Many servicemembers dread transitioning from the military. It’s a stressful process, one that means leaving your friends behind as you pursue new opportunities.
Dozens of questions may be floating in your head, including the big one: “Did I make the right decision?” While I can’t answer that question for you, I can give you examples of what I went through during my transition.
Finding Your Footing
Early in my transition process, I realized my time in the military had provided me with skills that many in my age group didn’t possess. It gave me an edge in landing a job … but only if I could express those advantages in ways my employers could understand.
That sounds simple, but in practice, it isn’t – in the first interview or two, you’re going to use military terminology that completely goes over the head of your prospective employer. Just remember, mistakes happen!
Upcoming MOAA Transition and Career Events
- Feb. 27: MOAA Seminar: Maximize Your Overall Compensation Package
- March 22: Military Executive Transition Seminar (MOAA HQ, Alexandria, Va.)
- March 28: MOAA Webinar: Does Company Size Matter?
Once you land the position, you may find – as I did – some difficulty adjusting to in-office culture. The way servicemembers interact is vastly different from how the civilian work world operates. Degrees of professionalism can vary drastically. As with your interview, it’s important to realize you won’t master these differences right away. Veterans can adapt and overcome some of the harshest scenarios in the world – this is just a new type of adaptation.
My key takeaway: Transition is a significant life change, and no matter how prepared you are, you’re not perfect. Maybe you don’t ace the first or the second interview. Maybe you don’t immediately get your dream job. Don’t view these setbacks as the end of the world – instead, look at them as opportunities for you to learn and grow in an unfamiliar sector.
Get an Edge With MOAA
No matter your career goals after leaving service, MOAA can help with the transition process. From résumé critiques to career consulting, from LinkedIn support to virtual career fairs and other events, we are here to support you every step of the way.
Download Marketing Yourself for a Second Career
Newly updated! Learn what you can do to prepare yourself for a successful transition from military career to civilian career. This handbook shows you how to create an attention-getting resume, cover letter, and more. Get tips on self-marketing, job search, interviews, and interviewing. (Available to Premium and Life members)