Making the Transition from Military to Civilian Career

If you come from a military background, searching and interviewing for a civilian job can be a foreign experience. Here are some tips for making the transition easier when looking for the career that’s made just for you.

  • In the military, you probably received evaluations during your service. This is a valuable resource in showing your worth; bring those evaluations with you so employers can review them.
  • Also bring your honorable discharge certificate when interviewing. Interviewers may need to make a copy of the certificate and not having it readily available could delay the hiring process.
  • In addition to the above, always bring a copy of your DD214 when interviewing. The DD214 lists all of your military information and, as with previous items, an employer may need a copy of it. Be sure you never give out the original.
  • When interviewing for a civilian job, refrain from using military jargon. Interviewers could misunderstand terms that only other military personnel know.
  • Be honest! As a military professional, you have skills that you can be proud of. But don’t oversell yourself, either. Many employers are happy to train you if you don’t have a required skill. Good employers hire ideal candidates based on attitude, aptitude and motivation, so there is no reason to lie.
  • Don’t forget to network. In the civilian world, finding a job is often achieved through the network of people you already know. Join industry organizations, attend local career fairs, and visit the local workforce center. This will expose you to individuals with connections to the companies that are hiring and that you want to work for.
  • Check out existing military job boards, tailored especially for individuals transferring out of the military.

The transition from soldier to civilian has its challenges, but they don’t have to be obstacles. Now that you are in the driver’s seat in shaping your career, there are many resources waiting to be tapped. Good luck with your job search and most of all, find something you love to do!

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