Validation for Veterans

A reader writes:

Good Morning, Anita,

Recently, I returned home from a deployment to Afghanistan. Since coming home and taking a much-needed break, I feel that I am ready to join the civilian workforce and begin supporting my family again. Like many other veterans, I am running into some difficulty finding gainful employment and paying the bills. What advice can you give to me and other veterans looking for employment and experiencing the hardships of transition? Thank you!

Dear, Valued Veteran:

First and foremost, thank you for your service to our country and for the sacrifices you have made in the name of freedom. I can speak for many reading this blog that we greatly appreciate your efforts and dedication to the United States of America.

Unfortunately, as you mentioned, transitioning into the civilian workforce and regular life after serving in the armed forces can be difficult. Not only do you face the same challenges as those currently unemployed, but you must also Army_Bootsacclimate to new surroundings and hone your military training to fit open employment opportunities.

To get the ball rolling, make sure that you register with Veteran Affairs (VA) as soon as possible after you are discharged. You should qualify for medical and dental insurance. These benefits will diminish your financial burden significantly if unexpected medical emergencies arise. Co-pays for preventative medicine and routine exams are relatively low for this program and maybe expunged if you are unable to afford them.

Next, I suggest that you take some time to sit down and write a strong and compelling résumé and cover letter describing your skills, experiences, and work ethic. These items are job hunting gold and are necessary in landing your next career. For tips and advice on how to create and perfect these documents, take a quick look my posts How to Tailor Your Résumé and Covering the Cover Letter. If you feel like you need additional help, you can look into services such as CareerPerfect  to write your résumé and cover letter for a nominal fee. The VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment Program also has services that can help.

Some strong qualities and experience to highlight are:

  • Military efficiency
  • Overseas experience
  • Problem solving skills
  • Flexibility and decision-making abilities under pressure
  • Leadership roles
  • Other relevant experiences

Also, take your military occupation code (MOS), area of concentration (AOC), Air Force specialty code (AFSC), or Navy Soldier_Saluteenlisted classification (NEC) and enter them into a skills translator, like those found at, to turn them into commonly desired skills in the private sector.

Now that you have a strong and noteworthy résumé and cover letter, head on over to my friends at Select Staffing for employment assistance. Visit their website (, fill out the online application, and call your local office to schedule an appointment with a recruiter. Select Staffing is actively seeking skilled, dedicated, and versatile veterans for a wide variety of positions. They highly value the characteristics, commitment, and skills possessed by servicemen and women and are determined to do their part to help.

I know that they are currently recruiting for the following positions:

  • General Professional
  • Security Services
  • Administrative Assistant
  • Legal Assistant/Paralegal
  • Accounting
  • Data Entry Operator
  • IT Auditors
  • Utility Workers
  • Project Managers
  • Business Intelligence Analysts
  • And much more!

If you are looking to sharpen your skills and become educated in your field of interest, sign up for the GI Bill. Once you have done so, get in contact with Veteran Affairs Education and apply for benefits online to help cover tuition, books, and living expenses while you are in school. I strongly encourage you to take advantage of this benefit as you will strengthen your résumé and have better chances of landing a lucrative career.

I found a great webinar that I think would be great for all veterans to watch, titled “Job Search Tips: Webinar for Military Veterans Transition to Civilian Careers” by Lida Citroën. It is a bit longer than my typical videos but worth the time.

Readers, what advice do you have for our recently-returned Veterans?

Veterans, what have you found to be the most helpful with you return to the civilian workforce?

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Harvey Badilla Beloro Elgar
    Nov 06, 2012 @ 09:08:16

    I am a Veteran myself and when I got out one of the first things that I did was to go to my closest VA and enroll for benefits. I also signed up for the VA Work Study program because I took advantage of my GI Bill and began taking community college courses. Being in the VA Work Study program really opened up a few opportunities to as a part-time employee at the VA. I also set up a profile on which has a resume builder that is tailored towards federal jobs. This is where all the knowledge and skills you acquired in the military really stand out. I knew that when I got out that I wanted to become a federal employee. I understand that this is not for everyone, but for me, it offered a sense of security in my future. I was able to complete my associates and bachelor’s while working two part-time jobs, one being a federal intermittent employee. It definitely wasn’t easy and at times, quite daunting. I’m currently working on my master’s and working in a full-time federal position. My message to all my fellow Veterans out there, especially the ones that are getting out soon, is to have a plan before you get out. Be flexible and know that the plan you’ve made does not need to be solid, but is able to change with circumstances that arise. Case in point: I changed my college major 3 times before I settled on one that I could focus my classes on. Be sure to utilize all of your sources. The VA is a great source, also public libraries, as well as the human resources department at the community colleges. There are also state funded programs that assist Veteran’s in acquiring job hunting skills. Try to network. Especially in the VA system you will be among fellow Veteran’s in supervisory positions that will know others in supervisory positions. Always be ready for disappointments but know that tomorrow is another day. Set backs will happen, but take it one step at a time. And last but not least, this can be a very humbling experience. Just like in the military, you’ll have to prove yourself to move up the chain. Take everything in stride and look at it as challenges that need to be met and overcome that eventually reside as experience.



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Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.
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