Whether you are still preparing for your transition back to civilian life or simply looking for a new line of work, there are several exciting careers that will allow you to capitalize on the skills you gained while in the military. Here are a few career paths you should consider during your civilian job search:
Pursuing a job in homeland security might be one of the most seamless career transitions you can make as you enter the civilian work force. During your years in military service, your work—whether it was maintaining critical equipment or participating in tactical missions—tied directly to the defense of the country. You’ll likely find it easy to transfer the skills and experience you gained in your military role to a civilian career in homeland security.
Veterans can seek employment with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which works to anticipate and counter any threats that may face the country. Within this branch of the federal government, you’ll have the opportunity to work in the realms of travel security, emergency management, border security, and immigration services. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the U.S. Coast Guard are all part of the Department of Homeland Security.
Human resources (HR)
You may not know it, but it’s likely you spent much of your time in the service handling matters related to HR. Did you ever work with a new recruit to help him or her adjust to your unit? Did you ever have to put together any kind of team and assign roles to a get job done? Or do you have experience overseeing other personnel and providing feedback about their performance? If this looks similar to your responsibilities in the military, then you have a strong foundation for a civilian career in HR.
As a HR professional, you’ll have the chance to bring your interpersonal, team-building, leadership, and communication skills to a role in which you’re responsible for the most important component of any organization—its people and everything they need to do their jobs well. HR encompasses a range of functions, from recruiting new talent to administering benefits programs to onboarding and training employees.
To pursue a job in HR, you may want to obtain certification as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and a bachelor’s degree first. Possible job paths include employee relations manager and human resources director.
Trucking may be an excellent career choice if you regularly worked with heavy machinery and vehicles during your military service. The trucking industry is looking for employees now more than ever, so obtaining a job in this field may be relatively simple for you.
Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) jobs are a big part of the trucking industry, and you should prioritize these opportunities during your job search. Obtaining this license will be easier thanks to the 2011 Commercial Learners Permit Rule: this statute allows you to automatically fulfill the requirements of the CDL road test if you’ve served in the military and operated a commercial military vehicle within 90 days of taking the exam. You must also have at least two years of experience operating the military counterpart of a civilian commercial vehicle. If you meet these criteria, the skills portion of the CDL test is waived; you’ll still have to take the written knowledge test, however.
With your CDL, you can open the door to a huge variety of job opportunities in the trucking industry. From truck driving to armored vehicle operation, you can find a role that best fits your skills and interests.
Marketing may not seem like a career in which you can draw upon your military skills, but both fields call for creative thinking and excellent communication. In a marketing role, it would be your responsibility to leverage these skills to help your company remain a strong competitor in the ever-evolving sales market. Drawing upon your analytical capabilities and decision-making experience will also help you get far in this field.
Marketing is becoming an increasingly popular career, with jobs in the field expected to increase by 10 percent (faster than the national average) by the year 2026. To tap into this market, you’ll need to obtain a bachelor’s degree—in marketing, public relations, advertising, or another related field—and pick up some practical tech skills along the way.
The world of finance includes countless career paths that will enable you to take advantage of the many skills you built during your time in the military. Depending on the capabilities you bring to the table, you can obtain a job in one of several areas.
Financial advising may be an excellent career choice if you are adept at facing high-stakes situations with a level head, keen decision-making, and strong judgement. Alternatively, you could pursue a career in accounting, which would allow you to make use of your analytical skills. Personal banking, budget analysis, and financial management are a few of the other paths you could follow within a career in finance.
What’s more, there are many financial organizations that are actively looking to add veterans to their staff, which will make it easier to obtain a job in this field. Of the many companies identified as 2019 Military Friendly Employers, 21 specialized in banking and financial services.