Serving in the military often means getting a lot of specialized training, much of which can translate into valuable career skills. However, former military service persons who are searching for new lines of work might also want to consider whether they can turn a hobby or interest into a career opportunity. Or combine some of the training they’ve already received, with something they are passionate about. Military veterans can take their passion and make it profitable.
Here are some tips for former military members wondering how they can embark on a new career path that will be both financially and personally fulfilling.
Research career fields associated with your interest or expertise.
You may not even be aware of the different career possibilities that are out there, that would allow you to make a living doing what you love. So do some reading on different career possibilities, including jobs you could apply for, and freelance work you could pursue. For work ideas, check out job listings and career boards, and sign up for employment notifications via social media sites.
Learn how to market your military experience.
Not all veterans are aware of just how in-demand their skills might be. When detailing your military experience on your resume, you should include it in your overall summary, and in your work experience. Also mention any aspects of your career or training that are relevant for the section on achievements and awards, as well as skills and certifications.
Sometimes you may need to provide a translation into civilian terms, so that prospective readers understand the nature and extent of your qualifications. If you need a little extra guidance as you polish your resume and enter the job market, or in preparing for interviews, check out the great coaching and other services at Career Find.
Consider starting your own business.
Even if there are no job listings for the line of work you have in mind, don’t give up hope. You may be able to forge your own path by starting a small business. First, though, you should make sure there is a demand for what you have to offer. So, for example, maybe you gained a foreign language proficiency overseas, and are interested in starting a business as a freelance tutor. Do a little market research and see if this is a service people are likely to want and pay for.
What goes into launching a business?
Starting a small business can be more or less demanding, depending on what you are offering, and what kind of overhead costs are entailed. You may be able to start a business right from your home, with almost no startup costs. Or you may need to raise capital, acquire a brick-and-mortar location, and hire employees. Either way, you do need to begin by writing up a business plan, setting a business budget, and forming your company as a legal entity.
You may also need to purchase insurance and acquire licensing to practice in your preferred field. For instance, if you love doing carpentry and construction, and want to start your own contracting business, you will need to be licensed to work in the area of your choice. Remember that if you do opt to go the business route, there are loans and grants specifically for veteran entrepreneurs.
Figure out if you need to get further education or training.
Your military experience and training may suffice to give you the leg up that you need. But sometimes you may find that you aren’t quite ready to embark on your new career. You may feel there are gaps in your education that need to be filled. Or you may need to complete training and certification courses to qualify for certain positions or offer your services as a freelancer or entrepreneur.
If you are thinking of setting up on your own, it’s not a bad idea to go back to school for a little extra business education, so you’ll be prepared to manage your startup well. Or you could enroll in an online accounting program, so you’re prepared to oversee your own finances.
As a Military Veteran, you’ve worked hard and made sacrifices to get to where you are today. You deserve to have this opportunity to pursue a career that will let you further explore your interests and put your skills to work for your own career advancement.
Written by Kelli Brewer
Kelli Brewer is proud of her military family and is passionate about supporting military families. She is part of DeployCare, an avenue for resources and solutions for issues commonly faced by military families before, during, and after deployment. Their team is composed of military veterans and their spouses who have experienced many of the issues that arise when there is not adequate support when needed.