Youth Employment – The Essentials

Student receives training at his summer job on a military installation

A first job is an important milestone in a student’s life. Taking the first steps toward financial independence, as well as making a commitment to an employer, is both exciting and nerve-wracking. With the addition of geographic moves, military youth have their own unique experiences and challenges when it comes to securing employment. Military OneSource provides plenty of resources to help military families assist their teens as they tackle their first job search. Use the resources and strategies below to help your teen take the first steps toward employment success.

Filling out a job application

Your teen can find available jobs on most company websites or by inquiring at the place of business. Teens can also get assistance with their job searches through local teen or youth programs and Military and Family Support Center, which offer knowledgeable staff, classes and computer access. Teaching your teen the basics of completing job applications will help alleviate confusion and anxiety about job searching. Whether your teen will be completing an application at the place of business or a fillable form online, here is the general information requested on applications:

  • Basic information. This information includes name, address and contact information.
  • Available start date. If your teen is heavily involved in extracurricular activities such as basketball or skiing, starting a job in November might not be the right time to put the best foot forward with the employer. Help your teen figure out the optimum time to begin earning extra cash.
  • Hours available to work each week. Before applying for a job, your teen should determine how many hours he or she can work each week and still meet obligations of school work and demands of extracurricular activities and meetings. Help your teen lay out his or her average weekly schedule and determine the work time available within that schedule.
  • Desired salary. This is often minimum wage for entry-level positions.
  • Skills relevant to the job or to being a reliable worker.
  • Resume or cover letter. These items, especially the cover letter, should be customized for each employer and personalized with the hiring manager’s name whenever possible. Even if the application asks for work history, these documents are often requested to be uploaded for online applications.
  • Work history. This information includes company name and phone number, the position held, responsibilities and dates of employment.
  • Education history. Be sure to include school name and type, such as high school or college.
  • References. These can be personal and/or work-related, depending on your teen’s work history. References should always be asked ahead of time if they are comfortable serving as a reference; they should also be alerted to which employers your teen has applied so they are prepared when an employer reaches out for a job reference. In addition to your teen’s relationship to the references, you will need to provide contact information, including phone numbers and email addresses. Your teen should always thank references once a job is obtained.
  • Equal Employment Opportunity and veteran status, as well as self-identification of any disability.

Relevant Articles:

Relevant Resources:

Getting the resume ready.

Make sure your son or daughter has a good resume ready to go. You never know when an employment opportunity will arise and a solid resume allows your child to be ready when opportunities occur. Use Military OneSource and the Department of Labor’s Career OneStop tools to draft the resume, compare formats and styles and explore resume guidelines, tips and samples to ensure your child’s resume looks professional. Teens can also get assistance with resume development or review through local teen or youth programs and Military and Family Support Center.

Relevant Articles:

Relevant Resources:

Completing employment documentation

Employment documentation is confusing for adults, let alone someone facing these documents for the first time. Your child will be asked to complete the following forms in the first day(s) of employment. All of the required documentation should be treated as sensitive information. To avoid identity theft, your child should never email or leave this information with anyone but the hiring manager.

  • Work permit
    • Work permits vary by state, but typically teens between the ages of 14 and 17 will need to acquire work permits. Have your teen consult the high school guidance or counseling office or contact the superintendent’s office.
  • W-4, or Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate
    • This form sets up your child’s federal income tax withholding.
    • The W-4 requires your child’s social security number.
  • I-9, or Employment Eligibility Verification
    • The I-9 requires both proof of identity and authorization to work.
    • This form also requires your child’s social security number.
    • There are many acceptable combinations for employment eligibility verification, but the most common documents used for verification are:
      • Passport only
      • Both a valid driver’s license and birth certificate
    • Your child can find a complete list of acceptable I-9 documentation at

Relevant Articles:

Relevant Resources:

Setting up direct deposit for paychecks

Most employers pay via direct deposit into a savings or checking account. If your child hasn’t already done so, visit your local bank branch to set up an account. Direct deposits are handled through the Automated Clearing House network, and your child can expect pay deposits to show up on his or her monthly bank statements coded with the acronym ACH. The following information is required to set up direct deposit:

  • Bank account number
  • Bank routing number (ask your bank for its specific nine-digit code)
  • Account type (savings or checking)
  • Bank name and address (any branch will do)
  • Name(s) of all account holders on the account

Exploring internships.

