Military Transition Resources for Entering the Civilian Workforce

military service member shaking hands and discussing transition resources
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In a Pew Research Center study, 95% of veteran respondents indicated that they looked for a job after leaving the military. It’s a common challenge, and there are plenty of resources available to help veterans make the transition, but it may feel overwhelming.

Finding the tools and programs that are the best fit for you is a good first step when preparing for your transition. In this article, we’ve compiled some of the most helpful resources for veterans entering the civilian workforce.

VA Resources

A good place for veterans to start is the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Service members can begin the program one year prior to separation or two years prior to retirement. TAP participants receive information, resources and tools to help them and their loved ones prepare for the move to civilian life. To hear stories about how some veterans have benefited from TAP, view the following video produced by the VA.

The VA also offers counseling through its Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Chapter 36 services. If you’ve been discharged within the past year or if you’re the dependent of a veteran, you can receive counseling to help you decide on a career or training program and overcome any issues that may get in your way. The following video details the VA’s Chapter 36 services.

Related: Take Advantage of VA Career Counseling to Make the Most of Your Military Benefits

State Resources

Another potential source of helpful information for your area may be your state labor office. For example, the Alabama Department of Labor website posts job listings and information about training programs and career centers throughout the state.

Contact information for each state labor office is available on the U.S. Department of Labor website.

Personal and Professional Relationships

When it comes to transitioning into civilian life, both personal and professional connections are valuable. Think about the relationships you’ve built throughout your life – family members, college friends and instructors, fellow military service members, and more – and how those people may be able to help guide you in the right direction.

If someone helped you by reviewing your resume, connecting you with a hiring official at a company, or anything else, find a way to thank them. Then, when someone asks you for something similar, pay it forward.

Related: Why Veterans Need Mentors When Transitioning to College

University Resources

Finally, if you’re already a college student or graduate, you probably have access to a university career services team. In some cases, career services professionals at your school may have the exact knowledge or connections that you need to get your foot in the door in your industry. Many universities also offer resources developed specifically for the unique challenges faced by military-affiliated students.

At Columbia Southern University, our dedicated military support staff is comprised of current and former military members who understand your unique needs. We provide flexible online education options, and approximately 40% of our total student population of more than 29,000 are military-affiliated.

If you’re currently considering education options, strong career services programs and military student resources may be deciding factors when deciding which school is right for you. Learn more about our Career Services Department and Veterans Center.

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