Job Search as a Veteran

Navigating the Job Search as a Veteran

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Military service in the United States is a high calling. Several million personnel work in the military currently, which includes both service members and civilian roles. Those who choose to serve in the armed forces in a non-civilian role make great sacrifices to advance the interests of the nation and protect its citizens domestically and abroad. 

Military service comes with enough challenges of its own, but when veterans return home after their time is done, the transition to civilian life can be just as difficult. As a veteran, you may be dealing with emotional and physical challenges that are the result of your time in the military.

Another common obstacle that military service members face after returning home is finding a job. Perhaps you are unsure how your practical skills from the military will translate into a professional path back home. Here are a few tips to help you navigate the job search process as a veteran.

Seek Out Veteran-Owned Businesses

For many service members, they return home with ambitions of starting their own businesses. Maybe they discovered a passion or a skill that they can offer to society in the form of a new brand. Perhaps they want to be an employer themselves and run a tight ship in memory of their time in the armed forces. Either way, these entrepreneurs have soft skills that often make them more likely to succeed as business owners because of their discipline. As a veteran yourself, you might have a better chance of working for a business that is veteran-owned. Service members often want to look out for each other, and being a veteran can convince the owner to give your resume a second look. 

Consider Remote Positions

Perhaps you have a physical injury or illness that was acquired during your time in the service. Maybe this condition prevents you from working in many types of jobs. Fortunately, the growth of the remote workforce has opened up many opportunities for all kinds of workers. There are plenty of skills that remote workers should have that will come naturally to you since you have served in the military. Time management, independence, flexibility, self-motivation, and teamwork. All you need to succeed as a remote worker is a good home office setup, some equipment, (which many employers will provide), and ambition. 

Focus on Soft Skills

Many of the practical skills you learned in the military may not translate perfectly to civilian life, though there are certainly some roles that are perfect matches. However, if you want a job in an industry other than security or something similar, then you may need to focus on your soft skills. Since the practical things you know may be irrelevant, your resume and interview should be focused on things that employers in all industries care about. These skills include strengths like teamwork, improvisation skills, collaboration, goal-setting, detailed planning, concise communication, dealing with stress, adaptability, and focus. There are many skills that are honed in the military that can make you an excellent employee, you just need to make sure you convey that information to the recruiter or hiring manager. 

Disability Benefits

Even if you have important skills, military service can be a taxing process. Over the course of your time in the armed forces, you may have acquired an illness or injury. Perhaps you had a condition before entering the service that worsened because of your military career. These service-related injuries and illnesses can make you eligible for VA disability benefits, which would significantly help you financially if you are having trouble finding the right job. If you do have a service-connected condition, then you can file a claim to receive tax-free payments each month. The amount of the payments will depend on your disability rating. You can estimate your payments by using a VA disability calculator with the new 3.2% VA pay increase. This will give you a ballpark for how much money you would receive for your claim. 

Start Your Own Business

Maybe working for someone else is not for you. You learned a lot during your military career, and the result could be an idea for your own business. Becoming an entrepreneur is an attractive path for some veterans because they often have the drive and ambition needed to make it happen. If this sounds appealing to you, then make sure you get in touch with the VA to take advantage of its small business assistance programs for veteran entrepreneurs. 

There Are Multiple Paths to Income as a Veteran

It is important to not get discouraged if you are unsure about your professional future after returning home from service. Many businesses specifically look to hire veteran candidates. If an injury prevents you from finding the right career quickly, disability benefits may be able to keep you afloat. You can also pursue remote opportunities or start your own business. If you have no idea how to start the job search, you can always take advantage of educational and career counseling through the VA. Research these various paths so that you understand the breadth of options available to you as a veteran looking for income.



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