An Ounce of Prevention - 3 Ways for Veterans to Prepare for Civilian Employment

I'm sure you've heard the term, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Nothing could be more true when it comes to preparing for work outside of the military. Don't believe the hype that your recruiters told you and think that your military experience alone will help you land that great job; even with all of that leadership time you have. If you do, you may just be in for a rude awakening. Of course there are always exceptions to that rule, but if you want to guarantee success here's a few things you'll need to do:

1. Fancy Pieces of Paper!  Everyone loves fancy pieces of paper, especially when their name is on it. You know, the ones you see hanging up all over your bosses office. You know who loves these more? Business looking to hire! Get industry or commercial certifications for whatever type of employment you are looking to pursue. The military offers all kinds of certifications through their perspective education centers or your unit schools NCO. You can get ASE, EMT, and many others at extremely discounted rates or free. You'd be foolish not to take advantage of this, so get off your fourth point of contact get busy!

2. Get Educated Did you go to school while you were in? I'm not talking about those BS military schools either. I'm talking about real school. College. You didn't did you? Well, if it's not to late run over to the Ed Center and start cranking out those courses. A formal education (college) will go a long way in getting you that successful career. Even if you don't have that degree when you get out, at least you can show you are working on it. Trust me on this. All of that "Military Education" doesn't really amount to anything on the outside. Again, it's those fancy pieces of paper they want to see. Your future promotion depends on it.

3. Have you done this before? Experience is huge, but just because you did something in the military doesn't mean the experience is relatable to employment. So when you enlist or reenlist, take advantage of the training and experience some of those more skilled MOS's offer. Be advised though, military training rarely stacks up to it's civilian counterpart, so it behooves you to do the cognitive legwork now and refer to steps #1 and #2.

Employers are very eager to hire veterans. Want to know why? Well there are a few. First is your work ethic. Veterans typically do whatever it takes to accomplish the mission. Secondly, loyalty and integrity. We are loyal to those with whom we serve, and do that right thing when no one is looking. Right? Well, there's also a third reason as well. Taxes. Yep, taxes. Employers are offered significant tax breaks for hiring veterans and even bigger breaks for hiring disabled veterans. So, while the first two examples are reason enough to hire a veteran, the third reason NEARLY seals the deal. What will it take to seal the deal you ask? You guessed it; see the rules above.

So again, do everything you can to earn those certifications while you are in the service (ASE, EMT, EPA, etc.) You can't get decent jobs or promotions without them. Again, trust me on this.

There are tons of benefits the military offers to help smooth that transition, service members and veterans just need take advantage of it. Not to mention there are lots (thousands) of veteran service organizations, non-profits, and government agencies that will help guide you along on your transition, but success rests in your hands alone! GOOD LUCK!

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