Transitioning from Military to Civilian Life: 2 Job Resources for Students

Transitioning from Military to Civilian Life: 2 Job Resources

America’s current economy is especially hurting those who have served their country, with the jobless rate among veterans rising to 4.1% in March 2020, up from 3.6% from the month before. As such, veterans and those just beginning the transition from active duty to civilian life are in greater need of an obstacle-free pathway to new, sustainable careers. 

The transition from military service to civilian life is challenging for a number of reasons, among them the difficulty in demonstrating how experience in the armed forces translates to a job or career track. Without resources to remove these roadblocks, servicemembers may not be able to describe transferable skills on their resumes, identify military-friendly sources of employment, or even adapt to communication and speech that is common in corporate settings. 

To aid the transition for its military students, Ashford University has developed the Military Career Track and Military Career Pathways resources, two comprehensive online programs that will assist servicemen and women with their job search at different points of their lives.

“These resources were designed to shorten the job search for active duty, reservist, and veteran students, as well as military spouses,” says explains Ashford University Director of Career Services and Alumni Relations Grace Williamson.  

Both programs are self-guided and, like Ashford itself, are responsive, so they can be viewed at home or on-the-go. 

Military Career Track

Developed for students and veterans, the Military Career Track is broken down into three modules: Pre-Transition, Transition, and Post-Transition. You can start from the beginning or jump to any of the three, depending on which stage is closest to your current status.

Pre-Transition Track 

The Pre-Transition module is ideal if you are preparing to transition from military service to private industry or federal employment. Within this module there are seven sections:     

  1. Timeline to Transition helps you determine when you will start your new career.
  2. Self-Assessments will define your career goals and your steps to success.
  3. Career Research helps you evaluate career possibilities and find your passion.
  4. Military Compensation Calculator will compare your military pay to civilian pay.
  5. Job Market Research shows you industry trends and the Department of Defense Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) program.
  6. Informational Interviews explains how to gather information efficiently during your job search.
  7. Establish Short/Long Term Goals helps you define your career goals.  

Transition Track

If you are in the midst of your transition, the Transition Track provides guidance and resources that will allow you to make the most of your time returning to civilian life. The module explores five distinct areas:

  1. In-Field Experiences such as internships and volunteering
  2. Federal Resumes and how they are different from private industry resumes
  3. Private Industry Resumes and how to sell yourself to prospective employers
  4. Federal Cover Letters and the template you should follow when creating yours
  5. Private Industry Cover Letters and how to grab an employer’s attention

Post-Transition Track 

This section is divided into four steps that play a critical role in the job search process:

  1. Networking
  2. Job Search
  3. Interviewing
  4. Negotiating Salary and Benefits

Each section will provide an overview of the step, why the step is important, and guidance on how to complete it. When you are finished, you will have a blueprint for successfully researching, identifying, applying, interviewing, and earning the job you want.

Military Career Pathways

Designed for Ashford University military students, the Military Career Pathways resource can be found in your Student Portal. Once you enter, follow these steps:

  1. Click “My Career”
  2. Fill out the brief survey (first-time users only)
  3. Once in My Career, click “Resources” on the left sidebar
  4. Click “Pathways”

Military Career Pathways aligns with your current progress as an Ashford student, so you can see where you should be on your journey as you complete your courses. There are multiple milestones involved, such as preparing your resume and cover letter. The self-paced program will also help you search for a job or internship while you’re still in school. 

“All of the milestones are listed upfront, so even if you are an alum, you can use Pathways as a checklist for planning and executing your job search,” Williamson says. 

The readjustment to civilian life was a challenge for America’s servicemen and women long before the economic downturn, but providing them with relevant resources and a framework they can follow throughout their transition will help ensure they are not left behind. 

If you’re ready to start planning for your life after the service, contact Ashford University’s Career Services team at [email protected].

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Written by Ashford University Staff

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