Interning is a great way to get your teen’s foot in the door. Your teen can learn a lot about the company while making valuable connections. Ask around your installation, community centers and local businesses about internship opportunities. Job websites, such as Indeed, also list internships opportunities for both high school and college students, and you can search MilitaryINSTALLATIONS for opportunities at your installation. The Department of Defense offers internship opportunities through its STEM program, available to both high school and college students.

Relevant Resources:

Finding and connecting with a mentor

The military community is full of role models who your youth can learn about their job experience. A strong network is key, and a mentor can unlock educational and professional connections. Better yet, mentors can provide the support, guidance and coaching that will help your son or daughter figure out the right path. Start by asking a future mentor for a 15-20 minute conversation. Have your son or daughter explore your community arsenal for someone who can help:

  • Neighbor, relative or family friend
  • Trusted employer or manager
  • Counselor, coach or teacher
  • Camp counselor or youth group leader
  • Religious leader

Relevant Articles:

Relevant Resources:

Building skills through volunteering.

You are part of a community committed to serving, and there are plenty of volunteer opportunities in and around your installation. It’s a great way for your youth to build resume skills, make connections and stay busy during their job search. Your installation youth center or military family readiness center can connect your youth to a volunteer coordinator who can provide a list of volunteer openings.

Relevant Articles:

Relevant Resources:

Working in the Gig Economy: Taxes on Self-Employment

Woman working on a laptop in a cafe

Many military spouses – and even some service members – have started a business or side job in today’s gig economy. And being your own employer means you are responsible for additional taxes and tax reporting.

In addition to questions about self-employment taxes, this year you may also wonder how changes due to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic could affect your tax returns.

Read on for the latest tax information related to COVID-19 and to learn the basics of self-employment taxes.

Free MilTax Services

MilTax’s tax preparation and e-filing software is available from mid-January through mid-October. And MilTax consultants are available year-round to help with your tax questions.

Special COVID-19 provisions for the self-employed

Certain COVID-19-related provisions may affect people who are self-employed, including:

COVID-19-related tax credits. If you were unable to work because you or a family member contracted the coronavirus or quarantined, you may be eligible for a qualified sick leave or family leave tax credit under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

Unemployment benefits. People who are self-employed may file for unemployment benefits if they have lost their source of income because of COVID-19. These benefits are taxable as income. If you received unemployment compensation, you must report it on your tax returns. The agency paying your benefits will mail you a 1099-G form with the total benefits you received in 2020.

Schedule C and tax filing

In most cases, self-employment income and expenses are reported on a Schedule C. The net profit, after expenses, of Schedule C income is then reported on your federal tax return. It is the responsibility of the taxpayer to keep track of all their sources of income, even if the source does not report it to you or to the IRS.

Self-employment tax

In addition to regular income taxes on your profits, you’ll also be subject to the self-employment tax. This is the Social Security and Medicare tax paid by those who are not employed by someone else. Anyone who has total self-employment income in excess of $400 per year is required to file a Schedule SE and pay self-employment taxes.

State tax filing

Military spouses may report self-employment income just like their regular income, using the state they are permitted to claim for purposes of taxation.

Non-military income of active-duty service members is not protected under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, and service members with income from sources other than the military must file with the state in which the income is earned.

Self-employment can bring tax questions. Military OneSource MilTax offers free online tax preparation and e-filing software, as well as free telephone consultations with a tax professional who understands the special needs of military families. With MilTax, there are no hidden surprises.

Schedule an appointment to speak with a MilTax consultant or financial counselor by calling 800-342-9647, or by starting a live chat. OCONUS/International? Click here for calling options.

