If you think you can do better on the outside, we’re not here to tell you you’re wrong. We’re just going to tell you a suit doesn’t look half as cool without your medals and rank. But if you insist on going to a different office every day, you need to figure out which ones you want to get into, which ones will actually have you, and then how to actually get in there.
Maybe you actually liked your military specialty and just want to do the same work on the outside. Then, good news! You can. Google has a search function for veterans looking for work in their field. All you need is your MOS, AFSC, NEC, or rating (if you don’t know what some of those are, they don’t apply to you). Just google “veteran job search” to find the search box and google will find openings in your area. You might have seen a Super Bowl commercial about it.
If you aren’t sure if your military career is for you, talk to an advisor or use some online tools to find out. Don’t freak out if you’re unsure. Most people leave the military relatively young, so there will always be time for a career change later.
There’s a chance you don’t want to continue working in your military occupation. If that’s the case, I hope you’ve spent some time getting an education in the field you want to work in. Most jobs don’t just open the door to anyone. The uniform looks cool but no one is going to hire you just because you wore cool clothes once. Assuming you have the basic skills necessary, you will need to have a resume, master some interpersonal skills, and be ready to do some serious legwork.
For writing a resume, there are a thousand tools that will help you learn how to do this but the most important thing to remember is to use the English language. Spell check everything. Look for typos. Act like this document is going to the Sergeant Major of the freaking Army because it’s an employer’s first impression of you and you don’t want them to know how much of a fool you are until it’s too late. Know all the jobs you’ve ever had, the skills and tools you learned for it, as well as all the education and certifications you needed. Once you have all that, it’s just a matter of putting it together in a concise way.
Remember how I told you you don’t want an employer finding out how much of an idiot you can be? Well if they like you, chances are good they’re going to check out your social media pages, so you might want to either go ahead and delete the memories of all your nights around Fayettenam or just make all your profiles private and give access only to the people who know you in real life. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, all of it. While you’re at it, take that nifty new resume and create a LinkedIn page with a decent photo of yourself. Employers are looking for this nowadays. Be sure to make that one public.
Maybe you don’t know where you want to look, if you want to live where you’re stationed or live near your home of record, or maybe you’re out to shoot for the moon and look for work somewhere entirely different. All of that is ok; the choices are big when the world is your oyster. Just remember that some companies are better at hiring vets than others. Some cities are more vet friendly than others, and before you land that big job offer, make sure you know how to negotiate a starting salary that takes your experience into account.