Making the Leap - Military to Civilian Transition
Updated: Aug 28, 2020
After several years of serving in armed forces, the military to civilian transition may seem overwhelming. Finding government jobs in El Paso or employment at all might bring on anxiety. However, you are in a good spot for success. Many times, servicemembers question if their military skills will be worth anything in the “real world.” Ask any resume writer or career expert and you will get a resounding yes. The truth is, when you are in the military your scope of responsibility and the sheer extent of your job is normally much greater than other jobs. You are given accountability for massive amounts of equipment, your team’s lives and career progression is in your hands and you deal with high stress situations and long hours on a regular basis. As a professional career coach and resume writer, I have a few tips to help you get started.
Have a Plan for the Military to Civilian Transition
Again, be encouraged that you are already armed with a wide skill set. It doesn’t matter if you worked in field artillery and you never touch a howitzer again. The work you did is still valuable. From budget management, maintenance, accountability, leadership to project management, it all matters.
The first thing you want to do is have a plan. Take time to consider what you want to do. Start by thinking about the aspects of your military job you especially liked and excelled in. If you were great at fostering a team and coaching your soldiers, you should start looking in personnel management. Some officers and NCOs do great at helping with career progression and managing personal files. These members can be well suited for HR. There are also fields like supply management, talent management and project management where others might be a good fit.
Do Your Research - Civilian and Government Jobs in El Paso
After you tack down what you want to, start researching what lateral roles in federal jobs in El Paso might look like. This is as easy as searching El Paso, TX in USAJobs.gov. If you are interested in transitioning to the private sector other sites like Indeed, ZipRecruiter or Career Builders might be a better fit for you. Be sure to look into the different roles available. You will want to find out if you need further education or certifications to be fully qualified for what you want to do.
Get Your Military Documents into Order
The next thing you want to do is get your military file ready. Too many service members don’t realize how vital their military documents are. For a successful military to civilian transition you want to be sure to gather your documents and create a neat folder or binder for easy access. Several of your documents will be required to obtain a federal job in El Paso. Many other employers will ask for proof of service as well. In addition, if you are planning on turning to a professional resume writer your evaluation reports are great for outlining recent accomplishments. Recommendations for awards may seem mundane to you, but to me as an expert, these types of documents help me to find excellent bits of info for a stellar resume.
Documents You Need to Get in Order:
ERB / ORB
NCOers / OERs
Proof of Disability Forms
Recommendations for Awards
Prepare Professional Career Documents
On that note, it goes without saying that you will definitely need to translate your military career into two different resumes. You specifically need a federal resume to apply for federal jobs in El Paso and elsewhere on USAjobs.gov. This is a vastly different document from a professional resume. It may seem like a task and a half to take all your skills, responsibilities and achievements and write them down for future employers in a coherent manner. This means translating jargon and using concise language.
Hire a Professional Or Write it Yourself?
There are two routes to get this done. You can do your research and take the time to write these documents yourself. After all, you did all the work and you know yourself best. There are classes on Fort Bliss that teach resume writing skills for free.
The second option is turn to a professional resume service to take care of the task for you. You can even enlist a bit of career coaching to help you land a government job. While this will take a bit of an investment, it will also take 10-20 hours of work off your hands. A resume writer will have the expert skills to translate your career into clean, precise documents for you to employ on your job search. Enlisting this help can become a source of expert advice for the process you have ahead of you. Many professionals provide ongoing support through your job search. This is true for me and my writing firm. We provide as much assistance as possible to all of our clients. We understand that the majority of professionals come to us with trying situation or during vulnerable times in life. We always provide a free consultation to make sure our services are a good fit before getting started on a project.
Be Patient With Your Timeline for Your Military to Civilian Transition
Whether you want to be employed in the private sector or are looking for a government job in El Paso, be patient with your time. It can take three to nine months to land a job after exiting the military. This is especially true with federal jobs. The military to civilian transition will take some work but it is not impossible. By using the resources available to you, you can be sure to find a satisfying second career.