Civilian Careers for Military Veterans

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After leaving military life, it may feel daunting for veterans to adapt to the civilian workforce. Translating skills on resumes, finding the right industries, and adapting subject matter expertise can seem challenging. Thankfully, there are numerous career paths where veterans’ valuable skills and knowledge are in high demand, allowing for a much smoother transition.

In this article, we briefly explore job market research strategies and then detail four common careers for veterans.

Job Market Research for Veterans

Before you start applying for positions, it’s helpful to study the job market and narrow down the list of industries you’re planning to pursue. It can also be worth your time to research examples of veteran-friendly employers and the kinds of jobs they offer.

My Next Move for Veterans is an online resource developed by the Department of Labor. Visitors can search for careers by keyword, browse a list of careers, or find the careers that are most like their previous positions in the military. My Next Move for Veterans is a part of O*NET Online, a comprehensive database with detailed and organized career information.

The Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics also contains a wealth of information. In addition to descriptions of what individuals in each occupation do and their typical work environment, the handbook also includes details about:

Common Careers for Veterans

Military veterans – and their career interests – are as diverse as the general population, but some industries do stand out more compared to others. You may not find your dream job in the section below, but these four ideas can be a starting point, serving as inspiration for you as you begin the next phase of your career.

1. Government and Contractor Jobs

Many veterans find that with the right education and training, they can transition into government or contract positions within the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and other federal agencies. Also, veterans who have held a security clearance while on active duty can be attractive to certain employers, so make sure to include them on your resume.

2. Cybersecurity

The demand for jobs in cybersecurity is growing at a rapid rate. According to the BLS, employment of information security analysts is expected to grow at a “much faster than average” rate of 33% between 2020 and 2030, adding an estimated 47,100 jobs over that time.

Furthermore, there’s a shortage of talent in this job sector. Former service members are highly sought out to fill empty positions, as these jobs require discretion, an eye for discrepancies, the ability to be detail-oriented, and a willingness to follow procedures to the letter. With the right training, veterans can find cybersecurity to be a natural fit, offering job security and a pathway to a full second career.

3. Logistics

Modern businesses seeking to compete need to provide their customers with a seamless experience.  Efficiency is critical, and companies are looking for skilled workers who can get the job done, a key component of military life.

For example, logisticians are tasked with analyzing and coordinating an organization’s supply chain. Job possibilities in logistics can include production managers, operation directors, supply chain managers, general managers, business managers, facilities managers, and plant supervisors. Many of these positions require leadership experience and a bachelor’s degree. The BLS projects employment in logistics to grow by 30% between 2020 and 2030, adding 56,400 jobs nationwide.

4. First Responders

Training as a first responder can be a natural transition for veterans, as the two groups have a lot in common, including a desire to help people. Many veterans already have expertise in emergency response, medical, rescue missions, and law enforcement, and most have worked under stressful conditions.

Career opportunities as a first responder can include criminal justice, the fire service, emergency management, and emergency medical services, but there can be hurdles to overcome in some cases.

Conclusion

When preparing for your transition to the civilian workforce, be sure to take advantage of the resources available to you and consider taking a career assessment if you haven’t done so yet. And if your chosen career path involves going back to school for additional education or training, military-friendly colleges can help you get started.

Here at Columbia Southern University, our Veterans Center and Career Services team specialize in providing support services to the approximately 40% of our students who are active-duty, veterans, spouses or dependents of military service members. For more information about our online degree options at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels, visit our website.

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