military civilian transitionTransitioning from military to civilian life is overwhelming in every aspect. As a former military spouse, I witnessed the struggle my husband faced, which also affected our transition as a family. Deciding where to live, financial instability, changes in medical care, and moving away from our support systems were just a few of the challenges we came across as he adjusted his job search strategy to the civilian sector.

Even though we had family and friends to rely on, our success in this experience came from the guidance of our close friends, also recently transitioned veterans. There is a certain sense of camaraderie, trust, and understanding from those who’ve worn the uniform, fought in combat, and truly understand the challenges to overcome to make a successful transition.

Today’s social media makes it increasingly easy to stay connected with veterans – and they don’t have to be a golden ticket to your next career move. Any type of support, from a couch to crash on while you get settled in a new city to ridding your resume of military jargon, can help make your transition easier. If you are looking to connect with veterans for advice, check out some of the following resources:

Unite Us offers an interactive map feature to help find community resources in your surrounding area. It’s a one-stop shop to finding housing information, education, and employment, as well as a place to connect with veteran organizations, peers, civilian supporters, and even a work out buddy, if needed. This site literally houses thousands of resources, with more always being added as the need arises.

HireHeroesUSA offers career transition assistance at no cost to registered service members, veterans, and spouses. This is a great place to get started if you need personalized assistance in translating your military experience, crafting an effective civilian resume that highlights your skills and achievements, assistance in creating a job search strategy, and learning to network for opportunities.

RallyPoint is a networking powerhouse exclusively for active duty service members and veterans. Even though it’s been dubbed as the “LinkedIn of the Military Community,” the founders, also veterans, pride themselves in designing a supportive community that understands what the military experience is all about. Not only is this an effective way to network, but it’s a way to connect with veterans who are willing to mentor you through this transition, gain insider information on military-friendly employers, become searchable for proactive recruiting efforts, and much more.

Remember, you are not on this mission alone. Being a part of the military community is something that you don’t need to remove as you transition to civilian life. Connect with your fellow veterans who’ve transitioned ahead of you as they are willing to support you during this time. Once you’ve made this switch successfully, remember to give back as there will always be a new generation of veterans entering the civilian workforce.

By Jaymie Pompeo, Career Coach at American Public University

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