Tips for Transitioning into the Civilian Workforce

In using the term “Returning Vets”, we are referring to all those veterans who have returned to civilian life after 2002.  This includes troops that served in the war zones and those who served as support forces wherever they were assigned.

Those who have been home for more than a year and are still trying to find a job that will pay the bills have many horror stories to tell.  Those who are just coming back after long deployments have heard the stories and wonder what they will do if their buddies have been unsuccessful.  The lingo of the workplace has changed in your absence and the first thing you need to do is to get up to speed on what the new words mean.  You may be perfectly qualified for a position and not even know it.

Samples of Jobs and the Skill Sets Needed

The job types listed below are probably some that you are perfectly suited to do even if you have a disability that you can work around.

  • Personal Assistant – In general, all personal assistants are organizers for their boss.  They are expected to keep him up to date on information that he will need during the day or week.  You will need to be able to take accurate notes at meetings, know how to use the internet to find the best travel deals and arrangements to any given location and make sure that the work that your boss assigns to others is being handled in a timely manner with completion as scheduled.
  • Project Management – A project manager plans the project for the business and sees that the project is completed on time.  The most important skills that are needed to do this job is the ability to realize when a part of the plan is failing and being able to modify it quickly.  Honesty, confidentiality, team work and the ability to motivate a team are essential ingredients to performing well.  There are some businesses that require that you develop proposals for clients if the project involves outside investors.  However, not all projects require this and you can get help from someone in your office that has experience with this particular skill if necessary.
  • Substitute Teacher – Nearly all schools in the United States hire Substitute Teachers with no degrees or experience in teaching required.  While this is only an on-call position, you could still work up to 4 days a week on a fairly regular basis.  This would become an additional skill to add to your resume as you seek a more permanent position.

Converting Military Experience into Civilian Skill Sets 

Here are ideas to get you started in determining what skills you have that contribute to making a company profitable.

  • Team Player – all military personnel excel as team players!  You have superior team player skills over anyone else applying for the position of your choice.  Too many applicants coming out of college or that have previous experience in the civilian job market never mention that they are a “team player”.  Yet, this is one of the most important skills that every business looks for when deciding to interview or hire.
  • Management skills – supervising others, overseeing plans or movements of others, and making sure that everyone was accounted for are part of management duties.  For an example of general management skills you can review information about the Burger King application for management. Others include the ability to motivate or inspire others to get things accomplished in an efficient manner, modifying plans to avert failure when the plans run up against a hitch and developing loyalty among your colleagues are all part of the many skills you used daily regardless of your particular MOS.

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