Former military personnel looking to find civilian employment after their military service has ended should start in one essential place- the military itself. The military provides numerous resources to aid its personnel in transitioning to civilian life, whether they are looking to enter the job market directly or return to school to improve their job prospects.
The Department of Defense operates a transition assistance programs that provides free career assessments and assistance in creating resumes, practicing for job interviews, and tips on job searches. Using TAP can be likened to a college or graduate school taking advantage of the student career counseling opportunities available on campus to help them land a job in their field of study.
When it comes to networking, the size of the military is a huge advantage for former service members seeking employment. In addition to informal networking, there are service networking organizations that can help you connect with former service members in your chosen field. Some of those organizations include Military Officers Association of America, The Retired Enlisted Association, The Non-Commissioned Officer’s Association, Marine for Life, and Army Career and Alumni Program. While these programs will not directly place you in jobs, they will help you connect with people who might!
The Federal government civilian workforce numbers 2.8 million. Former service members who qualify for veterans preference are given priority in civil service hiring. The government website USA jobs is a “one-stop shopping” website listing available Federal jobs and in many cases providing for online application. The U.S. Department of Labor Veterans Employment and Training Service operates a system designed to assist veterans in learning about benefits available to them and ensuring that they receive preference to which they may be entitled.
Starting a Business
Veterans in need of technical assistance or start-up funding to create a business of their own can find opportunities through the Small Business Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Those agencies will advise veterans on the creation of business plans and point them in the direction of programs that will provide funding for their business. Disabled vets may qualify for assistance through the DVA’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program.
Sources: http://www.usaaedfoundation.org/pdf/539.pdf; http://www.dol.gov/elaws/vets/vetpref/vetspref.htm; http://www.opm.gov/feddata/html/2009/March/table1.asp; http://www.sba.gov/aboutsba/sbaprograms/ovbd/; http://www.vetbiz.gov/start/starthm.htm.