The Journey Home

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Every year about 200,000 military service members transition from active duty to civilian life, with most of these valuable members of our communities experiencing significant and, at times, painful life changes.

While some return to their “home of record,” most will relocate to a new place offering meaningful employment or job-related education.

During reintegration, each veteran and their loved ones face unique challenges and circumstances. They need adaptable, customized support in vital areas, such as navigating VA services, education, employment, physical and emotional wellness, financial literacy and housing.

In 2018, the VA issued a report, The Military to Civilian Transition: A Review of Historical, Current, and Future Trends. More than 8,500 veterans, active-duty, National Guard and Reserve members and dependents identified their transition challenges:

  • Navigating VA programs, benefits and services 60%
  • Finding a job 55%
  • Adjusting to civilian culture 41%
  • Addressing financial challenges 40%
  • Applying military-learned skills to civilian life 39%

A Pew Research Center survey published in September 2019 indicates that 26 percent of veteran respondents found transitioning to civilian life was very or somewhat difficult. That percentage jumped to 48 percent for veterans who served after 9/11.

A military transitioning veteran at a job fair talking to a woman about future civilian employment
Photo Credit: 143d Sustainment Command

After years of high veteran unemployment, the tide appears to be turning, at least for finding a job. A Bureau of Labor Statistics report in April 2022 shows that veteran unemployment was 4.4 percent in 2021, compared with 5.3 percent for nonveterans. Unemployment for both white and Black veterans was lower than for their nonveteran counterparts. The picture continues to brighten, with veteran unemployment at 3.7 percent in April 2022, compared with 3.9 percent for the country.

Getting a job is just one challenge. Another challenge is keeping it or using it as a launchpad into a rewarding career. Pre-COVID-19 job attrition for veterans is alarming. Forty-three percent of veterans left their first civilian job within a year, and 80 percent before their second anniversary.

Civilian recruiters are increasingly better at matching a veteran’s former Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) in job placement. However, MOS assignment is driven not only by a service member’s Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) but also by the military’s needs.

In short, a veteran’s former MOS might not reflect current passions or career aspirations. Is there a way to improve job retention?

The National Veterans Transition Services, Inc. (NVTSI), or REBOOT for short, a San Diego nonprofit focused on reintegration, is collaborating with the scientific community to develop and test Job-Set, a smart app providing veterans a chance to be matched with actual jobs they qualify for that they might not otherwise find or consider. Using an artificial intelligence-based algorithm to help a user build a profile based on 600+ attributes, Job-Set finds matches in a database of millions of jobs by capitalizing on O*NET, the Credentialing Opportunities On-Line (COOL) program and the National Labor Exchange. Currently in beta testing, Job-Set is free for veteran and military spouse job seekers.

A military service member in camo carrying his daughter as he arrives home at an airport
Photo Source: Defense Visual Information Distribution Service

Reintegration delays cause problems. Homelessness, drug addiction, divorce and incarceration are symptoms of a disjointed support system for transitioning veterans. Today roughly 45,000 nonprofits and numerous federal, state and local government agencies offer support. Navigating through this huge network is both confusing and frustrating.

To help navigate the transition process, NVTSI recently transformed DoD’s Managing Your Transition Timeline manual into an app to help service members manage their transition as early as 24 months before their release. The app also connects users directly to participating local veteran service organizations for a warm hand-off.

In its White Paper After the Sea of Goodwill: A Collective Approach to Veteran Reintegration, published in October 2014, the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Office of Reintegration stated:

Written By Kate Karniouchina, Maurice Wilson and Jim Wong

“Now is the time to create a national structure — characterized by functional cooperation, cross-sector collaboration and an integrated network — to establish a no-wrong-door capacity that allows our country to reintegrate effectively veterans and their families as a matter of course.”

 

With this in mind, NVTSI created a prototype Center for Military Veterans Reintegration (CMVR). Designed to be owned and staffed by the local community, the first CMVR opened in Downey, Calif., in May 2022 as both a physical location and an electronic portal (Eco-Center) with easy access for veterans and their families in greater Los Angeles. The CMVR’s purpose is to spur public-private partnerships to streamline the journey home for veterans and ease the burden on loved ones.

Best Tech Majors for High Paying Jobs

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Business man pointing finger towards computer screen with a flash of light surrounding screen and his hands on the keyboard

Your military service has prepared you for a lot. You have a desirable skillset that can be used in any work environment, you’re entitled to generous financial aid, and you have a perspective that can positively contribute to the workforce.

What’s the best career for you to apply your skills?

If you’re one of the many veterans looking to return to school but unsure about what major to pick, consider majoring in a tech field. Tech jobs are not only high-paying, diverse, secure and consistently growing, but these fields have experience in veteran hiring and recruiting practices.

