What Civilian Career is Best for Me?
Deciding what career path to pursue after the military can be a long, complicated, and frustrating undertaking. While most of your peers will easily move to a career path that aligns with their military job, doing so may not be easy for you if your job or MOS in the U.S. Armed Forces doesn’t match a civilian career or industry. Unfortunately, the task is even harder if you’ve spent a lifetime of service in your respective branch of the military.
At Empire Resume, we specialize in assisting transitioning servicemembers with their career planning needs such as military resume writing, cover letter writing, and veteran LinkedIn profile creation. But before you can start using those tools to gain an interview, you’d need to figure out which industry and available position to target.
4 Top Civilian Industries for Veterans
According to the Military Times, the top industries for transitioning veterans are the following:
A post-military career in healthcare allows veterans to utilize other essential skills, such as hospital operations and logistics, administration, or medical research.
2. Government and public administration
Careers working for the federal government give veterans preference when applying for jobs, providing more advantages for those looking for work in the government.
3. Defense contracting
Careers in defense contracting are closely linked to the military, giving veterans a leg up due to their existing skills and training. Defense contracting jobs typically offer various position levels such as analyst, intelligence specialist, and quality assurance manager.
4. Information technology
Careers in information technology are well-suited to veterans, especially those who have experience or are interested in cyber security and data.
So, what do you do if your military job doesn’t fit into one of those four categories? Better yet, how do you move forward after you’ve entered your military specialty into a military to civilian occupation translator or even a military skills translator and it yielded no results?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. The above mishaps happen more than you think, and I see it quite often. Here’s my latest career advice for transitioning military members on how to narrow down your career path after the military.
Nailing Down a Career Path After the Military
As a certified resume writing professional, many of my military clients struggle with choosing the best career path after the military since there are many military jobs like Munitions Specialist and Infantry that have no direct civilian counterpart.
The dead-end military specialty is an issue that spans both the enlisted and officer rank.
One of the most common ways I guide military officers is to help them see how they can become an operations manager because they’ve led personnel overseeing operations. With my enlisted clients, I emphasize their personnel training or instruction they’ve done and have them investigate careers that are similar to personnel training like business or employee development, for example.
The best way to seek out the best civilian career is to focus on your skills and experience, not the job title itself.
You should review your job description and think about the type of duties you perform while you’re at work to see the bigger picture.
Job titles in the civilian world take on several different meanings and transfer to various industries. For instance, a Human Resources Specialist in the military can be a payroll clerk, file clerk, or recruiter in the civilian world. This job title also covers multiple industries. Every industry needs HR professionals.
Referring to the Munitions Specialist position I mentioned earlier, since there’s just not a demand in the civilian world for people that handle, load, and unload high, explosive weaponry, Munition Systems Specialists should seek these types of positions:
- Warehouse supervisor
- Inventory control
- Logistics and transportation
- Bomb disposal technician
- Missile and bomb test evaluators
- Packing and shipping
Alongside your skills, experience, and education, companies will focus on these key aspects of your military career and apply it to the position they are hiring for:
- Ability to work within a team
- Mission driven character
- Communication and leadership capabilities
Check out more of the key skills that the military to civilian transition requires.
If you’re able to highlight those aspects of your military journey, you can secure a civilian job no matter whether your job is in demand or not. Our next topic will briefly discuss why.
Use Your VMET as a Guide
Your Verification of Military Experience and Training (VMET) actually has a heading called “Related Civilian Occupations,” which lists several civilian equivalent roles based on your military specialty. Although some of these civilian roles may be vague or not really related, it’s still a good thing to look at to help give you ideas of which roles may suit you best in the civilian world.
Take Advantage of Veteran Upskilling
If you’re in a declining industry, you may be able to participate in what’s called “reskilling” or “upskilling.”
Upskilling or reskilling is a process simply takes a worker from a declining industry or career field and teaches them the skills required to work in an up-and-coming one.
Think about traditional, phone-based customer service representatives for a moment. With the increasing use of the internet, those in the customer service industry will gain the necessary skills and training to become digital customer service reps so they can effectively communicate while using online channels such as chat and messaging.
Upskilling gives the worker the opportunity to improve their career path without the need for lengthy and often expensive education courses at college or universities.
2 Major Companies That Upskill Veterans
Amazon has been on the move to upskill veterans for years now with apprenticeships and other programs that help to turn veterans into technologists.
Microsoft recently opened its doors to its tech education program, Microsoft Software and Systems Academy (MSSA), which provides transitioning service members, Guard, Reserves and veterans, including those with clearance, with critical career skills required for today’s growing technology industry.
Previously, veterans would have had to use tuition assistance or the GI Bill to access the program. Today, Microsoft is offering its program at no cost. The once in-person, now 100% remote program is now funded entirely by Microsoft.
Your Military Skills Lead the Way to Your Career Path
If you remember to focus on the skills and experience you have rather than the job title, you will be on your way to finding a promising civilian career whether it’s within the industry you thought it would be or not.
As always, for more military-related tips and suggestions, bookmark our military-to-civilian blog. Each week, you can count on us to give you the career tips you need to navigate your work life in and out of the military.
When you need affordable resume writing, cover letter writing, and help with creating a LinkedIn profile, contact Empire Resume. We deliver results, guaranteed!
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Dr. Phillip Gold is President/CEO of Empire Resume and has vast experience writing resumes for both professionals and servicemembers transitioning from the military into civilian roles. He served as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and was 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.