12 Ways to Land That Civilian Job

Service members attending job fair

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.

A Full Year of Support

As you transition into civilian life, you and your family have full access to Military OneSource for 365 days after separation or retirement.

Overseas? See OCONUS calling options. Prefer to live chat? Start now.

  1. First step, verify yourself. Your Verification of Military Experience and Training, or VMET, summarizes your skills, knowledge and experience, and suggests civilian equivalent job titles. To obtain a copy of your VMET, visit the milConnect 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. Contact your local transition assistance office and ask your counselor how you can be set up with a career assessment free of charge.
  3. Translate your experience. Your military licenses or certifications might not be recognizable to the civilian world. Learn how to translate your training and experience into skills employers recognize with Credentialing Opportunities Online, or COOL. Visit the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service website to learn more and locate your service branch’s COOL website.
  4. Assess, repeat. Narrow your search to a few career fields, check salary information and common skill requirements. The CareerOneStop website, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, offers free skills and interest assessments, career exploration tools, and much more. They also have a section specifically for transitioning service members, veterans, and military spouses. 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 resource and opportunity: recruiters, military transition offices, veteran service organizations, online information. Utilize and grow your network. Contact your nearest employment office or private employment agencies (make sure you know who’s paying). Check internet job sites, such as LinkedIn, Indeed and Glassdoor – but watch it. Get recommendations for trustworthy sites.
  6. Tap your transition assistance office. 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. You can also visit the Department of Labor’s Transition Assistance Program website for more resources.
  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 professional email address or headshot? 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. Check out CareerOneStop’s tips for creating or updating your resume.
  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 federal hiring with FedsHireVets.
  10. 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. Learn more from CareerOneStop about why networking is your most important job search strategy.
  11. Take advantage of your status. Many organizations are committed to helping veterans find a good job. Look for groups with programs for service members such as:

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.

4 Tips for Transition and Career Success

Service member looking into sunset

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

Receive personalized support for your transition.

Military OneSource assists in easing transition stress with our specialty consultation for transitioning veterans.

  1. Maximize your individual transition plan: Make the most of your individual transition plan. Your ITP is your transition road map, and you will develop one during pre-separation counseling. If used correctly, your ITP will help guide you through tough decisions like your next career move, meeting your 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 for your job search and career development. Networking simply means talking to people about your career goals. Seek out people who may be able to help you with advice, job leads and contacts, and let them know about your skills and employment goals. For helpful tips on networking, visit the Department of Labor sponsored CareerOneStop website.
  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.

Practice these four simple steps to help boost your personal and career development and ease your transition from military to civilian life.

Read This: Must-Dos for Separating

Soldier saluting

You’ve made the decision. Now it’s time to make the most of it. There’s a list of tasks to accomplish, and most of them come with a due date:

A Full Year of Support

As you transition into civilian life, you and your family have full access to Military OneSource for 365 days after separation or retirement.

Overseas? See OCONUS calling options. Prefer to live chat? Start now.

  • DO get your plans in place. Think about your post-military goals and the income you’ll need. Start researching how your military experience could translate to a civilian career. Learn about your installation’s Transition Assistance Program available to help you and your family prepare for a successful transition.
  • DO start your Transition Assistance Program early. You must complete a mandatory initial counseling session with a transition counselor and complete pre-separation counseling no less than 365 days prior to your separation or retirement date. During TAP, you’ll also receive briefings from the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Department of Labor. For extra assistance in your transition, check out Military OneSource’s specialty consultation for transitioning veterans. And remember, you can attend TAP more than once!
  • DO schedule a final medical and dental exam. You’ll need a mandatory, final medical and dental exam with your installation’s medical clinic 90 days before you separate.
  • DO schedule the move of your household goods. The earlier, the better. You’ll have one year after leaving active duty to complete your final move. The sooner you can schedule, the better your chances of getting the dates you want.
  • DO talk to your spouse about participating in the Military Spouse Transition Program. This program is designed to guide military spouses through the military to civilian transition.


