Mapping out the route to long-term success as a veteran entering the civilian workforce seems nearly impossible. There are many different resources that claim to be “the one” that will answer all of your questions. But, is that really true?
Wouldn’t it be helpful for someone to take to test out those different resources and compile a list of the best of the best for veteran success? That’s what the Chamber of Commerce Foundation did.
Veteran Employment Transition (VET) Roadmap
The purpose of the Veteran Employment Transition (VET) Roadmap is to provide transitioning service members and veterans a resource so that they are better equipped to navigate that landscape and succeed in the civilian workforce.
The VET Roadmap captures and consolidates essential steps with best-in-class resources and tools. It is not intended to replace existing efforts, but to clarify the process, and aggregate the most effective resources at their disposal from across the public, private, and non-profit sectors. (Score!)
A successful transition is an individual responsibility that requires understanding, planning, and deliberate execution – something familiar to everyone who has worn the uniform. The VET Roadmap will help transitioning service members and veterans take that ownership and responsibility. (Ownership + Responsibility *lead to* Veteran Success)
One Roadmap Fits All?
Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to transition from military service to civilian life. Yet the process for getting there – the “roadmap” for transitioning to a meaningful civilian career – is remarkably similar across rank, background, and level of experience. The VET Roadmap outlines the essential phases to assist a transitioning service member or veteran as he/she prepares for employment in the civilian sector, locates a potential employer, secures an offer for meaningful employment, and successfully transitions into the civilian workforce.
The VET Roadmap
Phase 1 – Prepare
As a veteran, you are entitled to an array of benefits, services, and resources to foster a successful transition and civilian career. Benefits discovery should be a continuous process as circumstances and plans change. Putting effort into this at the beginning is crucial to long-term veteran success.
You must assess, understand, and articulate the value you bring to a prospective employer. You possess training, education, experience, certification, licensure, and “valued” skills that civilian employers need, but do not necessarily understand. Skills assessment helps detail an extensive list of the competencies, education, training, certification, licensure, and experience while on active duty, in previous employment, or while conducting volunteer work.
Much like any military mission, the transition process requires a tremendous amount of planning, preparation, and time for execution. Your strategic plan should take into account variables such as acquired skills, career ambitions, level of education, formal training, required additional credentials or training to meet career goals, family planning, health and wellness, geography restrictions, benefits, and personal priorities.
Phase 2 – Transition
You must develop a clear statement of the tangible results an employer would receive from hiring you.
MARKETING AND NETWORKING
Marketing and networking help you improve your image and reputation to advance your career opportunities. Marketing conveys your personal brand and value proposition to prospective employers through your resume, elevator pitch and interview skills.
“Targeting” is the process of finding, negotiating, and accepting a meaningful and financially viable employment opportunity. Initiating a “targeting cycle” allows you to find and evaluate job opportunities and decide on which to accept.
Phase 3 – Lead
Just as you learned the customs, culture, and languages where you deployed in order to accomplish your military missions, you must learn the same about your new place of employment in order to succeed. You should never assume that a new organization understands the military. Just as you expect the organization to learn about you, your background, and the military mindset, you should learn about the organization’s unique work culture, languages, processes, systems, and customs.
Many large companies have veteran affinity or network groups and are a great place to start connecting or find a mentor. If a company does not have such a group, a veteran, someone who has a special affinity toward veterans (e.g. someone whose parent was a veteran or whose sibling is in the military), or tenured personnel can provide valuable guidance and can often serve as your champion within a company. Teach, train, and educate your civilian colleagues about military service and culture to help bridge the civilian-military divide in your organization.
LEAD AND SUCCEED
The same core values, principles, and leadership techniques that made you successful in the military will apply as a civilian. However, legal and formal authorities will likely be different. A different environment and culture may necessitate a shift from authoritative to influence-based leadership styles. These include leveraging skills such as communication, the ability to motivate others, and adaption of one’s management style to apply to an individual’s job position.
Is This The Path For You?
(Featured Image Courtesy DVIDS.)