Here are some of the most popular tech majors for veterans:

Computer and Information Technology:
Information technology (IT) is the use of computers to create, process, store, retrieve and exchange all kinds of data and information. Employment in computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 13 percent from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations.

Popular Information Technology Careers:
■ IT Analyst
■ IT Technician
■ Data Scientist
■ Systems Analyst
Those in the information technology field make an average salary of about $97,430, which is higher than the median annual wage for all occupations by about $52,000.

Web Development:
Web developers create and maintain websites. They are also responsible for the site’s technical aspects, such as its performance and capacity, which are measures of a website’s speed and how much traffic the site can handle. Web developers may also create content for the site. Jobs in this field are expected to grow by 13 percent, about double the average rate for all other occupations.

Popular Web Development Careers:
■ Digital Design
■ Application Developer
■ Computer Programming
■ Front-End and Back-End Development
■ Webmaster
Web designers make an average of about $77,200 per year.

Database Management:
Database administrators and architects create or organize systems to store and secure a variety of data, such as financial information and customer shipping records. They also make sure that the data is available to authorized users. Most big-name companies utilize database administration, offering employment at companies of all backgrounds and environments. Jobs in this field are growing at a steady rate of about eight percent.

Popular Database Management Careers:
■ Database Engineer
■ Database Manager
■ Cybersecurity
■ Security Engineer
The average salary for database management is about $98,860 per year.

Software Development:
Software developers create computer applications that allow users to do specific tasks and the underlying systems that run devices or control networks. They create, maintain and upgrade software to meet the needs of their clients. Jobs in this field are growing extremely fast at about 22 percent.

Popular Software Development Careers:
■ Software Engineer
■ Full-stack Developer
■ Quality Assurance Analyst
■ App Developer
■ System Software Developer
The average salary for software development is about $110,140 per year.

Sources: Indeed.com, BLS,

Free Resume Guide for Veterans

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Man holding a sign that says

Switching careers takes courage. And veterans know a thing or two about courage. But when military personnel finish serving their country and look to re-enter civilian life, they need more than just strong nerves to make the transition to a new career. Finding a job demands practical strategies. According to a Pew Research Center study, 95% of veterans seek employment after serving in the military.

26% of veteran respondents, however, found shifting from the military to the civilian lifestyle to be somewhat difficult.

One of the biggest struggles for veterans is creating a compelling military to civilian resume that’s going to help them get a job that’s well-paid and enjoyable.
 
 
Learn everything you need to know to create a compelling veteran resume, including:

  • Military to Civilian Resume Example
  • How to Write a Military Veteran Resume (8 Simple Steps)
  • Free Military to Civilian Resume Template
  • Essential (Free) Job-Search Resources for Veterans

Read on for your free resume guide, complete with sample resumes at https://novoresume.com/career-blog/military-veterans-resume.

2-Week Virtual REBOOT Workshops

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The transition to civilian life is not a job change . . .It’s a life change! Our 2-Week Virtual REBOOT WorkshopTM Will Help You ReLearn ! ReBuild ! ReBrand

Making the transition back to civilian life from the military to civilian life can be a difficult challenge, especially for the newer and younger generation of service men and women who were deployed several times to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Designed for active-duty service members, guard/reserves, veterans and dependents, the REBOOT Workshop™ is a series of behavior-based educational seminars that promotes a successful social transition from military service to civilian life. The goal of the workshop is to assist veterans in re-framing their mindset from the military to civilian lifestyle, with all veterans achieving, within their potential, their goals in the TRANSITION DOMAINS of:

Employment and Career, Education, Living Situation, Personal Effectiveness & Wellbeing, and Community-Life Functioning.

2 Week Virtual REBOOT Workshop™ Schedule
(8:00am – 1:00pm PST Time Zone*)
• Feb 6 – 17, 2023
• Mar 6 – 17, 2023 (Women Only)
• Apr 3 – 14, 2023
• May 1 – 12, 2023
• Jun 5 – 16, 2023
• Jul 10 – 21, 2023
• Aug 7 – 18, 2023
• Sep 11 – 22, 2023
• Oct 16 – 27, 2023 (Women Only)
• Oct 30 – Nov 09, 2023
• Dec 4 – 15, 2023
• Jan 8 – 19, 2024

REBOOT Your Life, and A New Career, ENROLL Today at: rebootworkshop.vet or call 866.535.7624 for more information.

4 Reasons to Consider a Career in Energy

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six workers on rooftop solar panel

Implementing clean energy is far from just a phase, it’s a necessity. Given the growing concern with the climate crisis; scientists and innovators from across the country are working together to power our daily lives through environmentally friendly means. By joining a career in clean energy, you could not only aid in these efforts, but do so while securing a stable, growing career.

