Transitioning from the military to a civilian career can be hard. Many men and women do it each year, but some find it difficult to get into the job market, particularly those who went straight from school into training without gaining experience in other workplaces. If you want to make it work, focus on setting goals, following the steps below.
Define your needs
The first thing to do is to start defining what your goals are, and what you want to work towards. First of all, let’s think about where you want to be in the future. How much money do you need to be earning in order to live comfortably? How much extra would you need for fun luxuries such as a second car or a swimming pool? How much do you need to be saving, for example for your children’s education if you have any? How much is covered already by your pension? Where would you like to live, and what is the job situation like near you? Be aware that if you live near a military base, you will most likely be competing for jobs with other ex-militaries like yourself, who have similar skills and experience.
Think about jobs
Now you need to think about what kind of job would be right for you. This could be something that you want to do, something you have done before and know you can return to, or it could be something related to the skills that you gained while in service – for example, engineering.
When you think about the job that you want, consider the factors you have already worked out. It needs to be an industry where the average wage will cover the expenses you need, and there should be opportunities in the area where you have chosen to settle. If you aren’t qualified yet for the job, don’t worry too much just now. Choosing a career path which you will follow for the rest of your life is important for now.
Now that you know which career path to follow, it’s time to get serious about getting into it. What experience or qualifications will you need before you are eligible for the roles that you want? It’s time to embark on that path. Set yourself specific goals, such as going back to college to get a degree and then gaining work experience in your industry.
Be measurable so that you can see when your goals are complete: for example, aim to complete your degree in a certain timeframe and to be working in the industry within your first year after graduation. Be action-oriented and focus on the steps that you need to take, such as finding part-time work to finance your degree. Be realistic with your goals because this way you will be able to achieve them.
Tackle those goals
When you have your goals written out, it’s time to tackle them head-on. Keep them written somewhere that you can see them regularly, so you can check back on them and keep yourself honest. This will help you to continue working towards your overall goals.
Make smaller steps along the way – such as applying for jobs and choosing a college course – and you will soon find that everything goes faster than you would think.
The key to this technique is that by focusing on your goals, you can take everything one step at a time. Rather than an unattainable dream, your goals become something real that you can start working towards today.
Kate Thora is a Senior Content Specialist for Uphours, an online resource with information about companies. Her favorite subjects to write include marketing and career and business advice.