Finding Employment After Service: Three Tips for Success

Military service can be complex and demanding. However, readjusting to civilian life also poses challenges for Veterans. A Pew Research Center survey from 2019 says roughly one-in-four Veterans say that they found difficulties transitioning into civilian life. Amongst varying challenges, finding employment is one of the most difficult transitions for Veterans after service. Though it can be challenging, many Veterans can continue their success after service. Loyal Source’s Jena Hedrick-Walker, Director of Strategic Development and military family support program and psychological health services expert, shares three tips for success in finding employment post-service.

Step 1: Establishing a Routine

Veterans are no strangers to discipline and structure. The environment and routines practiced in military service inspires these traits. “The first recommendation I would make to a Veteran looking for employment after service would be to establish a routine,” says Jena. “The routines enforced in the military are instilled in Veterans, and Veterans typically thrive within a routine after service.” Routines can create structure and promote mental, physical and emotional well-being, helping prepare Veterans for non-combat service.

Step 2: Set Parameters in the Job Search

Searching for employment can be a daunting task. Jena recommends that Veterans set parameters around the job search to reduce the feeling of dread. “Job hunting brings rejection at times, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed and even obsessive over securing employment,” says Jena. “Setting specific timeframes around the job search can be helpful. Maybe it’s two hours a day dedicated to job hunting and no more. It’s important to also take time to check in with yourself. Dedicate time to fun activities with family and friends as well.” Setting parameters are crucial to avoid adding additional stress and anxiety to the process.

Step 3: Ask Questions

Courage is a core value in military service. The final tip for success is to seek help when you don’t know the next step to take. Asking questions and seeking help takes courage. “Seeking out mentors and networking with people with knowledge and skills about job hunting or other industries of interest is highly beneficial,” says Jena. “People want to help people. If a Veteran says, ‘I’m a Veteran, this is my experience. I don’t know how this will translate into the civilian world. Can you take 15 minutes to speak with me about this industry?’ people will be receptive to that and lend a hand.”

The Road to Success

Military service is not the only thing that defines Veterans. “I think it’s important to remember that we need to approach every single Veteran as an individual with strengths,” says Jena. “Society habitually believes that when you come out of the military, you’re damaged. I would argue that Veterans are some of the most resilient people I’ve met, and they are made stronger by their service rather than broken.” Ultimately, the resilience and discipline earned in military service will grant veterans seeking employment success. A routine, parameters in the job search and asking questions are some simple and tangible practices and habits Veterans can implement to make that transition easier.

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