Here are five reasons why you should consider the clean energy workforce:

It’s a Growing Field in Every Way

We all know that clean energy is popular on a societal standpoint, but even economically the field is thriving. In late 2021, President Biden passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which among other things invested $65 billion in support for clean energy infrastructure, research, jobs and much more. More recently, the CHIPS and Science Act, as well as the new Inflation Reduction Act, have added billions in investments for clean energy jobs and technologies. This makes the salaries of those in Renewable energy higher than average.

Along with being incredibly well funded and well equipped for hiring, the industry also has a lot of opportunities for advancement. Since the industry is relatively new, many clean energy sectors look to promote within their current employees.

The Job Types are Endless

When we think of jobs in renewable energy, we tend to think of scientists, engineers and even construction workers. While all of these areas of expertise are looking for jobs, you don’t have to wear a lab coat or a hardhat to join the field. In fact, you can come from just about any background and find a career in energy that will work for you. For example, the Department of Energy hires for positions in an extensive list of positions including:

  • Business Administration
  • Communications
  • Construction
  • Engineering
  • Finance
  • Human Resources
  • IT/Cybersecurity
  • Legal Affairs
  • Marketing
  • Manufacturing
  • Operations Research
  • Physical Science
  • Public Policy
  • Safety
  • Sales

It is never too late or too difficult to join the clean energy workforce, and there are so many different ways in which you can apply your skills.

The Work Environment

As an often well-funded and new career industry, the clean energy sector tends to do a better job at keeping up with current business trends and creating a thriving work culture. This allows for many of the employees in the field to be positive and passionate about their work. Benefits of the work environment of the clean energy sector can include:

  • Fantastic diversity and inclusion initiatives in every sector
  • Health care benefits
  • Retirement plans
  • Working with passionate, like-minded coworkers
  • Opportunities to work in-office or from home
  • Opportunities for creativity, innovation and collaboration

You’re Making a Difference

There are many reasons to work toward a clean energy future. Whether it’s to protect the environment, promote energy justice, secure national energy independence, make scientific advancements or lower energy costs, there are many moral reasons you may have for wanting to join the field. In some industries, it can be difficult to see how any of the work you’re doing is making a difference in the world, but the clean energy industry does the exact opposite. In clean energy, no matter what your part is, your field is working to literally change the world every day by fighting climate change and promoting a healthier world for generations to come.

Sources: Department of Energy, Whitehouse.gov, Michael Page

What to Consider Before Moving Post-Military

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Close up of male hand packing property in cardboard box with spouse in the background

The day will come when you’re preparing to transition out of the military. You might have spent time thinking about where you want to live when this day arrives. As you decide where to live after your military separation, it’s helpful to consider:

  • Your family’s wishes
  • Career opportunities
  • Education
  • Cost of living

Talk with your family

The decision about your next home will affect the entire family, so include them in every step of the process. Here are some things you might want to think about:

  • Career and educational opportunities— Do you want to start a new career? Does your spouse want to continue their career or start a new one? What about the kids? Where are the best schools? Base your decisions on what will be good for the whole family.
  • Extended family— How close do you want to be to your extended family — “See you tomorrow” close, or “See you on holidays” close? Take a careful look at your hometown and evaluate the job market, schools and cost of living.
  • Career goals— The Department of Defense’s mandatory Transition Assistance Program will help you prepare for life after active duty. Whether you plan to pursue a civilian job, continue your education or join the Reserves, the Transition Assistance Program will help you develop a plan and make sure you are ready to pursue your goals. In addition, the Military Spouse Transition Program provides guidance to help spouses transition to civilian life, including starting or continuing a career

Consider your options

Make a list and prioritize what is most important to you, like job opportunities, schools, climate or cost of living. Then, do your research to find the best match.

The following can help you make the military-to-civilian transition a little easier:

  • Take advantage of resources like the CareerOneStop Veteran and Military Transition Center, sponsored by the Department of Labor. The Veteran and Military Transition Center website allows you to access free interest and skills assessments, explore civilian careers and education options, search for jobs, learn about benefits and much more.
  • Search websites — Many websites can help you find the best places to live by letting you order the importance of categories like education, crime rates, climate and housing costs. You can narrow your search by preferences or compare your favorite cities.
  • Find local information — Eligible users can search for local community information on the MilitaryINSTALLATIONS website. On the home page, after the words “I’m looking for a …” choose the option “State resources.” Then click on the words “VIEW ALL STATE RESOURCES” located under the magnifying glass. This brings up a list of all 50 states. Click on any state, then look for the box titled “Local Community Information.” Click on the link for eligible users. You will need to enter your Military OneSource user identification and password to access the tool.
  • Identify unique, personal preferences — Some preferences can’t be factored into a test or a website. You may want to live close to a military installation so you and your family can take advantage of military benefits. Or you may want to move near a particular reserve unit where you can train in a specialized area.
  • Weigh your options — Write down the available choices and assess the pros and cons of each. Use your list to help you look objectively at options.
  • Prepare for mixed emotions — Be prepared for different kinds of feelings as you transition from active duty. It’s normal to be nervous about big life changes like this. No decision is 100 percent guaranteed, but the better you prepare, the more likely you are to set up yourself and your family for success.