  • DON’T wait until the last minute. Give yourself plenty of time to complete all the tasks required. Many have to be completed 365 days before you separate.

Your Career Path: Finding the Right Job

Service member firefighter

What kind of job are you looking for when you leave the military? Many people look for jobs in certain locations, or jobs that offer a certain salary or stability, but there is so much more to finding a great job as a veteran! Finding a career that matches your skills and interests is key to job satisfaction.

What should my career be?

A satisfying job gives you a sense of accomplishment and makes good use of your skills. If you’re not sure about your career path after the military, CareerOneStop is a great way to get started.

CareerOneStop is a website sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor. It’s a rich resource with lots of tools for job searching, training, and information about careers and industries. At CareerOneStop, you can:

  • Take self-assessments at no charge — including an interest assessment, a skills assessment and more
  • Learn about careers — view career profiles and videos, compare occupations and research industries
  • Find training – including information on basic adult education, apprenticeships, certifications, scholarships and much more
  • Plan your career — set career goals, learn about salary expectations, occupation licenses and professional development

CareerOneStop also offers resources specifically for transitioning service members, veterans and military spouses. Visit their Veteran and Military Transition Center website for more information.

If you are not quite sure whether transitioning out of the military is the right choice for you, and your family if you have one, the following questions might help you make a decision. Take time to discuss all the options and consider how the changes might affect you and your family.

  1. What appeals to me most about the change is:
  2. What I would gain most from the change is:
  3. What is frightening about the change is:
  4. What keeps me from making the change is:
  5. The worst thing that could happen if I make the change is:
  6. If the worst thing happened, then I could do:
  7. If I were really serious about making a career change,
    1. My first step would be:
    2. My second step would be:
    3. My third step would be

It’s never too early to start to think about what’s right for you and your family, especially if you think you’ll need more experience, credentialing or licensing for your new civilian career.

More about transition planning

During your transition planning, you’ll explore your employment and career goals. As part of the Transition Assistance Program, DOL provides a one day core curriculum on the fundamentals of career transition. DOL also offers two additional two-day tracks as part of TAP that do a deep dive into employment and vocational training. For more information about the military Transition Assistance Program, contact your installation’s TAP office, or visit the DOD TAP website.

Learn more on Military OneSource about the Transition Assistance Program, and Transition Assistance Advisors.

When you get a head start on the career you want, you can start planning with confidence. Ask, explore, question, plan and go for it!

Military Retirement: Do You Have This Covered?

Soldier with flag

Transitioning to civilian life is just like everything else in military life. Doing it successfully takes preparation. Give yourself plenty of time to complete all the required tasks before you officially retire. There are four basic steps to take:

1. Separation requirements: Must-dos before your retirement date

Do you have questions about saving for retirement?

Contact Military OneSource to speak with a financial counselor.

Overseas? See OCONUS calling options.

Prefer to live chat? Start now.

Start with the Department of Defense Transition Assistance Program website. You’ll find detailed information about transition assistance and how to connect with your service branch’s program. You can also contact your installation’s TAP office.

Initial Counseling and Pre-separation counseling: You need to complete an Individualized Initial Counseling session and Pre-Separation counseling at least 365 days prior to your separation or retirement date, but you can schedule it up to 24 months before your retirement date.

Core Transition Curriculum: As part of the Transition Assistance Program, you will have the opportunity to attend mandatory briefings on transition preparation, employment preparation, and the benefits offered from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Learn more about the core requirements on the DOD TAP website.

Final medical exam: Schedule your mandatory, final medical and dental exam with your installation’s medical clinic 90 days before you separate.

Scheduling final move: You will have one year after leaving active duty to complete your final move. But the sooner you can schedule, the greater the chance of getting the dates you want. Learn more under the benefits section in number 3 below.

2. Plan your post-retirement budget: Know what you’ll have to work with

Review your military retirement pay, benefits and expenses to plan your budget and calculate what you’ll have each month.

