Transitioning from military to civilian life isn’t always easy. Beyond the discomfort of leaving established routines of the military lifestyle, finding a job may feel like a daunting task — especially in an organization that’s probably very different from the units or agencies in your military service.
If you think your military work won’t translate to civilian work, think again. While they may not correspond exactly, the skills you have definitely will transfer — provided you enter the right industry. When conducting your job search, you should understand that you have precisely the skills many employers actively seek. The trick is finding ways to show them how you fit the mold of the type of employees they want.
Here are 5 hot career tracks former military members should consider. Employers in these fields do appreciate military skills, once they gain an understanding of what you can do.
Open positions for cybersecurity jobs are growing at an incredibly fast pace. It’s projected that this field will grow 28 percent by 2026. The reality is that there aren’t enough people to fill these jobs, especially as cyber threats grow more sophisticated every day. According to a recent Forbes article, ex-military members are great candidates because many hands-on experiences from the battlefield translate well to the “battlefield of cybersecurity.”
You should also know:
- Many companies specializing in cybersecurity have government contracts and openly advertise for candidates who possess government security clearances. If you’ve held one, be sure to let employers know.
- Cybersecurity companies often seek former service members due to their strong work ethic and understanding of the need to follow protocol.
- If you have a college degree, you can enter this field in a position above entry level once you’re certified.
- Even if you aren’t yet qualified, you can get trained and certified through programs to help veterans gain the required credentials.
If you have military experience in cybersecurity, you should easily find a job. Recruiters and supervisors often believe that technical skills can easily be taught, but the analytical and critical thinking skills acquired through military experience are most valuable.
If you like to work with your hands, construction is a great avenue to pursue. This industry is growing at a rate that’s faster than average, so chances are you can land a managerial or specialized labor position. This is especially true if you’ve already had job experience or are qualified in the operation of heavy equipment.
Many companies actively seek former military members for their knowledge, work ethic, and skills. Managerial positions usually require a college degree; for most labor positions, a high school diploma or equivalency is needed. As a resource, you can explore the Helmets to Hardhats website for assistance in joining this field.
3. Home healthcare
The healthcare field is growing at an incredibly fast rate — but home health aides are in especially high demand, project to grow 41 percent by 2026. To qualify, you’ll need a high school diploma (or equivalent) and some on-the-job-training.
Employers in the healthcare field won’t just be looking for actual knowledge and experience; they also look at “soft skills,” such as:
- Communication and people skills
- Organization and punctuality
- Critical thinking, analytical, and problem-solving abilities
- Flexibility to adapt and improvise when needed
People working as home health aides (and in other healthcare jobs) need to possess these qualities. Since these skills are also relied upon by the military, you’ll have a great competitive advantage in the healthcare field. Getting CPR certified, or renewing your CPR certification if it’s been more than two years, is a smart way to expand your healthcare skill set and put yourself in greater demand.
4. Logistics and operations
In the age of rapid delivery, e-commerce continues to grow, and customers have high expectations. Businesses today work hard to get their merchandise to buyers as fast as they can. If a company’s logistics and operations processes don’t run like clockwork, they know they’ll fall behind their competition.
Logistics and operations positions were recently listed at the top of the list of in-demand jobs for veterans in 2018. If you want to land such a position, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree and leadership experience to qualify. If you don’t have a degree, look into education benefits for veterans and/or getting college credit for military service and/or training.
5. Skilled trades
If you’re interested in transitioning to a specialized trade that draws upon your military experience, consider these jobs:
- Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters: The number of jobs growing in this field is expected to grow 16 percent by 2026, which is much faster than average.
- Electricians: This field is anticipated to grow 9 percent by 2026, about as fast as average. This is one steady job that won’t be obsolete anytime soon.
- Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers: Another trade that is forecast to grow at a rapid pace—15 percent by 2026.
These are just a few examples of in-demand jobs in the skilled trades. For most jobs, you’ll need a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify, along with an apprenticeship and/or actual on-the-job experience. Some positions may require passing a postsecondary course.
The Key Is Finding Your Niche
Jobs are available out there, but identifying your niche can be overwhelming after separating from the service. If you’re having difficulty or aren’t sure where to start your job search, try exploring the Veterans Employment Center website. If you’re worried because you aren’t sure how employers will appreciate your knowledge and experience, you can try using an online skills translator to help you build your résumé. Another important factor to think about is whether you want to relocate after separating from the service. If so, you might want to consider seeking a job in one of the top veteran-friendly states.
When you leave the military, there are so many things to think about as you re-acclimate to civilian life. Finding a job will probably be at the top of your priority list. Fortunately, companies today have become highly appreciative of veterans and their unique skill sets. While you won’t necessarily find the exact equivalent of your military job in the civilian world, if you think outside the box, you could find yourself entering a dream career you previously hadn’t considered.