Access military support

Your relocation benefits include one final move from your last duty station within the time and geographic limits listed below. If you live in installation housing, you may be allowed one move out of housing into the local community and another final move within these limits. Check with your installation transportation office for details on benefits specific to your final move.

  • Retirement — You may be moved anywhere within the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii) or to your home of record outside the United States within one year of your retirement date. (This is called a home of selection.)
  • Involuntary separation (honorable discharge)— You may be moved anywhere within the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii) or to your home of record outside the United States within one year of your separation date.
  • Voluntary separation (honorable discharge)— You may be moved to your home of record (or an equal or lesser distance) within 180 days of your separation date. If you choose a destination of greater distance, you will be obligated to pay the additional costs.
  • General discharge (under honorable conditions)— You may be moved to your home of record (or an equal or lesser distance) within 180 days of your separation.

Once you have made your decision, contact your installation transportation office about scheduling your move. The earlier you start to plan, the more likely you are to get the move dates you want.

Source: MilitaryOneSource

Great Jobs for Veterans You May Not Have Considered

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air traffic controller looking out tower wimndow with headphones on

Law enforcement, IT management and the medical field are all career fields that you’ve been told are great for veterans. And while these jobs are fantastic for transitioning veterans in almost every way, they are far from the only options veterans can pursue in their post-military life. Suppose you’re looking for a career different from the “veteran norm” while still providing job security and reasonable salaries. In that case, one of these unique career profiles might be for you:

Dental Hygienist

Job Description: Dental hygienists examine patients for signs of oral diseases, such as gingivitis, and provide preventive care, including oral hygiene.

They also educate patients about oral health. Their job tasks usually include teeth cleaning, taking x-rays, assessing oral health and documenting patient care.

Desired Skillset:

  • Critical thinking
  • Communication
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Dexterity

Education: Dental hygienists typically need an associate degree in dental hygiene; they may also get a bachelor’s degree. Programs usually take three years to complete and offer laboratory, clinical and classroom instruction. Areas of study include anatomy, medical ethics and periodontics — the study of gum disease.

Annual Salary: $77,810

Air Traffic Controller

Job Description: Air traffic controllers coordinate the movement of aircraft to maintain safe distances between them. They manage the flow of aircraft into and out of the airport airspace, guide pilots during takeoff and landing and monitor aircraft as they travel through the skies.

Desired Skillset:

  • Communication
  • Multi-tasking
  • Decision-making skills
  • Math proficiency

Education: Candidates who want to become air traffic controllers typically need an associate or bachelor’s degree, often from an AT-CTI program. Bachelor’s degree fields vary; examples include transportation, business or engineering. Other candidates must have three years of progressively responsible work experience, have completed four years of college or have a combination of both.

Annual Salary: $129,750

School Principal

Job Description: Elementary, middle and high school principals oversee all school operations, including daily activities. They coordinate curriculums, manage staff and provide students with a safe and productive learning environment. In public schools, principals also implement standards and programs set by the school district and state and federal regulations. They evaluate and prepare reports based on these standards by assessing their school’s student achievement and teacher performance.

Desired Skillset:

  • Interpersonal skills
  • Leadership
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Communication

Education: Principals typically need a master’s degree in education leadership or education administration. These master’s degree programs teach prospective principals how to manage staff, create budgets, set goals and work with parents and the community. Principals also need teaching experience.

Annual Salary: $98,870

Wind Turbine Technician

Job Description: Wind turbine service technicians, also known as windtechs, install, maintain and repair wind turbines. They are usually responsible for inspecting wind turbine towers’ exterior and physical integrity, performing maintenance and repairs and collecting turbine data.

Desired Skillset:

  • Physical strength
  • Physical stamina
  • Troubleshooting skills
  • Detail-oriented

Education: Most windtechs learn their trade by attending technical schools or community colleges, where they typically complete certificates in wind energy technology. However, some workers choose to earn an associate degree. Windtechs usually acquire knowledge in mechanical systems, computers, electrical and hydraulic maintenance, first aid, rescue and safety and CPR.

Annual Salary: $56,260

Railroad Workers

Job Description: Railroad workers ensure that passenger and freight trains run on time and travel safely. Some workers drive trains, some coordinate the activities of the trains and others operate signals and switches in the rail yard.