Income: You’ll receive one of three types of non-disability retirement pay:

  • Final basic pay – for service members with an entry date prior to Sept. 8, 1980.
  • High 36 – for service members with an entry date between Sept. 8, 1980 and Jul. 31, 1986, or for those with dates after Aug. 1, 1986 and before Jan. 1, 2018 who didn’t elect REDUX or opt in to the Blended Retirement System.
  • CBS/REDUX – for service members with an entry date after Jul. 31, 1986 who accepted a mid-career bonus at the 15-year mark and agreed to remain active duty for at least 20 years.

Note: Service members enrolled in the new Blended Retirement System will have slightly different retirement payments than the three outlined above, including a different monthly retired pay formula, a possible lump sum payment taken at time of departure, and a Thrift Savings Plan. Learn more in these frequently asked questions regarding the Blended Retirement System.

Payouts: Federal and state taxes will be withheld from your retirement check. Also remember medical and dental premiums, and Survivor Benefit Plan premiums.

Annual adjustments: Just like your active-duty pay, your retirement pay adjusts annually based on the cost of living to protect your income against inflation.

3. Benefits you’ve earned as a retiring service member

As an active-duty service member, you receive a number of benefits. What happens to them when you retire?

TRICARE: Retiring service members must enroll themselves and eligible family members or risk losing TRICARE benefits. This includes family members with Medicare Part A and B. For more information on health care plan options for retiring service members and families, visit the TRICARE website.

Dental and/or Vision: You may choose to enroll in to dental and/or vision insurance through the FEDVIP benefits program You can enroll during the annual open season each fall, or whenever you have a qualifying life event. Dental and vision plans have a monthly premium based on the plan you choose. Find more details at the Benefeds website.

Final moving expense: You have one calendar year from your retirement date to use your last government-paid move anywhere within the U.S. or to your home of record outside the country. Check with your installation’s Personnel Support Office for information.

Life insurance: Your Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance plan continues uninterrupted for 120 days after separation. During that time, you can convert your life insurance to Veterans’ Group Life Insurance. You can still convert after 120 days, but you will have to prove that you’re in good health. Visit the VA life insurance webpage for more information.

Commissary and exchange privileges: You and your family have the same access to both facilities after retirement. The only exception – overseas privileges may be subject to a Status of Forces Agreement.

GI Bill/Education and Training: Depending on which GI Bill you have, and when you leave the service, your GI Bill may be good for 10 years, 15 years or indefinitely. Get the details at your installation’s education office or visit the VA education webpage for more information.

Home loans: Find out about a VA loan to purchase or build your dream retirement home. To qualify, you must have served at least 24 months and have an honorable or general discharge. Call 800-827-1000 or visit the VA housing assistance webpage.

The Survivor Benefit Plan: The plan provides a portion of your retirement pay to your spouse or other eligible person after your death. As long as you have an eligible spouse or child, you’ll automatically be enrolled, and at the maximum level unless you elect otherwise. Contact your installation TAP office or the Defense Finance and Accounting Service with any questions.

4. Finally, prepare for civilian life.

You’ve got military life down cold. What’s it like being a civilian? Time will tell. The best way to prepare is to know what to expect and have some strategies for success.

Saying goodbye: You’ve been through enough moves to know what it’s like to leave friends who feel more like family. But these days, social media makes it easy to keep in touch.

Job searching: Ace that interview. Get a head start. You can attend a Transition Assistance Program employment workshop on your installation as early as two years before retirement.

Miss the lifestyle? It’s not as farfetched as it sounds. You’ve been in a tight, exclusive community with its own unique lifestyle. Look into joining a military organization that can keep you connected and in the loop on retirement issues.

Retirement is the first step to your next successful life and career. Know what’s ahead, be prepared, and enjoy.

Moving After the Death of Your Loved One

Woman sitting with moving boxes

Moving after the death of a loved one can be an important step toward creating your new normal. However, it can be emotionally exhausting. In addition to grieving, you may be faced with deciding where to relocate and worried about what to do with your loved one’s belongings.

