Beginning the transition from the military into civilian life can seem like a Mt. Everest-type journey. Although there are many programs and resources to help you every step of the way, ultimately you're the one making that climb. Here are four tips to help make your transition into civilian life a success:
1. Get focused.
advantage of the resources at your disposal.
Make the most of your individual transition plan, or ITP. It's your transition road map, and you will receive information on developing one during pre-separation counseling. If used correctly, your ITP will help guide you through tough decisions like your next career move, financial goals or continuing your education. Develop your plan with care and thought toward your goals and objectives for any areas of your life affected by the transition. Update and refine action steps to help keep you focused on your goals.
2. Stay motivated.
It's easy to let feelings about leaving the military get in the way of moving forward with your plan. But this is no time to procrastinate. Successful transitions start with facing the challenges ahead with the same "can do" attitude you have for the military mission.
3. Practice networking.
Transition assistance programs emphasize the importance of networking as a way to find out about job opportunities. Networking simply means seeking out people who may be able to help you with advice, job leads and contacts, and then letting them know about you and your employment goals. Networking involves promoting yourself and asking for help — two skills that don't always come naturally. But the more you practice networking with friends, current or former colleagues, and acquaintances, the better you'll get.
4. Show confidence.
Transitioning service members sometimes wonder how much civilian employers will value their military experience. Take time to recognize and appreciate the scope of knowledge, skills and abilities you acquired in the military. It will be easier to present yourself to any prospective employer when you show confidence in your military experience. Not only do you have exceptional technical skills and training, you've also mastered the military traits of good discipline, teamwork, leadership and the ability to put mission first. Employers value these qualities in applicants regardless of the nature of the work.
A lot of preparation goes into a successful transition. Have confidence and never take your eye off your goals.