Desired Skillset:

  • Customer-service skills
  • Hearing and visual ability
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Leadership skills

Education: Rail companies typically require workers to have a high school diploma or equivalent. However, employers may prefer to hire workers with postsecondary education, such as coursework, a certificate, or an associate or bachelor’s degree. Locomotive engineers and conductors must be certified by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).

Annual Salary: $64,150

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Trade-schools.net

The Dos and Don’ts of Veteran Interviews

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professional woman seated behind monitor extending her hand

Many civilian employers have admitted challenges when it comes to evaluating a veteran during a job interview. This is often because veterans have difficulty explaining how their military experience relates to the needs of the civilian employer. Additionally, while veterans will be quick to praise their team or unit, they are typically not self-boastful in interviews, so civilian employers can often feel like veteran candidates are not “selling themselves.”

It is important to keep in mind that the concept of professional presentation is often different for former military personnel than for civilians. Military personnel (particularly those recently separated/discharged from military service) will often present themselves with eyes forward, back straight and using “Sir” and “Ma’am” vocabulary (often without much smiling). This behavior may be misperceived as cold, distant, unapproachable or demonstrating a lack of social skills. While this is generally not the case, these perceptions have caused many service members to be discarded early in the interview process.

Employers should recognize that former military personnel may need permission to “speak freely” to create a comfort level where they can appear in the most positive light. Hiring managers should be encouraged to be patient with these candidates and to “dig deep” with follow up questions to find qualities that are not apparent at first glance. It is worth remembering that veteran candidates, unlike many civilian candidates, may not be accustomed to interviewing and may require a little latitude.

Know What You Can and Should Not Ask During an Interview

First and foremost, interviewing a veteran or wounded warrior is no different than interviewing any other candidate. It is important to ask all questions of all candidates, without exception. A good interviewing practice is to ask all candidates the following question: “Have you read the job description? Yes or no — can you, with or without a reasonable accommodation, perform the essential functions of the job?” You are not asking the candidate to disclose whether or not they have a disability but are ensuring they can perform the essential functions of the job. In addition, you make it clear that as an employer you understand this process and are not likely to discriminate due to disability.

Great questions to ask veterans can include:

  • What is in the job description that interests you most?
  • Can you, with or without a reasonable accommodation, perform the essential functions of the job?
  • What type of training and education did you receive in the military?
  • Were you involved in the day-to-day management of people or supplies?

Questions you should NEVER ask veterans include:

  • What type of discharge did you receive?
  • Are you to be called up for duty anytime soon?
  • Did you experience any combat operations?
  • How could you leave your family while you were deployed?
  • Have you ever killed anyone?
  • Do you have post-traumatic stress disorder?

Making a Decision

If you feel like the veteran you interviewed for the position is simply not the right fit, you shouldn’t feel obligated to hire a veteran just because they are veteran. However, you do need to take special factors into consideration when it comes to making a final decision on whether you should hire a veteran:

  • Did the veteran progress throughout his/her military career?
  • Identify the strengths such as leadership, accountability and team building
  • Look for compatibility — did the veteran match their military skills with the position?
  • Remember veterans have a myriad of soft skills, like leadership and flexibility
  • Veterans possess skills that can make them some of your best employees

Make sure that whatever your decision for hiring, that you hire the veteran because they are the best candidate. In the end, it will be the most beneficial to the employer and employee alike.

Sources: Obama White House Archives, Department of Veteran Services Ohio

Challenge Accepted: Mastering Military Transition

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“Women veterans are a strong group of people. They worked hard, deployed, raised families and sacrificed their time, energy and selves to earn their ranks, titles and places in history books that have not yet been written.

Women have great instincts and deserve a seat at every table, in every boardroom, at every town hall meeting and at any discussion where decisions need to be made. Women have always been an integral part of society and [the] future of the world. It’s time that women are put out front to receive the recognition of all the decades of hard work that has been put in to establish a legacy in the armed forces.” -retired Master Gunnery Sergeant Carla Perez, USMC

Let’s meet one of these esteemed women, 28-year USMC veteran retired Master Gunnery Sergeant Carla Perez. MGySgt Perez began her career in the Marines on May 17, 1993, and retired on December 31, 2021. Her service included three deployments: Bosnia in 1996, Iraq in 2008-2009 and Afghanistan in 2010-2011. She was stationed in many places around the globe, including 29 Palms, California; Iwakuni, Japan; Camp Pendleton, California; Vancouver, Washington; Marine Corps Air Station, Mira Mar in San Diego and Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

Although Perez was raised in a family of veterans, the military was not initially in her plans. She graduated high school and went on to college at the University of Montana but returned home to Oregon when she didn’t have the funds to continue her studies. There, she worked a few odd jobs until a recruiter found her and offered her the opportunity to join the Marine Corps. You can say the rest is history!

