10 Tips for Veterans and Servicemembers in Transition
The success and failure of 3,000 Onward To Opportunity veterans were captured to help the next cohort of transitioning servicemembers succeed. These practical tips capture what they learned and what “they wish they knew”.
1. Start early
Even while in uniform you’re able to start identifying what career you want after the military. This helps you find the right career and also avoid some dead-end jobs. Importantly it allows you to start getting some industry training while you’re still in uniform to better prepare you for the job market after the military.
2. What salary do you need?
Often times getting a job is not the hard part. It is getting a salary that will allow you to support your family. After the military you don’t have medical care and uniform allowances. Everything is now being paid out of your paycheck. You need to have a good understanding of what salary you want to achieve to comfortably support your family. This is going to help you select career fields that will get you there
3. Select a high demand and high growth career field
This ensures you can get hired right out of the military but also that there are growth opportunities for you within that career healed. Some examples include cybersecurity, IT, web services, robotics, and advanced manufacturing, and Salesforce.
4. Take a really hard look at IT
Other veterans have found that there are a lot of training programs around to help veterans into IT career fields. They also have discovered that IT careers pay family wages and create a lot of opportunities for advancement – especially for military veterans who also bring leadership characteristics to the workforce.
5. Location or Career?
Many veterans choose a career certification, but then move to a location where those jobs are not plentiful. Make this decision considering both career and location. If you select a career certification, it’s best for veterans to remain open about location and see what places are available in their chosen career field before they get to constrictive on location.
6. Which employer?
Looking at employers is a very smart way to increase the success of your transition. Identifying employers that are actively looking for Veterans’ increases your chances of success. Additionally, you can identify the top employers in your chosen career field and this will bring you focus and efficiency in your transition process looking at employers is a very smart way to increase the success of your transition. Identifying employers that are actively looking for veterans increases your chances of success. Additionally, you can identify the top employers in your chosen career field and this will bring you focus and efficiency in your transition process.
7. Do I need training?
One of the biggest barriers that Veterans cite in their transition is a lack of industry-specific skills and training. Getting this training while still in uniform or as a veteran greatly increases your chances of success to get hired into your new career field. In addition, there are many programs available to get certification for veterans such as onward to opportunity. With training and certification, many veterans have found employers lining up to hire them.
8. Should I use my GI Bill?
Look carefully as you select a training and certification program. Many out there are subsidized by donors or employers and don’t require you to use your G.I. Bill. That would keep it available for you to get advanced education or to pass it along to your dependents.Did you know that Onward to Opportunity is Free and does NOT require your G.I. Bill? Learn more.
Most veterans don’t get jobs from job boards. Networking is the big secret. As you’re approaching your transition it’s time will spent to increase your network and also tap into your network of veterans going ahead of you to better understand a particular career field. They can not only help you decide what career but also give you insights to better prepare yourself.
10. Establish your civilian personal brand
While there are many programs to help translate military skills, but there are few that support vets in learning to communicate that translation effectively. Veterans face multiple hiring disadvantages from stereotypes in the civilian world perpetuated by Hollywood and the media. Veterans have been trained to act as a unit and are in need of training and guidance in the art of self-promotion. A personal brand is an operating system veterans will use throughout their entire career. Look for programs like Onward To Opportunity to develop your personal brand.