Transitioning from the military to the civilian world of work can feel like a minefield. Do you take the first job offer, or interview for several jobs to help you figure out what you want to do and where you want to work? How do you explain to the human-resources screener that your communications experience in the service has nothing to do with public speaking or writing press releases? Are you really supposed to have a personal brand?
These are the kinds of questions that veterans often struggle with. The answers aren’t in college courses or text books, but in the experiences of military personnel who have made successful transitions. They have connected with corporate leaders and availed themselves of the opportunities that companies large and small offer to those who have served our country.
“It can be pretty daunting [for veterans] to find and build a career,” says Sid Goodfriend, chairman and founder of American Corporate Partners. He founded the nonprofit in 2008 with the mission of helping military service members find their next career through one-on-one mentoring, networking and online career advice.
Goodfriend’s aim is shared by many business leaders and retired veterans who have created organizations and corporations that set up programs and tools to ease the transition.
“We do more than hire veterans,” says Michelle Kuranty, head of military-veteran recruiting at JPMorgan Chase. “We also help them acclimate [to the workplace] and grow in their professions.”
JPMorgan Chase is one of 230 private-sector companies that belong to the Veterans Jobs Mission. This has helped more than 430,000 honorably discharged and retired members of the armed services.
So whether you are just beginning your transition from the service or have been working in the civilian world for some time and feel disconnected or underemployed, there’s help available.