Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Transitioning from Active Duty to Civilian Employment: Beginning with the Job Search, Explore Options That Relate to Your Military Experience and Strengths but Also Your Interests and Positive Personality Traits

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Transitioning from Active Duty to Civilian Employment: Beginning with the Job Search, Explore Options That Relate to Your Military Experience and Strengths but Also Your Interests and Positive Personality Traits

Article excerpt

Retiring or discharging from active duty can be stressful, and joining the civilian workforce can be intimidating. According to the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense report 2012, there are almost 1.4 million active duty service members serving in the armed forces which equates to approximately .4 percent of the total United States population. Therefore the likelihood that a retired or former active duty military member will be working with civilians is high. Just as there is a learning curve when joining the military, there is a learning curve when transitioning into civilian employment.

EXPECTATIONS

Just as it took time to learn the job and culture of active duty; it will take time to transition to civilian expectations. Beginning with the job search, explore options that relate to your military experience and strengths but also your interests and positive personality traits. Talk with a Veteran Affairs representative regarding how your job skills translate into language civilian employers will understand, or use tools such as CareerOneStop's Military-to-Civilian Occupation Translator (link in the Resources section of this article). Also, it is likely that finding employment will take some work; you will not be offered a job solely based on being a former active duty member. Attending employment fairs, utilizing professional connections on social media (ex. LinkedIn), and searching websites can be time consuming, yet a necessary component in finding the right fit for you.

Resume Expectations: There are many websites that can assist with resume writing, review, and tips for a comprehensive overview of your skills (Monster, CareerBuilder, Indeed, Simplyhired). Most employers will be looking for your skills that match the need of the position, achievements, special certifications or specific qualifications. If you are applying for a position a significant distance away from your current residence, let the potential employer know that you are willing to relocate for the job. Employers might check your online social media sites, so be sure to review the content before your potential employers view it. You can also use social media to your advantage by creating a professional profile on LinkedIn or other employment sites to create connections and professional opportunities.

Interview Expectations: Interviews can evoke some anxiety, but remember that the employer was interested in your qualifications and wants to know more about your skills and personality when calling you in for an interview. Practice your posture, eye contact, volume, and answering questions with your spouse, friend or in the mirror to work out some of your nervousness. Being prepared is key; research the company you are interviewing with, have three to five questions prepared for them, and review often asked questions in an interview https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-answer-the-31-mostcommon-interview-questions

Job Expectations: Congratulations, you are hired. Now what? Hopefully, the expectations of the position itself were clear, but there are other areas that can be difficult to navigate when transitioning from military to civilian employment. Learning the culture of that specific organization, company, office, or work center can take time. Interactions with colleagues may feel different in terms of verbal and non-verbal language, hierarchy, management style, and expectations of punctuality, productivity, and social interactions outside of work. It would be advisable to take time to observe your colleagues and employers before offering feedback.

Language Expectations: When speaking to civilian colleagues, make sure to use professional language that is understandable in the setting. Avoid using terminology that is only used in the military or in your position when you were active duty. Find alternatives that are able to convey the same meaning but with different words. For example: using the words to describe your team (ie. …

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