Transitioning from the Military into the Civilian Workforce Getting to Know Corporate America
In preparation of your move from the military into the civilian workforce, you should think about what type of career progression you are seeking after the military. Your next career should be based on your qualifications and the type of work that you would like to do.
When exiting the military, service members are often attracted to opportunities similar to the job they performed in the military. While this can be a wise decision, a thorough self-assessment will help you decide what career field interests you. You should determine what values and interests you have and how those play into various industries or professions. Your personality and skill set should also be considered. Finally, don't forget to factor in your family situation, as well as any education and training that might be needed for a certain profession.
Translating your military experience into the civilian workforce
Whether you have determined that you would like to look for a career in the equivalent civilian field to your military occupation or you are just looking for a starting point, there are excellent resources out there to help you directly translate your MOS or MOC into a civilian job title. This function will also serve useful while writing your resume.
My Next Move is a very useful resource recently introduced as part of the White House's Joining Forces initiative where you can search for career fields based on your interests, browse career fields by industry, or, most importantly, enter your MOC and translate it directly to a civilian career field. For instance, if you were a Wire Systems Equipment Repairer in the Army, your MOC was 35N. By plugging this into the search, you will find that your civilian counterpart is a Radio Operator.
Clicking on the civilian title provides a litany of information, including a description of this field, typical responsibilities, Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities required for this field, as well as related fields, wages, industries, and the outlook on this field. This invaluable search can help you determine what types of jobs you qualify for and what to expect from various professions.
If you were a Sonar Subsystem Level II Technician in the Navy, My Next Move will tell you that your top civilian counterpart is an Electrical & Electronics Installers & Repairers, Transportation Equipment. By clicking on the civilian job title, you will find more job titles, such as Electronic Technician, Boat Rigger, Marine Electrician, and Critical Systems Technician.
When running a search for any MOC on this site, be sure to check out the Job Outlook section. This feature will provide good insight into what you can expect to be paid and how in demand that occupation is. For the Sonar Subsystem Level II Technician, the average wage is $48,410.
There are many military occupations that do not directly translate through these methods, however. And, while there may not be as much guidance as far as a direct translation of your skills, remember that you do know more about accountability than most of your civilian counterparts. These websites can still be helpful, though, as they can give you keywords related to your MOS that might point you in the direction of your new career. Don't forget that your breadth of experience complements many industries.
Veteran Success in Corporate America
There are many thousands of veterans who have been through this transition before you. You can learn a lot from their experiences, and may find success in a similar career or industry as someone with a comparable military background. Check out our descriptions of Industries and Positions tailored to veterans, as well as the list of Companies Hiring Through Orion as a starting place to conduct research in the areas in which you may be interested. If you are considering getting an MBA, take a look at our MBA Guide for Military Veterans to learn more.
If you haven't already done so, read the transition experiences of our veterans featured in Transition Corner who will give you the inside scoop on the transition and their civilian careers. And make sure to search our Success Stories to find the Industries and Careers in which others with your background have found success.
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