Your military service can serve as the foundation for a highly successful civilian career. However, successfully transitioning to the civilian workforce is a matter of taking what you learned in the service and expanding those skills to help you succeed.
First, you will need to rethink how you fit into the civilian workforce. Until now, the military had defined your identity. Many veterans have difficulty making the civilian transition because of this identity crisis. As veteran Ryan Guina explains in his podcast, The Military Wallet, many veterans underestimate the emotional impact of leaving the service: “The military is a unique way of life, and it is a large part of people’s lives—too large to immediately replace with another job.”
There is a sense of security in being part of something bigger than yourself, and when you transition to civilian life, you lose your support system. Career training is a good way to embrace a different kind of support system.
As you are planning your transition, consider the following:
- Inventory your professional skills. Your professional skills include not only your practical experience but also soft skills, such as leadership, teamwork, and self-discipline. As The Balance Careers reported, employers are actively looking for experienced workers who demonstrate skills such as good communication, critical thinking, resourcefulness, reliability, and a proven work ethic.
- Identify professions that interest you and where you can apply your skills. Technology workers, for example, are in high demand, and military training often translates well to information technology jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in software application development will grow 31 percent by 2026, and information security jobs will grow 28 percent.
- Identify what credentials you need to enter your chosen field. Having practical skills from your military training is a solid first step, but determine what additional skills or credentials you may need to qualify for the job you want. For example, if you have experience overseeing a project or mission, you might have the right skill set to become a project manager. To help you get a job in project management, consider taking the necessary career training courses and becoming a certified Project Management Professional.
Since you no longer have a military support infrastructure, find a vocational program or career training institution that is prepared to give you the support you need, including training, certification preparation, and job placement.
Why You Want Certification
As a veteran, there are a number of reasons to consider career training and certification:
- Certification provides third-party verification that the skills you acquired while serving in the military are applicable in today’s workplace. Certification shows you are knowledgeable in your chosen field and ready to compete with civilians who have similar work experience.
- Certification also demonstrates that you understand how to apply those skills to business needs. Career training is structured to prepare you for real-world job situations, so if you have the certification, it shows potential employers that you can help solve their problems.
- By pursuing certification, you also show that you understand business operations. Since career training classes and certification testing are structured to address real-world problems, certification proves you understand how your expertise fits in the context of day-to-day operations.
Employers also like to see certifications because in today’s fast-paced business world, they want employees who are ready to work with little or no training. Certification validates your experience and shows a hiring company that you are ready to start producing on your first day.
“Career training and certification made me a more rounded candidate. It made me better at what I do and it made me more confident,” said Anthony Voce, a New Horizons Career Development Solutions graduate who is currently working for a defense contractor. “I realized the sky’s the limit and training gives me an opportunity to grow.”
By pursuing career training, you can achieve certification relatively quickly. Whereas a college degree takes four years and a degree from a community college requires two years, you can complete the vocational training you need in 18 months or less. You also can pursue training while you are working, using what you learn to improve your job performance.
Getting Career Training Support
New Horizons can ease your transition into civilian life. It offers a comprehensive catalog of IT training courses structured to help you achieve your career objectives. We have experts on staff to help you find the right courses to help you meet your goals. We also have skilled instructors who provide hands-on training as well as job placement services.
As outlined by Military.com, your GI Bill® benefits will help pay for career training. If you are enrolling in a vocational school, the Post-9/11 GI Bill® will pay in-state tuition and fees up to $23,671.94 (which changes to a maximum of $24,476.79, effective Aug. 1, 2019). Your benefits will also pay for books and course materials.
You also want to fund a career training program that is designed to meet veterans’ needs. New Horizons Career Development Solutions has held a Military Friendly® School Silver Designation for seven years in a row; a testament to our commitment to meeting the needs of veteran students. We also have been on the list of Military Spouse Friendly® Schools since 2019, helping military spouses continue their education, including finding funding.
Finding the right career training program may be your best strategy to transition into the civilian workforce. You will be qualified to find a meaningful job, and career training can provide the support you need to help you get started. Contact one of the professionals at New Horizons Career Development Solutions. They will be happy to help you understand your options and how to get started.