Hiring Our Hero poster.

12 Ways to Land That Civilian Job

You've proven your commitment, discipline and resourcefulness in the military world. Now it's time to trade in your experience for a great job. Just like everything, it's all about readiness and attitude. Start early. Be prepared. Go for it. 

  1. First step, verify yourself. Your Verification of Military Experience and Training summarizes your skills, knowledge and experience, and suggests civilian equivalent job titles. Get yours through the Department of Defense at the Transition GPS website.
  2. Get a career assessment. You have considerable strengths and skills. Now, how can they be applied to a civilian job? A career assessment can point the way. Military installation Transition Centers can set you up with a test at no cost. 
  3. Translate your experience into Civilian. Your military licenses or certifications might not be recognizable to the civilian world. Search your service branch's Credentialing Opportunities Online site to learn how to translate training and experience into skills employers recognize. 
  4. Assess, repeat. Narrow your search to a few career fields, check salary information and common skill requirements. Decide on the type of job, pay range and location you're willing to accept. But don't pigeon-hole yourself. If you're not making headway, adjust your expectations or explore new options.
  5. Get out there. Take advantage of every opportunity: recruiters, military transition offices, even old-school help wanted ads. Contact your nearest employment office or private employment agencies (make sure you know who's paying). Check Internet job sites—but watch it. Get recommendations about trustworthy sites.
  6. Tap your transition assistance offices. Take an employment workshop. Get referrals for employment agencies and recruiters, job leads, career counseling and computer access for online job searches. Transition assistance offices have a wealth of services.
  7. Look good online. Employers check social media almost immediately when they're thinking of hiring. Do you need to remove material that makes you look like a bad hire? Get a grown-up email address? How about creating or updating your profile on LinkedIn? 
  8. Hit the job fairs. This is one-stop shopping. Meet potential employers, pass out resumes and interview on the spot, all in one place. Look sharp and practice your interview skills beforehand. Learn about upcoming job fairs and who will be there at your transition office as well as online.
  9. Go from military to Fed. Find civilian jobs online with the federal government through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. You can also create an account and build your resume at USAJOBS. Brush up on the website's process before submitting your resume by taking the online workshop for federal employment and searching for TGPS courses.
  10. Be a civilian in the military. Find civilian jobs online through the Air Force Civilian Service, Navy Civilian Human Resources or Civilian Personnel Online for the Army.
  11. Network, then network some more. Networking is one of the most effective of all job search tools. You've made a lot of great connections during your time in the service. Transition is the right time to start putting them to work. Get in touch with friends and fellow veterans. It's just a good thing anyway to re-establish friendships as you transition. 
  12. Take advantage of your status. Many organizations are committed to helping veterans find a good job. Look for groups with programs such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Hiring Our Heroes initiative. Check out organizations like Soldier for Life, Marine for Life, the Military Officers Association of America, Non Commissioned Officers Association or Enlisted Association, and United Service Organizations.

Your military experience is valuable to many employers. Not many people have your proven work ethic and dedication. Like everything, finding the right job is a matter of being prepared and doing the work. You're in the military. You know how to make that happen. And there are lots of people and resources who want to back you up.