Looking for a job – now what?

Congratulations! You’ve made the transition from the military to your civilian life! As always, thank you for your service to this great nation.

Whether you are currently transitioning, or are a military veteran, you now face a unique set of employment challenges. How do you take the skills, knowledge, and experience you’ve gained in the military, and transfer them into a civilian employment opportunity?

Fortunately, CPI is here to help

We’ve spent more than 37 years helping veterans understand how their time in the military can be used as a stepping stone to build a lucrative civilian career. Begin by connecting with the professionals at CPI.

Lean on our relationships

We have built relationships with the largest DOD suppliers in the world, and many Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 automotive, manufacturing and IT companies.

Take your career where you want it to go

While each veteran faces their own unique set of circumstance, there are some general guidelines you can follow as you enter the civilian workforce:

Review all the skills and experience you’ve gained in the military and make a comprehensive list. Did you create and execute logistical information? Fly an aircraft? Repair tanks? Gain expertise in engineering? Information technology? Write it down. No detail is too small.

If so, please remember that most states and the federal government require their own licenses and certifications for jobs including flying planes, treating patients, and operating certain machinery. CPI will help you identify what kind of certification you will need, if any.

Use your cover letter, résumé, and networking conversations to highlight situations in which you took initiative, completed your mission or demonstrated flexibility and leadership. Be specific. Tell a story. Remember that hiring managers respond to compelling narratives with concrete examples and numbers.

Ask your CPI recruiter or someone in your professional network to review your work. Your goal should be to create a document which is compelling, detailed and brief.

As a veteran, you are among the elite. You have been a part of the largest and most prestigious network in the world – the United States Armed Forces. During your time in the military, you inevitably learned when and how to seek support and guidance to get the job done. You were taught how to network and build coalitions.

These skills will prove useful as you look for a new job. Start by asking family members, friends, acquaintances, and other veterans to put you in touch with people at companies where you would like to work.

Contact this new network and ask each one of them for an informational meeting. This is your opportunity to discuss your strengths, as well as your experience in the military and how those experiences have prepared you for civilian employment opportunities.

Ask your new network to keep their eyes and ears open for opportunities that would be a good fit for you. They may also be able to refer you to others in their companies who could help you find your ideal job.

Although building your network is vital, it’s also important to develop your digital footprint. You can do this by taking your networking skills online. There are countless platforms for veterans to give and receive support including LinkedIn and Facebook. Many social networking sites have groups dedicated to military veterans just like you. A quick search online is a great place to start.

Did you know that as part of our commitment to help veterans connect with available jobs across America, LinkedIn offers U.S. veterans a free one-year Premium Careers subscription, including access to LinkedIn Learning?

To be eligible for this offer, you must meet all the following requirements:

  • Be a current or former U.S. military service member (non-US military are not eligible).
  • Have not used the LinkedIn veteran promotion previously (one promotion per service member).
  • You must not have a current LinkedIn Premium subscription.

Spouses of military veterans can also redeem a free one-year premium subscription within six months of separation from the military, or if they’re moving due to a permanent change of station, through the U.S. Department of Defense’s Spouse Education and Career Opportunities program.

Learn More

Volunteering is an excellent way to find a new job. Why? Because when you volunteer, you are often connected with people that you might otherwise not meet. You never know who you’ll end up sitting next to at the charity event you’ve volunteered to organize. One of those people could own or run the company you want to work for. The possibilities are endless.

Volunteering is also a great place to develop new skills and hone the ones you already have. Career counselors often suggest that military veterans use volunteering as an opportunity to demonstrate initiative and to fill in employment gaps.

Transitioning into a civilian job can be a huge culture shock. In short, there is much less structure in almost every facet of the workplace. It’s important to remember that you will be entering a much more relaxed environment. You will not need to wear your uniform or salute, etc. But remember, relaxed doesn’t mean lazy. The people around you will be working hard; they just will be doing it in a way that’s a bit foreign to you.

With that said, there will be those who don’t do their fair share. If this occurs, try to motivate them by working together to solve the problem. Avoid complaining about others to your co-workers or sending it “up the chain of command” unless it’s necessary. Exhaust all possible collaborative solutions first.

Get to know your co-workers. You’re probably already good at networking and coalition building. Use those skills to advance your objectives. You will find that much of what you learned in the military will be useful to you at your new job. It will just take some getting used to.

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