always will be, about who you know. People inherently prefer to hire and talk to the people that they already know. By networking and building up a list of connections in the industry you want to work in, you make it easy to take advantage of any opportunities that crop up. Stay in touch on social media, or LinkedIn, and you’ll be able to grow your connections naturally and over time.

Ongoing Education

A degree can help propel you into a new niche industry or job role, but if you want to be the best and convince everyone around you that you deserve the top-level position you need to always be on the hunt to learn.

  • Online courses
  • Online workshops
  • Conferences
  • Talks
  • And more

Building Up Your Own Audience

Finally, remember that you can always work to build up your own audience and make a brand out of yourself. This is the best way to start your own business, even if you aren’t ready to take the plunge just yet. By keeping a website, staying social online, and growing your niche audience, you can make opportunities for yourself.

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