Military to Civilian Career Transition

When transitioning from the military to a civilian career, you will find many options. Searching for a job that is a good ‘career fit’ and utilizes your transferable skills (and conforms to your separation date) can be difficult … but it can also be challenging and exciting. It is important to begin this process as early as possible because the important decisions that you make when departing the service will impact your financial future and your ability to live the lifestyle that you and your family want.

  • Tips to help you prepare for your transition
  • Moving from the military into a civilian job
  • Ways of relating your military service to the civilian job market through your resume
  • When to use military jargon in your resume
  • Articles on the military to civilian transition
  • Websites with information on the military - civilian transition
  • Other websites to aid you in your job search
  • Sample resumes


Here are some tips to help you prepare for your transition:

  • Start early! Don’t wait until the last minute to begin your job search. Even if you are one or two years from separation, start investigating companies in which you have an interest - as well as recruiters who can help you with your career transition. Starting early builds knowledge of the job market, puts your profile in front of people who can help you, and gives you an understanding of the process necessary to successfully find a job.
  • Be honest with yourself and spend some time thinking about what you are passionate about.
  • It’s vitally important to be aware of your military skills and how they translate into the civilian world… You will need to do research to find out what various military skills and job titles are called in the civilian workplace.
  • Some job seekers will have an easier time adapting their skills to civilian jobs, but for those whose qualifications are not directly transferable, you will need to start thinking about how you have used your skills to achieve tangible and measurable results.
  • Consider going out and doing some informational interviews – This strategy is great for fact finding as well as networking.
  • Visit your Transition Assistance, Family Service or Career Resource office for information and assistance during your transition.

Cover Letters

Just like your resume, you have transferable skills you can highlight in your cover letter. Remember to use civilian verbiage and leave out any details of active duty.

Job Search

There are job search sites geared towards incorporating military personnel back into civilian life, but you do not need to use these sites exclusively.

Write to to request career advice and guidance. When you send a message, please:

  • Attach your most recent resume; and
  • Tell us (in detail) how we can be of assistance to you as you conduct your career planning.

Helpful Links

Civilian Employment

My Next Move - A portal for exploring career options for veterans.
CareerOneStop - A portal for exploring career information and locating career resources.
Indeed - A job and career search portal.
VETS Program (U.S. Department of Labor) - VETS serves America's veterans and separating service members by preparing them for meaningful careers, providing employment resources and expertise, and protecting their employment rights.

Federal Employment

USA Jobs - The official USA Jobs portal.
U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) - An Agency that manages governmental hiring procedures and policies.
Performance Based Interviewing (PBI) - A Veteran Affairs site that has sample Performance Based Interviewing questions.
Presidential Management Fellows Program (PMF) - A fellowship program for graduate students interested in Federal employment opportunities.

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