In Job Search Tools

By Brad Miller, TheMilitaryGuide.org

Learn how to showcase your military skills to land a civilian job! 

For many veterans, making the transition back to civilian life after a career in the military is difficult. Nailing down even the basics – re-establishing friendships and relationships, finding a place to live, getting a new job – can be intimidating, especially without the logistical support the military provides.

Looking for a job in the civilian world is the tallest hurdle for some vets. The military provides training for its members (some of it extensive, depending on a person’s position, rank, and achievements), but some military skills are harder to translate into the civilian workplace than others. By choosing the right field, you might find that the skills obtained through your military training can actually make finding employment easier. Check out the military-friendly fields and jobs listed below.

Aircraft technicianmilitary skills

If you’re looking for a job that pays well and is in high demand, working as an aircraft technician might be right for you. Aircraft technicians are responsible for the maintenance and repairs of all different types of aircraft (planes, helicopters, blimps, etc.)

Duties that come with the job include:

  • diagnosing and repairing electrical or mechanical issues
  • replacing defective parts
  • performing regular maintenance to make sure aircraft perform as they should.

Many aircraft technicians have specialties that include:

  •  electrical systems
  • engines
  • navigation systems

Because of the important nature of the job, employers want to hire people who really know what they’re doing. If you happen to be military-trained in this vocation, you’ll certainly have no trouble finding a job. If you haven’t been trained, you’ll need to obtain a mechanic’s certification or a repairman’s certification with the appropriate FAA rating.

Law enforcementmilitary skills law enforcement

Naturally, when thinking about careers after serving in the military, jobs in law enforcement often come up as an option. Veterans often have a desire to help keep their community safe. In addition, they require the need for a fast-paced, exciting job that tests their prowess and use their military skills

Working at a local police department may require only a high school diploma. However,  more and more departments are asking that employees have their associate’s degree. To work a federal police job, employees are required to have a bachelor’s degree. Before beginning their career, employees are required to go through police academy training, which usually lasts 12-14 weeks.

Private securitymilitary skills security

If you’re interested in protecting the public, working as a private security officer may be something to look into. This type of work  can vary greatly and range from protecting a bank to working as a personal bodyguard.

To work as a private security officer, a state license is often required, and if you plan on carrying a firearm, you’ll need another license as well. The basic requirements for working in private security are:

  • pass a background check
  • have references
  • proof of prior experience (military experience is relevant and preferred)
  • pass an assessment exam 

Personal trainer/fitness instructormilitary skills personal trainer

Maintaining a healthy body is one important aspect of being in the military. As a soldier, you must be at peak physical condition to protect the country you serve. Once you’re home and off the battlefield, you can use the military skills you learned to teach others how to stay healthy and fit by becoming a personal trainer.

Personal trainers:

  • work one-on-one with their clients
  • develop and implement a training plans to: 
    • lose weight
    • gain muscle
    • main health

You’ll need a high school diploma or the equivalent before you can take the exam to obtain the required personal training certification. And because personal training work requires you to push clients physically, meaning you could possibly find yourself in an emergency situation at some point, CPR and AED certifications are also necessary to help ensure your clients’ safety. The specific nature of your required certifications will depend on the fitness specialty you choose.

Construction supervisormilitary skills

As a construction supervisor, you’ll be responsible for making sure the equipment used and workers hired on a construction site are working together smoothly to complete a project. You’ll also:

  • inspect completed work
  • making sure projects adhere to all building codes
  • keep track of project budgets and costs
  • be familiar with construction practices
  • read and understand blueprints
  • monitor work site safety and efficiency

A high school diploma is required, and some college courses are preferred. Additionally, if you’ll be performing any of the tasks of a plumber, electrician or mason, you must be licensed. Licensing requirements vary state by state.

Teachingmilitary skills teacher

One function of military service is transferring information and competence for completing tasks. Your training  has taught you a variety of ways to train or mentor others. Those military skills will come in handy if you’re considering teaching or tutoring others once you’re back home.

You’ll need an undergraduate degree to become a teacher. Also, you’ll need some student teaching hours and you’ll have to pass the required exam(s) for your state. While this sounds like a long process, the United States Department of Defense offers veterans a program called Troops to Teachers, which helps vets complete the process of becoming certified public school teachers.

Emergency management specialistmilitary skills

In all branches of the military, you routinely receive training on what to do in emergency situations. An emergency management specialist is responsible for helping government agencies prepare for and respond to disasters, create emergency plans, and work to ensure that citizens’ needs are met in the event of a disaster.

You’ll need a bachelor’s degree and a Specialists in Emergency Management (SEM) certification through the National Association of Safety Professionals (NASP).

The certification process includes courses on:

  • emergency preparation
  • terrorism response
  • disaster assistance 
  • exam to test your knowledge

How your Military Skills Can Help you After You Servemilitary skills

Finding a job is hard under any condition. Finding a job while also re-acclimating yourself to life outside the military can be even tougher. Fortunately, your military training will come in handy in a range of careers that may be right for you. And if you’re willing to move, it will be even easier. Some states are particularly veteran-friendly in terms of their employment opportunities and you might be eligible for relocation assistance upon leaving the service.

Happy Hunting! We are here for you!

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Brad Miller is a Marine Corps veteran and owner of themilitaryguide.org – a blog for veterans, active duty service members, reservists, and anyone considering joining the Armed Forces. He started the blog to give back and create resources for people in the military community.

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