While serving in the Marines, Perez found that women progressed in the Marine Corps in both rank and job opportunities at a fair rate. She never felt as though being a woman held her back. Previously closed jobs in the combat arms MOS had opened, and women were assigned to traditionally male units. Early in that transition, women were doing combat supporting jobs, admin, supply

In 2008 for one year as their Logistics/Supply Chief. The unit was assigned a Civil Affairs mission. There were only a handful of women assigned to that battalion for the duration of that deployment.

Transitions can be difficult. Moving from a career in the military to civilian life is one of those challenging transitions. I asked Perez how she prepared for her retirement. She had been thinking about the transition for a few years before submitting papers to retire and felt as prepared as she could be. Perez is a few college courses shy of a BS in Criminal Justice and initially thought about returning to school at the beginning of her transition. Throughout her time in the Marine Corps, she worked in the Supply/Logistics field and felt that her resume would make her a strong candidate in either of those fields. She knew she had more to give beyond the last 29 years of her life as a Marine, and she was excited to see what opportunities awaited her.

Initially, she took a few months off to spend time with her family and relax. Everyone should take time off from the rigorous schedule the military requires of its service members to just exhale. She highly recommends this approach! In February 2022, she was given the opportunity to work for Liberty Military Housing. She currently holds the position of Director of Military Affairs, Southwest Marines, Housing. Her region encompasses Camp Pendleton, 29 Palms, Yuma, Colville and Kansas City — a few locations where she was stationed during her career.

I asked her how her military career prepared her for her current role in her civilian career. She responded, “Being a Marine and being a person of service was something I am very good at. I am flexible yet mission-oriented. I like to get things done and take care of people. This job is the perfect fit for me. My job responsibilities are very closely tied to the military and taking care of military families. I bridge the gap between our government housing partner and Liberty Military Housing. I am honored to be able to continue to be so closely connected to Marines and military families that live aboard our installations.”

I inquired about the advice she would give someone considering a career in the military or someone preparing to transition to the civilian sector. Perez replied, “Choosing a career in the USMC is like no other job in the world. Hard work will always be rewarded and not go unnoticed. Being a Marine is a tough job that comes with a lot of responsibility. Upholding and honoring traditions of all the men and women that have gone before us is something that sets Marines apart. There are very few Marines and even fewer female Marines — expect to work just as hard as all of those around you, if not harder, both men and women. There are so many intangible traits and feelings that make Marines who they are that cannot be explained — experiences and a sense of pride that cannot be compared to anything else. Being a good leader takes time and  work. More energy and personal time spent away from your daily duties are what it takes to go the distance in the USMC. Working hard and staying focused is the best advice I can give.

”Perez continues, “Think ahead about your transition out of the USMC. A few years in advance, have a mental picture of what you want your life after to look like. Take the necessary steps to prepare to depart. It will have to be a fluid plan until you make your final decision. Be flexible and keep an open mind. You will have so much to offer the world, more than you can just write on a paper or summarize on a resume. You will have all the tools you need to make the move, don’t be afraid; just have a plan with a few options.

”And that, my friends, is proof that the long-standing slogan, “Once a Marine, Always a Marine,” is as true today as it was when Marine Corps Master Sergeant Paul Woyshner first shouted it. I enjoyed my time with MGySgt Perez and appreciated her insight into navigating the transition after a career in service to our country.

Famous Veterans Throughout History

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Elvis Presley holding company battalion sign

Celeb Elvis Presley was far from the only person of fame to have served in the U.S. military. In fact, several people who are known for their accomplishments in other fields got their start in the armed forces. Meet some of the other well-known veterans throughout history that you may not be aware of:

 

 

 

 

The Apollo 11 Team

Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins comprised the historic Apollo 11 Team that successfully landed and walked on the moon in 1969. While they will always be remembered as the first men to go to the moon, all three of them served in the military. Armstrong served as a Navy pilot and saw action in the Korean War, Aldrin was among the top of his class at West Point before serving in Korea with the Air Force and Collins was a member of some of the most prestigious flight programs as a fighter pilot for the Air Force. All three men used their experiences from the military to eventually become astronauts with NASA, leading to the first-ever moon mission that marked their names in history.

Johnny Cash

At the ripe age of 18, before his musical career took off, Johnny Cash was a staff sergeant for the U.S. Air Force. Serving from 1950-1954, Cash was assigned to the 12th Radio Squadron Mobile of the U.S. Air Force Security Service at Landsberg, West Germany where he worked as a morse code operator intercepting Soviet Army transmissions. In fact, Cash was officially the first American to know about Stalin’s death when he decoded a message while monitoring Soviet Morse Code chatter in 1953. Cash was then tasked to tell the critical information to his superiors. Cash began his musical journey during his time in the military, having formed his first band during service: The Landsberg Barbarians. After his service and into his thriving musical legacy, Cash continued to show his appreciation for his roots by participating in concerts and events designed to support our nation’s troops.