Deciding where to move

Some things to consider when choosing your next home:

  • The best location to find support. Depending on your situation, you may find it comforting to move near family and friends, especially if you have young children. You may want to relocate near a military installation for a variety of services for yourself as well as your children.
  • Seeking new employment. You may want to consider looking into employment opportunities before you decide where to move. If you’re seeking employment through the federal government, you may be able to take advantage of special preference programs. Contact Military OneSource’s Spouse Education and Career Opportunities to get a certified career counselor in your corner. Your SECO career coach can connect you with employers, education or other career resources in your current or new area.
  • The affordability of your location. Perhaps you need to relocate to a place that allows you to live comfortably with your survivor benefits.

What’s next?

Once you’ve made a decision about where to move, you may want to:

Take your time with your loved one’s possessions

You, and only you, should decide what to do with your loved one’s personal belongings. When you are ready, you can sort your loved one’s belongings at your own pace and may want to consider asking friends and family for help. Ask yourself questions about each item to help you decide what to do with it such as:

  • Could this item make a good heirloom for kids or grandkids?
  • Would a family friend find comfort in the item?
  • Can I donate it to charity to provide comfort to others?
  • Should I keep it for myself?


Moving away from the military doesn’t mean that your relationship with the military has to end. As a surviving spouse, you have access to military installations and may access your Morale, Welfare and Recreation facilities, commissary, exchange and medical privileges.

Military OneSource can help you through this process. Available 24 hours a day, this free service can provide you help through:

Moving isn’t a one-person job. Tap into the support that is available to you and take advantage of the resources that can help you take this important step forward to your new normal.

What Service Members Need to Know About Employment

Man repairs an airplane

Maybe you’re closing the chapter on your military life and opening a new one, or you’re in the process of making long-term plans. This means transitioning from being a service member to a civilian employee in a company, nonprofit or maybe the government. As a service member, you have many resources available to help you with this significant change. Here’s an overview of what you need to know as you seek employment.

Explore your career path

There’s a difference between a job and a career. Both pay the bills, but a career is more likely to give you a sense of meaning and accomplishment.

Finding a career that matches your skills and interests is the key to job satisfaction. Invest some time in a little soul-searching before you begin your search to make sure you’re going down the right path.

Whether you plan to continue in your current field after leaving military service or you wish to pursue a new opportunity, you should ask yourself two questions:

  1. What are my career goals?
  2. What steps do I need to take to position myself for success?

To help you answer those questions, a self-assessment can help you set goals and plan your way forward. Here are a few options:

  • CareerScope® is a career planning and assessment tool through the Department of Veterans Affairs that recommends career choices based on your interests and abilities.
  • My Next Move for Veterans is an assessment tool to enable you to explore careers, including those related to your military occupational specialty.
  • Career OneStop also offers a self-assessment that includes an interest assessment and skills profiler. The service, which is sponsored by the Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, also offers tools to help search for jobs, identify training and learn about careers.

Credential and leverage your military experience

Your military experience has given you training that converts to skills in the civilian world. The COOL program helps you translate your training into civilian credentials and speak better to what employers are looking for. Here are links to individual service branch programs:

The United Services Military Apprenticeship Program provides active-duty Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard service members the opportunity to improve their job skills and to complete their civilian apprenticeship requirements while they are serving.

DOD SkillBridge connects transitioning service members to career job training opportunities. Participate in training and development with industry and employers who are seeking the high-quality skills that you bring to the table.

The Hiring Our Heroes Corporate Fellowship Program provides transitioning service members with professional training and hands-on experience in the civilian workforce.

Build your resume

The goal of a resume is to effectively summarize and highlight your qualifications in a way that will make the employer want to reach out and schedule an interview with you. These tips will help you build a resume that will stand out.

