National Guardsman salutes the flag.

4 Tips for Transition and Career Success

Making the transition into civilian life is exciting, but does take preparation. Make sure you are well-prepared by following these four tips.

  1. Maximize your individual transition plan:

    Make the most of your individual transition plan, or ITP. It's your transition road map, and you will receive information on developing one during pre-separation counseling. If used correctly, your ITP will help guide you through tough decisions like your next career move, financial goals or continuing your education. Develop your plan with care and thought toward your goals and objectives for any areas of your life affected by the transition. Update and refine action steps to help keep you focused on your goals.

  2. Stay motivated:

    Bring your "can-do" attitude to this next step in life. Approach civilian life with the same strength, curiosity and courage with which you carried out your military mission.

  3. Practice networking:

    Transition assistance programs emphasize the importance of networking as a way to find out about job opportunities. Networking simply means seeking out people who may be able to help you with advice, job leads and contacts, and then letting them know about you and your employment goals. Networking involves promoting yourself and asking for help — two skills that you can easily learn. The more you practice networking with friends, current or former colleagues, and acquaintances, the better you'll get.

  4. Show confidence:

    Take time to recognize and appreciate the scope of knowledge, skills and abilities you acquired in the military. It will be easier to present yourself to any prospective employer when you show confidence in your military experience. Not only do you have exceptional technical skills and training, you've also mastered the military traits of good discipline, teamwork, leadership and the ability to put mission first. Employers value these qualities in applicants regardless of the nature of the work.

Prepare for your entry into the civilian world starting with these suggestions. They will help make for a successful transition.