When a military personnel decides to leave the armed forces and re-enter into civilian life, the transition process can sometimes be more difficult than expected.
Military life is significantly different than civilian life in many important ways. Reuniting with much-missed family members can sometimes bring about unexpected emotions and a difficulty in going back to how things were before, including returning to former professions.
For many former service members, the complete lack of structure of civilian life compared to the highly regulated days of the military can make it extremely difficult to get a grasp on things let alone find a suitable job. When all clothing, food and other basic necessities were automatically provided, there was no need to think about these essential albeit benign tasks on a regular basis. Out-of-service ex-military members must begin reprioritizing these necessities while also concentrating on translating their military experience into marketable skills for the consumer workforce.
One of the most commonly cited difficulties of this transition period is getting used to the different sort of workplace dynamics that are at play in the civilian world, most notably the individuality and competitiveness inherent in so many jobs across America. In contrast to the military workplace where teamwork and group wellbeing are generally placed above individual pursuits, civilian jobs more often prize competitiveness over community.
Luckily, several government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) work tirelessly to help veterans become comfortable in the civilian world after having completed their time in the U.S. military. Some of these organizations provide veterans of all types with access to information and education courses about making great resumes, figuring out what might be the civilian equivalent of their previous job in the armed forces and much more.
Many of these organizations offer job training and one-on-one counseling for veterans who need help deciding on the right steps forward. Most of these organizations provide some form of job bank with hundreds if not thousands of available positions around the country that are great fits for former servicemen and women. Check out the resources below to find a group that can help you get all of the veteran job services you need.
The federal government sponsors several programs and organizations that are dedicated to helping veterans find work after leaving the military. Ex-military personnel should check out the following governmental organizations for help finding a suitable job:
Vets.gov was created by the U.S. Department of Labor to offer employment resources to both job seekers and employers who want to hire veterans. This web platform can help ex-servicemen and women get one-on-one job-hunting assistance, help with resume building, information on jobs hiring in the area and much more.
CareerOneStop Veterans ReEmployment is another project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor that is meant to be a comprehensive one-stop online shop for former service members. Linked with the American Job Center, this resource can help vets get information on the government benefits they are entitled to and help to figure out what career path is right for them.
Hiring our Heroes is a program sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation to help find transitioning service members and their spouses suitable employment. They organize on-location and digital job fairs, expos and other public presentations in addition to providing an online listing of available jobs from partner companies.
The Veterans Employment Center (VEC) also offers an array of educational and informational opportunities for vets seeking employment, particularly by helping ex-military staff prepare their resume and profile to be as successful as possible on the public job market.
The Office of Veterans Business Development is a program overseen by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to help veterans interested in entrepreneurship start their own business. This program provides info and training to interested vets on a range of topics including innovation, competing for government contracts, creating jobs and much more.
The Women Veteran Initiative is another product of The Department of Labor that focuses on providing female ex-service members with employment resources. For example, one of the initiative’s programs, Joining Forces for Women Veterans and Military Spouses Mentoring Plus program, provides free coaching, mentoring and professional guidance for women formerly in the military or a military household.
While government-sponsored programs are a great place for veterans to start their search for job assistance, there are several non-governmental organizations that may be able to offer veterans more locally based support in addition to more comprehensive employment services. Below are some of the most effusive NGOs that help vets around the country find work and transition back into civilian life:
American Veterans (AMVETS) is an organization that offers many programs to help veterans transition back into civilian life. AMVETS members can learn about volunteer opportunities that allow them to connect and give back to their communities, take part in any of several educational or job training activities receive information from National Service Officers on compensation they may be entitled to and much more. All of these services are free of charge for vets.
America Wants You is an organization that creates partnerships with businesses and corporations around the country to offer suitable job opportunities to veterans. In particular, this organization aims to help bring back the manufacturing industry to the U.S. while also providing as many decent job opportunities to former servicemen and women as possible through an online jobs board and skills training center.
The Veterans Support Organization (VSO) offers comprehensive programming to help those veterans who are struggling with starvation or homelessness due to lack of employment. The VSO is ready to pick up any vets in need and help them gain the skills they need to be able to get a steady job and allow them to regularly access food, shelter, support and other daily necessities. The VSO even make emergency funds available to veterans in dire circumstances.
VetJobs is one of the most touted online job marketplace dedicated to vets in the country, with recommendations from the several vet groups. The web platform also provides skill resources for resume writing, interview tips and more.
The USO is an organization that helps vets and their families feel at home no matter where they are in the world. The USO is a non-profit, private organization dedicated to helping veterans and their families feel like they have a home away from home. With 160 locations throughout the United States and around the world, the USO provides support, comfort and resources for veterans at all levels of their military career. The USO provides vets with help both for transitioning back into family life and for transitioning professionally, including programs related to building confidence and job search guidelines.
The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) organization works to help bridge the gap between vets from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and the public on the whole. To meet these ends, IAVA works to promote veteran rights through advocacy and awareness building campaigns in addition to helping ex-servicemen and women learn important information about mental health, medical services, the GI Bill, employment and training opportunities and much more.
The National Association of American Veterans (NAAV) group has pledged to support vets and their families by providing a strong network of support from the community, health care professionals, benefits coordinators and the general public. Veterans who are facing physical or mental trauma as a result of their time in service particularly benefit from organizations like NAAV that directly address the difficulty of transitioning back to civilian life both personally and professionally.
The American Legion is one of the oldest veteran groups in America and offers former military personnel with several types of social and supportive programs to help transition back into civilian life. Most importantly, the American Legion makes sure that veterans know that they have access to a safe space where they belong in addition to opportunities for the future. They are also politically active in support of veteran rights and have significant weight when it comes to lobbying in Washington.
The Wounded Warrior Project is another popular program that provides several types of aid to transitioning veterans who need help stabilizing before they can successfully find work. Their popular Combat Stress Recovery program helps vets connect with other ex-servicemen in their area and learn how to deal with their past and present situations. The Alumni program, on the other hand, helps veterans really begin to feel like part of the community by receiving one-on-one assistance and eventually being able to offer aid to other vets in need.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) project boasts a membership of over two million veterans who take advantage of the community and support provided by the VFW. By bringing together vets and their communities, the VFW helps connect individuals with others like themselves and with potential employment opportunities. Among other programs, the VFW gives away over three million dollars in scholarships annually and supports an extensive volunteer network across the country in addition to being politically active.