As good as the transition preparation you will receive is, there are aspects of separating or retiring from your military career you will find overwhelming and unfamiliar. Don’t be shocked or surprised when you encounter issues. You are not the first (or the last) service member going through this transition and navigating the obstacles and opportunities that will help you grow a civilian career.
1) The transition will be hard when you separate. You will feel unprepared for this mission, because unlike the training you received in the military to face a battle plan, there is no sufficient way to prepare you for every possible civilian scenario you will encounter.

2) Choice will feel exciting and terrifying at the same time. Veterans say they are excited about all the choices they will face out of uniform but are often overwhelmed.

3) The people who get jobs right away aren’t necessarily smarter, luckier or happier. Some of your colleagues transitioning with you will have secured jobs before they separate. Don’t let this intimidate or discourage you.

4) There is no “secret formula.” If only there was a manual that laid out clearly all the steps, actions and connections you need to move to your next career, that would be simple, wouldn’t it? Your career after military service is individualized, it’s about you and your goals, passion and experience.

5) Team is a different word in the civilian marketplace. While you were in uniform, you knew what it meant to be loyal and committed to the team you serve with. Team in the civilian world has a much looser description.

6) You must learn to be vulnerable. Asking for help in the transition, and in your civilian career, will not be viewed as signs of weakness. Contrary, they are signs of strength!

7) Get clear on WHO you are before you decide WHAT you want to do. It’s tempting to jump into writing your resume and applying for jobs when you hand in your separation papers. However, if you can invest in building your personal brand, develop a solid narrative (“what makes you valuable to your next employer?”) and build a network of contacts, you’ll be ahead of the game.

For further details see
Go to, click on the “Looking for People” tab, then view “Veterans Solutions”. To see more information for Veterans, please join our LinkedIn group, Veterans Hiring Solutions for Veterans at If you have specific questions, contact me at [email protected]