Bea Arthur and Betty White

Long before they were your favorite Golden Girls, Bea Arthur and Betty White served in the U.S. military. At just 20 years old, Bea Arthur enlisted with the Marine Corps’ Women’s Reservists, becoming one of the first people to do so. She served as a typist at Marine Headquarters 

in Washington, D.C. and later transferred to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina to become a driver and dispatcher. Arthur was honorably discharged at the end of the war in 1945 with the title of staff sergeant. White served with the American Women’s Voluntary Services; an organization dedicated to providing support to the war effort. She also worked as a PX truck driver delivering military supplies to the barracks in the Hollywood Hills and regularly attended farewell dances for departing troops hosted to boost troop morale.

Chuck Norris

Chuck Norris

One of the most beloved figures in the veteran community, Chuck Norris wouldn’t be who he is today if it wasn’t for his service in the Air Force. In 1958, after graduating high school, Norris became an Air Policeman and was stationed at Osan Air Base in South Korea. It was there that Norris began studying martial arts and earned his first black belt in Tang Soo Do. Once Norris was discharged from service in 1962, he went on to participate in martial arts competitions, became the World Middleweight Karate Champion from 1968 to 1974 and launched his  acting career. Though it’s been 60 years since Norris was discharged from the Air Force, he still dedicates his projects, time and money to veterans’ efforts. He has worked with organizations such as the USO and the Veterans Administration National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans  and was the spokesperson for the U.S. Veterans Administration. He received the Veteran of the Year award from the Air Force in 2001 and was even made an honorary Marine in 2007.

Harriet Tubman

Everyone knows Harriet Tubman and her brilliant work with the Underground Railroad, but  many people often forget her military history. After escaping slavery and rescuing over 70 other  slaves working for the Underground Railroad, Tubman worked with Colonel James Montgomery  and the Union Army as a nurse and spy. Her work consisted of tending to the wounds of soldiers  and escaped slaves, but mostly entailed gaining intel on the Confederate soldiers for the Union  Army. Tubman created a spy ring in South Carolina, paid informants for intel that would be useful  to the Union Army and was one of the leaders that helped to plan and execute the Combahee  Ferry Raid. The raid successfully caught Confederate soldiers off guard, allowing a group of Black Union Army soldiers to free more than 700 slaves. Her contributions made her the first woman in American history to lead a military assault.

Tammy Duckworth

Before her career as a senator for the state of Illinois, Tammy Duckworth was a combat veteran of the Iraq War. Joining the Army Reserves in 1990 and transferring to the National Guard in 1996, Duckworth served as a helicopter pilot while stationed in Iraq. In 2004, her helicopter was hit by a rocket￾propelled grenade resulting in the loss of both of her legs and limited mobility in her right arm. Despite being the first female double amputee of that particular war, Duckworth obtained a medical waiver that allowed her to continue her service in the National Guard for another 10 years. She retired in 2014 at the rank of lieutenant colonel. Duckworth has worked relentlessly to advocate for the needs and wellbeing of the veteran community. With her high ranking position with the Department of Veterans Affairs and her status as  a U.S. senator, Duckworth has created government-sponsored programs to help veterans with PTSD, advocated for the needs of women and Native American veterans, created initiatives to bring an end to veteran homelessness and helped pass the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Clint Eastwood

Before Clint Eastwood was an actor, musician, director and your favorite gun-slinging cowboy, he served in the U.S. Army. In fact, without Eastwood’s Army service, he may have never become the iconic figure he is today. Before he got the chance to enroll in college, Eastwood was drafted into the Army during the Korean War. He served as a lifeguard and swim instructor at Fort Ord in California where he met future co-stars Martin Milner and David Janssen. Upon discharge from the Army, Eastwood used his GI Bill benefits to study drama at L.A. City College and soon after landed his contract with Universal Studios. The rest is history.

 

 

James Earl Jones

An iconic actor with a distinctive voice, James Earl Jones is best known for his work throughout Hollywood and as the voice of one of Hollywood’s most notorious sci-fi villains, Darth Vader. But before he ventured into the world of Hollywood, Jones served with the Army during the Korean War. A member of the University of Michigan’s Reserve Officer Training Corps, Jones was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army and assigned to Headquarters Company, 38th Regimental Combat Team. Jones served his first and only assignment at the former Camp Hale, where he helped establish a cold weather training command. His battalion became a training unit and Jones was promoted to first lieutenant before being discharged soon after. He went on to begin his acting career straight out of the service at the Ramsdell Theater in Michigan and has since made significant contributions to the world of the arts.

