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Veterans in Transition: What I Wish Others Knew

In this second Veterans Day blog post we asked our veteran workforce to share what they wished other people knew about what their time of transition was like. Below are their answers and thoughts as we recognize the contributions of our veterans and seek to support and encourage those in the midst of a transition themselves.

“What do you wish other people knew when you were making your transition out of active duty?”

I wish they knew that it was a little bit of a struggle to get my first position because of the pre-publish reviews that my resume went through. I wish they knew that it was hustle and grind to find that first “civilian” job.

That people should believe in you, support your choice and help with the transition vice complaining how you were making a mistake, losing a chance at retirement pay, medical benefits, etc.

Just how valuable some of the qualifications I hold are. All too often people transitioning out of the military put their service at the top of their resume but can’t explain why their service is valuable. Your service probably is extremely valuable, but a civilian employer won’t view it as valuable if you can’t translate it into terms that they understand. This is an absolute must if you want to have a smooth transition.

Be aware that it takes time to transition from a military lifestyle to a civilian lifestyle. Patience and understanding will be key for the veteran.

Start early with your branding and do some serious homework in your career field of choice.  Target that field, and especially leverage the experience that you have from your military career field. Employers often look at Military experience and civilian experience separately, and you need to keep this in consideration (especially when talking salary). You can very easily loose that opportunity because your expectations are too high. Keep options open, and ask the questions ahead. Not every job post military can be project manager/ program manager, (large trend) research and leverage your military experience.

My biggest issue when I transitioned out of the military was going into a job where I was offered a lot less than the cost of living required. Do your research in the area in which you plan on living once you do get out of the military, and definitely know what your benefits are and what you’re going to need.

If you are asking what I wish the Transitioning staff at ACAP knew, please see below:

  • Market atmospherics: where contracts are executed which suit my tradecraft
  • What the average going rate was for an individual with my years of experience and education.

All of the different organizations available in the area that support military service members with transitioning out of active duty.

If you have dependents, consider transferring your 9/11 GI Bill education benefits to your dependents. You must do this while on Active Duty. Once you leave the service, you’re SOL.

How different going back to civilian life is to living the military. You will most likely not have a higher up telling you what to do, when to do it, and where, so you will have to figure it out yourself.

Understand your benefits and file your medical records and claims with the VA immediately. Also, you very well may have experienced quite a bit from your time in the military, DO NOT feel ashamed or alone in needing to speak with someone about what you have been through. These issues do not get better with time, they only get better with work.

Veterans are not perfect. It’s a down right, overnight, lifestyle change.

That the VET TEC program offers free IT certifications and a housing stipend without using your GI Bill.

Getting out and being out are two very different things.

Read the entire Veterans in Transition series:


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