Military Separation Checklist

Military Separation Checklist

Wouldn’t it be nice to know you’re not overlooking the countless number of tasks needed to close out your time in the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, or Coastguard? Say goodbye to the armed forces the right way with Empire Resume’s military separation checklist.

Many separating service members say, “Why do I need a checklist? I’m going through the military transition assistance program (TAP).” Of course, you may get this information by attending TAP. But we understand that the information received through TAP can be lacking and inconsistent from base to base. And, many veterans often forget what was said in TAP and become overwhelmed with tons of paperwork.

Your final mission is operation separate. And the best way to accomplish this personal mission is to delegate duties to yourself, set an end date, and mark them done as they are complete. Today’s checklist will help you get started.

Pre-Separation Checklist

  • Figure out where you want to live. There’s nothing worse than scrambling to find out where your next move is after you get out of the military. Some of the best places for veterans to live include Texas, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Alabama, simply because of the benefits ranging from tax waivers to healthcare and more.
  • Create a budget. Your bank account shrinks once you pay for deposits, vehicle registration and more. Just in case you have no idea where your pay will come from next and you’re faced with the possibility of your salary being a huge difference between military verses civilian life, it’s important to have a budget in place.
  • Determine how you want to use your GI Bill benefits. Your GI Bill comes with several educational or career-based benefits. Take time to discover how you want to put your GI Bill to use.
  • Learn how to write military resumes. Your specialized skills and training require a set of do’s and don’ts that go unnoticed by people without military experience. Writing a military to civilian resume is not like writing a traditional resume. This is why you must learn to write this unique type of resume.
  • Learn how to write a great cover letter. A cover letter works hand in hand with your resume to set you apart from the competition. It’s important to learn to write with the right tone, language, and format to ensure the hiring manager gives your credentials a second look.
  • Begin building a professional network. Having a network of like-minded individuals in your corner can enhance your development on a personal and professional level. A mentor who is also a veteran and a diverse group of peers can help you navigate your new life as a civilian.
  • Leave your military job on good terms. Although your commanding officer may know that you’re leaving the military, according to an article in GI Jobs, you should talk with your supervisor to ensure that your handoff to your replacement is a success.

This includes finishing your work as much as possible so that others won’t have to carry your load. Additionally, continue to follow proper procedures and be upfront about any time off you need. You never know, your current supervisor could be a reference later down the road.

Post-Separation Checklist

Military Separation Checklist


  • Narrow down the types of jobs you’re seeking. Certain job types and roles such as technical, administrative, and managerial can be a great fit depending on your rank in the military. Be specific with your job search and choose opportunities that are in alignment with your skillset.
  • Create a veteran LinkedIn. LinkedIn can be used as a tool to enhance your professional image and provide a virtual handshake to recruiters. Creating a profile not only allows you to connect with others, it can help you find your next career too.
  • Identify military headhunters. Since many jobs are not advertised to the general public, a headhunter or military staffing agency can be a great inside resource to have in your corner. If you can’t seem to get responses from hiring authorities, try working with a headhunter to get a different result.
  • How to beat the ATS: Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are put in place to help companies manage all the job applications they receive, but often times may inadvertently weed out qualified prospects. Pay attention to the format of your resume and the keywords used to get past the computer to get to your resume to the eyes of a real person.
  • Prepare for a civilian interview: Be ready for any interview with research, and practice. Talk to yourself in front of the mirror to catch your nonverbal language or conduct a mock interview with a friend or family member.

Empire Resume’s military to civilian blog is jam packed with interview tips, job search help, tips for keeping your resume updated and more. So, bookmark our site for amazing content created just for you and other veterans each week.

We’re always here to help with your military transition. When you need one-on-one assistance, give us a call at 801-690-4085 or send a quick email to

Dr. Phillip Gold is President/CEO of Empire Resume and has vast experience writing resumes for service-members transitioning from the military into civilian roles. He served as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force responsible for leading nuclear missile security. Phillip is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and holds a BA in Communications from The Ohio State University, an MS in Instructional Technology, an MBA in Finance, and a PhD in Finance.

Military Separation Checklist

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