How to transition from the military to the government

The transition from the military to civilian life is never easy. One who has spent his or her entire adult life in the military finds the civilian world quite a jungle to confront. However, with adequate and prior preparation one can smoothly transition from the military without any major issues. Many government jobs require one to have the same values that are core in the military. These include honor, integrity and commitment. By following a structured process, achievement of goals is certainly within reach.

Start by choosing the right path that will connect to the civilian job of your choice. To establish your line of specialization, make a list of all your credentials. Obtain the Verification of Military Experience and Training (VMET) document. This document will provide information to construct a military transition resume. It provides information on the experiences that you have acquired and the training received while in the military. It also provides information on the civilian equivalent jobs that one may effectively perform.

Set up a timeline and a checklist that will guide you during the preparation process. This enables handling of issues in a structured and timely manner. It also helps you avoid the risk of overlooking something that you ought to have done during the preparation period. Take time to attend job fairs. Create networks with people who may be of assistance to you as you transition into civilian life. It may be necessary to enroll in a college to upgrade your skills in the area of your specialization. The GI Bill will facilitate the reimbursements of tuition expenses for your degree.

Identify the agency that you would like to work for as a civilian. Consider an agency that is not far from where you are. It will be easier to attend interviews and exams.  Think about other agencies in the area. Do not put all your hopes in one department.  You never know the opportunities that may be available in other agencies. Issues to consider include salary requirements, schedule of appointments, the merits or otherwise of relocating to certain areas.

Apply for the job that best fits your qualifications. Use your veteran's status as an advantage to get the job. The government has created a veteran's preference points system to boost the veteran's chances of landing a job. The points system applies when civil service exams are part of the hiring process. Hiring teams add up the preference points to the total scores obtained in the exam and thus provide an advantage to the veteran.

Prepare yourself to attend the interview. Dress appropriately for the meeting with the recruiting officer. Plan to reach the interview venue at least 15 minutes before the scheduled time. During the interview process, listen keenly; be courteous and polite when answering questions. Interviews to government jobs require background checks on your personality and character. Provide all the information requested for in an honest manner. Do not conceal anything. Dishonesty and concealing of information are enough grounds to dismiss your application.

Finally, avoid any stress reactions that emanate from the transition process. Lighten up and take things easy. Let your family be involved in the transition process. Market your self everywhere and let people know about your skills and abilities.


Gail Esparan