4 Tips to Help You Transition from a Military to Civilian Career

For 1.4 million Americans who are active military personnel and the other 850,000 reservists, a military career can be a secure, financially rewarding career. However, some may find it's just not for them and decide to return to civilian life, although there's a definite transition in place. We take a look at how military personnel can smooth that transition as much as possible, even though it may not be entirely seamless.

Give Yourself a Lot of Time

Leaving a job in the military isn't like giving notice at a civilian job; two weeks just isn't enough. You'll be adjusting to a completely different way of life, one where the people, expectations, routines, rewards and punishments are not at all the same. At least one year is needed for your transition, and this will allow you to evaluate your career goals, find comfortable living arrangements, and do all the other small things necessary to re-become a civilian.

Get a Degree

While the military is fantastic for teaching you survival skills, it's a little hard to tell an employer that shooting a 12-gauge shotgun gives you an in-depth understanding of the foreign markets. To this end, you'll probably be looking at getting an associate's or bachelor's degree, if you don't have one already. On the

Decide between Online and In-Person College

There are benefits to both, and approaching this decision for you is different than for a civilian. For example, if you choose to get your degree in person, the advantages include completely assimilating yourself into civilian life, which isn't a factor for civilians. However, that prospect of jumping all-in may be a little daunting, and completing your degree online can give you the chance to talk with specialists about the adjustment process, while at the same time affording you the time and flexibility to get your civilian affairs in order.

Market Your Skills to a Civilian World

As mentioned before, the military is great for teaching you a wide breadth of skills, and quickly. Those who can't learn to do the job in a set period of time aren't just employees who'll get passed over for promotions, they'll be discharged on account of not being a valid team member. You've already proven you have what it takes to pick a job and stick with it until you've mastered it, which is a huge plus for your resume.

As well, you'll need to figure out how to write your military skills in "civilian language". Did you work in intelligence? Transfer that to a field like communications or IT by highlighting your ability to work with sensitive information and the latest technologies. Along with this is learning civilian language, otherwise you won't be able clearly communicate in interviews – and could possibly get passed over for a job you were otherwise qualified for.