 

How to Write a Winning Civilian Resume

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writing civilian resume

Your civilian resume summarizes your background and experience and it’s likely to be the first information about you that an employer will see.

With your military service, you already have impressive skills and knowledge.

These tips will help you make a resume that will stand out.

 

 

 

 

Collect Your Assets

  •  Get a copy of your Verification of Military Experience and Training (VMET) through the Department of Defense. Your VMET will give an  overview of the skills you’ve  gained in the military.
  • Make a list of your technical skills.
    • Computer technicians, mechanics and engineers How to Write a Winning Civilian Resume have skills that can be easily converted to civilian jobs.Convert your military job training into civilian terms. For example, budgeting is a critical skill in civilian companies.
  • Make a list of your intangible skills. This list should include leadership, discipline and a strong work ethic.

Select Your Resume Style

Your resume should highlight your unique qualifications. There are different ways to organize your resume. Pick a style that highlights your strengths.

  • Chronological resume
    • Your employment history is highlighted in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent position.
    • Include your responsibilities and accomplishments under each particular job.
  • Functional resume
    • Your skills are highlighted. Your work history and gaps are de emphasized.
    • Skills and accomplishments should be divided into specific areas of expertise.
  • Combination resume
    • Your skills earned in various jobs are highlighted using a job history format.
    • Your specific skills will form the main body of the resume, followed by a concise employment history.Include These Essential Components:
    • Contact information: In the heading, include your name, address, phone number and email address.
  • Objective or job target: In one or two lines, say what kind of job you’re looking or applying for and what makes you uniquely qualified.
  • Summary of qualifications: This is a bulleted section just below the objective in the visual center of the resume.
  • Include five or six lines highlighting the skills that qualify you for the job.
  • This will include your experience, certifications and related training.
  • Title this section Highlights of Qualifications, Summary of Skills or Summary of Experience.
  • Employment history: This will vary depending on the type of resume.
  • Education and training: List colleges, schools or military training schools you attended. You can list the school’s name and location, but not necessarily the dates.
  • Special skills: Include foreign languages, computer skills or any other relevant skills that will set you apart.Make Your Resume Unique to YouYou’ve got the basics down. Now use your resume to showcase your unique abilities and accomplishments.
  • Target your resume. Change and tailor your resume for the job you’re targeting. Learn what this employer looks for and highlight those qualities.

Translate everything into civilian terms

  • For example, replace “officer in charge” with “managed.”
  • Take out the acronyms and use terms civilians understand. For example, replace “SNOIC for 2d MarDiv G-3, planning and executing all logistics for operations conducted in our AOR” with “Supervised staff of 15 people. Planned and coordinated operations conducted by various subordinate units within our division.”
  • Include your accomplishments. Use numbers to highlight achievements, if possible. For example, “Managed budget of $100K” or “Reduced training time from 26 weeks to 24 weeks.
  • Be concise. Limit your resume to one or two pages.
  • Include volunteer experience if it’s relevant to the job. Volunteer experience can add to credibility and character.
  • Leave off unnecessary details. Don’t include marital status, height and weight or religious affiliation. Leave off salary information unless it was explicitly requested.
  • Check spelling and accuracy. Proofread your resume, ask someone else to proofread it and read your resume backward to catch typos.

Write a Cover Letter

Always send a cover letter with your resume. Your cover letter will explain why you’re interested in the position and how your skills make you the best choice for the job.

  • Get the name of the person in charge of hiring. Send your email or cover letter to them. Usually, you can just call the company and ask for their name.
  • Mention the job that you’re applying for in the first paragraph. Focus on describing how your skills and abilities can help the company.
  • Keep it to one page. Use a business-letter format.
  • Always follow up. Mention that you will call to follow up and don’t forget to do it.

Tap Into Resume Building Tools

These websites have tools to help you build your resume and translate your military 

credentials and experience into civilian skills. They reference veterans, but they’re also for active duty.

  • Veterans.gov from the U.S. Department of Labor has an online job exchange with access to employers, skills translators, resume builders, interest profilers, etc.
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs at va.gov offers an interest profiler, educational and career counseling and links to other job resources, such as support for veteran owned small businesses.

Prepare for Your Job Search Early

The earlier you can start your preparation for civilian employment, the better. The Transition Assistance Program (TAP) office on your installation can help you get started. Military OneSource also offers the Transitioning Veterans specialty consultation to further assist you in transitioning from military to civilian life.

Taking the next step in your career can be intimidating, but it’s far from impossible. You are qualified and equipped with the right tools. Go get them!

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