Serving in today’s all-volunteer military is a privilege and a responsibility. After two decades of bearing the brunt of conflict on their shoulders, it’s of little surprise that military veterans are one of the most respected groups in the United States. However, while people hold military personnel in high regard, that esteem doesn’t necessarily help service members when they transition to civilian life. It’s a sad fact that military veterans often face higher rates of joblessness and greater struggles with finding employment than their civilian counterparts who didn’t serve. This situation can be particularly agonizing for veterans with family or service-related injuries, who often have to struggle to take care of the people they care about after they sacrificed so much serving their country.
It doesn’t have to be that way. There are opportunities out there for veterans to transfer their skills and experience in uniform into a rewarding post-military career. There are numerous private and public sector institutions as well as nonprofits that are dedicated to either hiring veterans or helping them find places to work. In many cases, veterans can even find jobs with the types of schedules that allow them to care for loved ones and still make all their medical appointments. Here are some great tips on how to find a flexible job for a veteran with a family.
Promote Yourself with an Effective CV
If you’re a veteran, chances are strong that you’ve had unique training to develop a highly specialized skill set, and then years of experience putting those skills to work while in uniform. However, upon return to civilian life, it can often be challenging to describe those skills to potential employers or find ways to monetize them in your post-military career. If you’re struggling to find ways to highlight your military skills and experience in a way that job recruiters can understand, consider finding someone to develop an effective resume for you. Many organizations specialize in translating veterans’ military experience into an asset that companies are looking for. These same resume companies can often help you improve your LinkedIn profile as well. Veterans, armed with a solid means to describe the value they can bring to organizations, will find themselves in a much better position when they re-enter the highly competitive civilian workforce.
Job Skills That Translate from the Military to the Workforce
If you’re a veteran, your unique training and experiences can be invaluable in the civilian workforce. You have to learn how to identify and market those skills more effectively, however; particularly the ones that many companies so desperately need. Even if you’re seeking work in a career field that has nothing to do with what you did while wearing a uniform, your military experience can be value added to nearly any organization. Here are some of the skills that can be a strong sell to most companies.
The military is known for producing first-rate leaders, both through the training it provides as well as the experience military service members get leading people in stress and uncertainty. The ethos that the military branches instill in people who serve is valued by many employers. If you highlight examples of your leadership experiences as a service member in your job applications and interviews, it can give you a leg up on other people applying for the same position.
The ability to communicate effectively is vital in nearly every career field. Most service members are required to communicate effectively, both in person as well as in written communications or via electronic means. Don’t take those email and PowerPoint skills you gained in the military for granted! Ensure you take the time to highlight your communication skills in resumes, as they’re often superior to what many civilian counterparts have.
Employers are constantly looking for people who are adept at working effectively on teams. Outside of athletics, most people don’t have a great deal of experience working on teams in stressful situations. However, since teamwork is instilled in service members from nearly their first day of training, the skills veterans have working on teams is yet another advantage veterans have over civilian counterparts who haven’t served.
These are just a few key examples of skills you gained in the military that you may take for granted now that you’re a veteran seeking civilian employment. Make sure you take the time to highlight them in resumes and interviews, as it may help you land a great job.
Leverage Your Benefits
If you’re a veteran with family, another way to find a good job is to make the most of the benefits you’re eligible for after serving honorably. While people often focus on the medical benefits available to many veterans, particularly wounded combat veterans or military retirees, there are many other government benefits veterans can leverage to dramatically improve their job prospects. The GI Bill is a great example of the sort of benefit that can help veterans get to work fast in a lucrative career field. The GI Bill, which was expanded in the years after 9/11, does much more than help pay for attendance at college. Veterans can also use their GI Bill benefits to pay for critical licensing and verifications needed for highly technical career fields. Veterans can also use this benefit to offset costs incurred while participating in apprenticeship programs. So, if you’re interested in accelerating your movement into a civilian career, find out how to maximize your GI Bill benefits.
Serve in a Different Way
One of the best options for veterans to find a flexible job that aligns with their values is to continue their public service in a different way. After hanging up your uniform, there are hundreds of options for you to put on a suit, a pair of farmer’s overalls, or even another uniform and keep serving the public again in a different career field. There are programs, for example, that help veterans transfer their experience to become teachers. The Department of Agriculture and other agencies have programs that can assist veterans from the transition out of the military and onto their own farms so they can help keep food supply chains secure. Finally, many state and local governments have hiring preferences for veterans in place for critical civil service jobs such as police and firefighters. If you’d like to keep serving the public in a new career field at the Federal or local level, being a veteran is usually a net positive when it comes to applying for these types of jobs.
Military Job Boards
Recent years have seen some movements to get job boards for employers that are specifically looking to hire veterans. This is essentially a way for some of these employers to thank you for your service and gain a skilled, dependable employee in the process. While these job sites are great because they connect veterans with employers who seek to hire them, a key thing to remember is that you’ll be competing against other veterans seeing the same jobs. You’ll need to polish your resume and interview skills to stand out in a crowd of fellow veterans. However, despite these challenges, veteran-friendly job boards are a good place to look for work.
While there are numerous military and veteran job boards, here are some of the most important ones you should check out:
Don’t Go It Alone
If you’re struggling to find a job as a veteran, you don’t have to struggle alone. Many private and public service organizations can aid you in your job search and help you find the type of job with a flexible schedule that you need right now. Legacy veterans such as the American Legion and Veterans from Foreign Wars (VFW) assist veterans looking for work. Newer nonprofits, such as the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), also have assistance programs to help vets leverage their GI Bill benefits or succeed in civilian life. Finally, the Department of Veterans Affairs has many education and job assistance programs that can help veterans with their transition into the civilian world. So, reach out to some of these organizations and see if you can get the help that you need for a great second act in your civilian career.
Find a Rewarding Civilian Career with a Flexible Schedule Today
It can be challenging for veterans to transition into civilian life. However, with a little bit of assistance from the government and veteran service organizations, you can hang up your uniform and move into a great civilian career. If you’re still serving, you should start planning for what comes after you’re discharged; the sooner you begin planning your post-military career, the better. If you’re a veteran with a family that’s back in the civilian world, start reaching out to some of the organizations discussed here and decide how best to put your military skills and experience to work for you as you continue your hunt for a great job in the civilian workforce.