Career Assessments for Veterans
When transitioning out of the military and looking for civilian employment, it may be tempting to immediately start looking for and applying to jobs. A different approach, and one we recommend, is devoting time early in your transition to completing a career assessment. In fact, taking a self-assessment is second on our list of seven steps for transitioning to civilian employment.
In this article, we’ll first explore some questions to ask yourself before getting too far into your transition to a civilian career. Then, we’ll provide examples of popular career assessments, both for the general workforce and for military veterans.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Your Civilian Job Search
Before you move forward in your new path to civilian employment, it’s important to have a clear understanding of yourself and your career goals.
Here are some examples of questions to ask yourself:
1. What are your natural strengths?
Veterans often have qualities that make them attractive to civilian employers in business and other industries. Are you a natural leader? Are you calm during stressful situations? Consider how others would describe you, and identify the unique things about you that an employer would value.
2. What skills have you built that are valuable to employers?
You may think about your experience in terms of the ranks you held or the branch in which you served. Make sure you’re also focusing on the individual skills you built during those times. Did you develop leadership skills with many others reporting to you? Did you learn to work with different kinds of technology or machinery? Consider all the individual tasks you completed and how each of those would translate to a civilian job.
3. Do you have a dream job?
Finally, you may dream about working in one specific industry, company or position. If that’s true for you, it’s important to acknowledge that about yourself. You may think that going after a dream job is an unrealistic option, but you don’t want to have career regrets later in life. Consider creative ways to work toward that goal while you simultaneously build your resume and accomplishments through more attainable positions.
Career Assessment Examples
Among the resources available for veterans transitioning to civilian employment, career assessments are some of the most useful. In this section, we’ll provide links to several examples, but there are many more available options.
- The CareerScope skills assessment offered by the Department of Veteran Affairs measures interest and skill levels in various areas and recommends education options for careers that match the results. CareerScope is available to veterans, service members, or dependents who qualify or are already receiving VA benefits.
- CareerOneStop, a website sponsored by the Department of Labor, offers an interest assessment. It includes a simple 30-question quiz and takes about five minutes to complete, providing a list of careers that may fit your interests.
- Military.com offers a skills translator, allowing veterans to enter the branch in which they served – and their title – and then displaying openings for equivalent civilian jobs. Users can then refine the results by adding keywords, locations and more.
- Veterans2Work, a non-profit corporation, offers a survey called VetMatch for those who are still choosing their career industry. The survey quantifies values, interests, and personality traits, and it then provides data and insights about best-fit career options.
- Finally, a popular option for veterans and civilians alike is the Holland Codes, a system that classifies individuals by interests and matches them with careers in one of six areas: building, thinking, creating, helping, persuading and organizing.
At Columbia Southern University, our dedicated military support staff is comprised of current and former military members who understand your unique needs and connect you with our flexible online education options.
If you’re thinking about going back to school, strong career services programs and military student resources may be deciding factors when deciding which school is right for you. More information about our Career Services Department and Veterans Center can be found on our website.