Your Military Transition Checklist
Before making the transition from the military into your civilian career, no matter if you are separating or retiring - there is one piece of advice we always give: "START EARLY."
You've probably heard it before. You may be sick of hearing it. But it's true - for a smooth transition, the earlier you begin preparing, the better.
Give yourself a long lead time - even as far as two years out. Follow this checklist for a basic outline, and then adjust to your personal needs:
Start with the End-State
Visualize how you want your post-military life to look. Think about where you want to live and what type of work interests you. Now is the time to dream. Write it all down: you’ll begin to see a life take shape, one that you have control over. Now start creating an outline for what steps you need to take to achieve that life.
This starts with understanding where you are now and what you’ll need for the future. List your financial obligations and what you must earn in order to meet them. Ask yourself these questions:
- If retiring, how much will my retirement be?
- Will I file for any VA disability? What is the process and how long it will take?
- Do I have enough money to cover financial obligations if my income does not start immediately after my active service ends?
If you are not comfortable with your answers, start taking steps that yield comfortable answers. Take control of your finances NOW. Being in a strong financial position will give you better choices that may lead to greater job satisfaction, security, and growth.
Grow Your Network
Connect with recruiters and fellow veterans and join veteran employment groups. You never know which connection will be the one that helps you land that perfect job. RecruitMilitary offers multiple ways to network, including at our virtual and in-person career fairs and our LinkedIn community.
Attend Transition Classes
If possible, try to attend twice before you separate. You are going to be slammed with a TON of valuable information, and it can be overwhelming. However, if you can attend twice, you may be able to retain more of it. "Pick the brains" of the class facilitators. Many of them are veterans with a wealth of knowledge and are more than willing to share it with people who are genuinely interested.
Create Job Board Alerts
Build a profile on RecruitMilitary's job board and set up alerts for categories for which you’re well qualified. Discover what jobs align with your military experience. RecruitMilitary’s job board has an MOS translator to show you the jobs you may be qualified for, based on your military occupation.
Draft a Resume
Start by gathering all your military evaluations, training records, and award write-ups. Once you have those, register for webinars and online resources that can aid you in the resume writing process. Keep it to two pages and use bullets, with each bullet stressing an accomplishment, not just a list of duties. Join one of our live resume workshops and connect with a subject matter expert to answer your questions about drafting or enhancing your current resume.
Get Some Practice
At least six months before your transition date, begin attending events where you can network with employers and recruiters. Attending a virtual and in-person career fair is an excellent way to hone your elevator speech and see the types of civilian workforce opportunities that are out there.
Find a Mentor
RecruitMilitary is working with multiple mentorship organizations to ensure long-term career results for veterans and military spouses.
Veterati is the digital mentorship platform to support the military community as they pursue the careers of their dreams at every point in their career journey. Join thousands of Service Members, Veterans, and Military Spouses in setting up free 1-hr mentorship phone calls with successful professionals. We’re the only Veteran Mentorship Platform to let you choose your own mentors and as many as you would like. Find a mentor through Veterati.
Still Serving Veterans
SSV provides practical advice for navigating the often challenging road to finding meaningful post-military work and building a civilian life you’ll love. They’re here to help you build a better future wherever you live (or want to live). Every career counselor is a Veteran who understands the unique needs of Veterans and their families. Find a mentor through Still Serving Veterans.
American Corporate Partners
ACP’s free Mentoring Program connects post-9/11 veterans, active duty spouses and eligible military spouses (Protégés) with corporate professionals (Mentors) for customized mentorships. ACP assists veterans and eligible spouses on their path towards fulfilling, long-term careers, whether the veteran is job searching or newly employed. Find a mentor through ACP.
Hold a Team Meeting
Finally, but most importantly, if there are others who will be impacted by your transition, i.e. your spouse and family members, sit down and talk about the changes that are coming. Having everyone on the same page can greatly reduce the amount of stress you’ll experience in the transition process.
Planning and taking action are imperative for a successful transition. We are here to support you every step of the way. Good luck!