Transitioning from Military to Civilian Jobs
Are you thinking about transitioning from military to civilian jobs? I will begin by saying, do you really want to leave the military? Why? You should really consider staying and think about the reason you want to leave, especially if you are in the National Guard or military reserves. Here are some reasons why: it is becoming very hard to get back in once you leave. Ask anybody who has recently gotten out; they will tell you they haven’t been able to get back in. Don’t believe any recruiter that tells you that you should join the National Guard and then go active because that is even harder. Recruiting is also very difficult because they are having trouble with funding and a lack of need for certain MOS. Unless you want to be an MP or work in cyber security, you just won’t find any openings. These cutbacks have not only affected recruiting for active duty, but for the Guard and reserves as well.
Then there is switching from the military to civilian jobs. Civilian Job opportunities are very low even for military and people who have college degrees. When you are in the military, you can find good job security, especially for a good NCO, soldier, and officer. If you’re not happy with your current command or where you are stationed, then reenlist, change your MOS, or change where you’re stationed at. If you do decide to leave active duty, at least join the Guard or reserves. There are a lot of opportunities in both (even active Guard or reserve positions). On average, 65 percent of the people who get out of the military try to come back in at some point.
You Decide to Get Out
There are many things you should do prior to switching from the military to civilian employment. The first is decide where you will live and investigate the job market there. You shouldn’t get out just to become unemployed. Before getting out, you should get a security clearance because there are many more opportunities out there for people with a security clearance. If you check with organizations like the NSA and FBI, they offer military internships that eventually turn into permanent positions. You will have a head start by having a security clearance, so do this at least two years prior to leaving the military because it can sometimes take a year to obtain one, especially if it is anything higher than a “secret” clearance. I suggest you try for a “top secret,” and this will take at least a year. You should begin looking for civilian employment at least 6 months prior to leaving the military. The employment market is low right now, so it could take some time to find a job that is financially viable. You want to be able to make as much as you are making in the military or more, and find job security with a reputable company that hasn’t had large layoffs. There are many opportunities available for veterans. Find a company that gives preference to veterans. You can actually gain help through organizations such as “hero to hire” that help military members find civilian employment.
Obtain Your History
When you are ready to leave, you should obtain a record of everything you have done in the military two months before leaving. This record should include every school, every training you have received, and your awards. Especially be sure to review your ERB and DD214. This also includes your medical record. You don’t want to wait until the last minute just in case you find there are items missing from your ERB, 1059, or DD214. Don’t leave without all this information and everything that is supposed to be on an ERB or DD214 because getting it fixed (especially once you’re out) is going to be a nightmare. It goes back to the old saying “out of sight, out of mind.”
May I Suggest . . .
Before you leave, make sure changing from military to civilian employment is what you want to do! Please take the time to speak with people who have gotten out recently. Most of them will tell you that they miss it. It is very difficult for somebody who has been in the military (especially for somebody who has been in it for a while) to make the transition from the military to civilian employment. This can also be very frustrating. You should keep in mind that there aren’t many companies out there that need a cav scout or 11b. Yes, you can be a police officer or work security, but you would probably make more money staying in the military than doing either one of these. I am reiterating, but at least if you decide to leave active duty, join the Guard or reserves. You have a lot of benefits in the military not just vacation and insurance. (Keep in mind that you won’t get 30 days’ vacation your first year, free insurance, free rent, receive BAH, or receive any other special pay.) Be sure this is what you want to do and do your homework. Don’t leave without knowing you’ll have a job.