  • Collect your assets. Get a copy of your Verification of Military Experience and Training through the Department of Defense. The VMET document helps you prepare resumes and job applications quickly when you separate from service.
  • Include essential components like contact information, job objective, summary of qualifications, employment history, education and training, and special skills.
  • Tailor your resume for the job. Translate everything into civilian terms and include volunteer experience.
  • Write a cover letter. Get the name of the person in charge of hiring, keep it to one page and always follow up.
  • Tap into resume-building tools. Check out and

Find the right civilian job

Your military experience is valuable to many employers, but it’s up to you to get out there and sell it. Start with these tips:

  • Network. Get in touch with friends and fellow veterans. Organize your contacts and connections.
  • Tap into the services of your transition assistance offices. Get referrals for employment agencies and recruiters, job leads and career counseling.
  • Hit job fairs. Look for upcoming events to meet potential employers including:
  • Look for veteran-friendly companies. Many organizations are committed to helping veterans find a good job. Look for 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 American, Non-Commissioned Officers Association or Enlisted Association, and United Service Organizations. Also, see the HIRE Vets Medallion Award for a list of organizations committed to veteran hiring, retention and professional development.

Other employment benefits and assistance programs

Review some of the top services and programs offered by the military and the government, focused on jobs for veterans and helping you find your new career. Also, check out these employment benefits and assistance programs available before and after you leave the military:

  • Department of Labor Employment Fundamentals of Career Transition: This one-day workshop provides an introduction to the essential tools and resources needed to evaluate career options, gain information for civilian employment, and understand the fundamentals of the employment process.
  • Department of Labor Employment Workshop: This two-day workshop covers emerging best practices in career employment, including in-depth training to learn interview skills, build effective resumes, and use emerging technology to network and search for employment.
  • Vocational Training Track: Participants complete a career development assessment and are guided through a variety of career considerations, including labor market projections, education, apprenticeships, certifications and licensure requirements.
  • Soldier for Life engages and connects Army, government and non-governmental organizations to support soldiers, veterans and families.
  • Marine for Life connects transitioning Marines and their family members to education resources, employment opportunities, and other veterans services that aid in their career and life goals outside of military service.
  • National Guard Employment Support Program supports National Guard Service members in finding meaningful careers and job opportunities as they face the challenges of military life, whether mobilized or in a steady-state posture.
  • American Corporate Partners: Free mentoring program connects Post-9/11 veterans with corporate professionals for customized mentorships.

Match your military skills to civilian jobs, find transition resources, and start your military-to-civilian job search with the resources and information provided above. Check out all the resources for employment on Military OneSource.

About the National Guard Employment Support Program

Service member working on a plane

The Joint National Guard Employment Support Program is vital in supporting our National Guard service members in finding meaningful careers and job opportunities as they face the challenges of military life, whether mobilized or in a steady state posture. Having this “joint” program in the Joint Force Headquarters-State since 2004 underscores this as the Adjutant General’s program, which is critical for success.

A strong Employment Support network has been organized in each state and territory with a Program Support Specialist, and reinforced by partnerships with other government agencies, private partnerships and a synergistic relationship with National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. This Army and Air partnership and coordination ensures that all units and states can readily communicate with each other, and helps resolve issues with employers.

At the state level, the JFHQ houses the Employment Support Program. Additional resources and programs leveraged by Employment Support are often co-located at the JFHQ-State or tied into it in some way. Many of these partners are able to reach across service cultures and touch our National Guard families within their states.

In addition, the 55 Program Support Specialists are the primary resource in providing employment support/opportunities/options to commanders, soldiers, airmen, and families. They can serve as the TAG’s representative on employment issues within the state. They identify, plan, and deliver briefings for mobilization and deployment.

The Employment Support Program has expanded responsibilities recently to include employment facilitation. Program Support Specialists have been recently trained to utilize the CASY-MSCCN case management system for consideration and implementation in their respective states.

Mission and strategy

Mission statement
NGB Employment Support customer focus: Provide employment opportunities and options to develop career-ready service members, prepared/resilient family members, and successfully transitioned members integrated with their community.

Vision statement
Supporting the warfighter, the homeland and developing partnerships by shaping legislation and policy, and affecting outcomes that support the strategic integration of the National Guard in supporting the National Military Strategy through force readiness.