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Re-entering the Civilian Job Market - National Job Search Resources for Veterans

By Susan P. Joyce

Jump start your transition from the military to the civilian world through these national resources.

It's been a long time since you were on a job search, so you need to adjust your approach, your language, and your mindset.

The civilian job market has it's own rules, but they aren't consistent, and networking (knowing people) is often more important than qualifications or experience. Fortunately, as a veteran you have a large network already at work for you.

Training Programs:

  • Troops to Teachers - program from the US Department of Education and the US Department of Defense to help veterans transition into positions in the field of education.
  • Veterans in Piping (VIP) Program - program from the United Association of Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Sprinklerfitters (UA) to provide accelerated training for veterans who want to become plumbers and pipefitters.

Sources of Jobs:

These are good places to get started. Don't fall into the trap of plastering your resume all over the Internet. It's like using a shotgun or a hand grenade when a rifle is the best weapon for the mission.

Job Boards

  • Indeed is a giant "job aggregator" site - a new kind of job site which collects jobs posted on other job sites, in newspapers, and on association Websites as well as employer Websites, so it's a great central resource for jobs. See Job-Hunt's Guide to Using Indeed to Find a Job for help using it.
  • Craigslist is a very large online classifieds ads network, broken down by state or city and state, so pick the one appropriate for your job search and check out both the jobs and the "gigs" (short term jobs). Watch out for the scams. See Job-Hunt's Free 20-Minute Guide to Using Craigslist to Find a Job for tips on leveraging it to your advantage.
  • is a site focused on helping former military members who had clearances connect with employers who need employees who qualify for clearances. You can't take your clearance with you, but you may be processed through the re-clearance process more quickly which adds to your marketability in the current job market.

U.S. Federal Government Employers

Often, veterans find that a "transitional" job for Uncle Sam, the USPS, or a government contractor will enable the move from military to civilian career more smoothly.

  • Air Force Reserve offers the opportunity for veterans of all services to rejoin without re-taking basic training.
  • Army Materiel Command has the "Always a Soldier" program which offers a way for separating soldiers to become civilian employees of the Army Materiel Command. Also see the AMC Fellows program for an Army funded MBA program for veterans transitioning to civilian workers for the Army.
  • - just what it looks like, a job board by the Federal Government for veterans looking for Federal Government jobs
  • - a large centralized database of many (but NOT all) Federal Government jobs. See Job-Hunt's Federal Government Jobs Links for links directly to agency and department job posting pages.
  • Military Sealift Command is "the ocean transportation profider for the U.S. Department of Defense" so this is a site for people with maritime experience to connect with civilian maritime jobs on American Coast Guard and Navy vessels. See this section on Departing Military for more information for transitioning military members with maritime experience.
  • O*NET's "Military Crosswalk" aligns your MOS with Federal job classifications to help you focus your Federal job search. Can also help you see other civilian parallels, as well.
  • Federal Job Search is the section of Job-Hunt with articles full of good information by Federal Job Search expert Camille Carboneau Roberts.
  • Veterans' Job Search is the section of Job-Hunt articles with great advice for veterans by Veterans' Job Search experts Patra Frame and Diane Hudson Burns (listed in the box on the right on this page).
  • Veterans' documentation for Federal jobs:
    • Your DD-214 ("discharge papers) - if you can't find your copy, you can request a copy online from the Federal Government Archives.
    • You may be entitled to a Veterans' Preference. Several different preferences exist. Discover if you qualify and, if you do, at what level by using the Veterans' Preference Advisor

Military-Friendly Employers

  • Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) designs, builds, manages, and operates correctional facilities and detention centers on behalf of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the United States Marshals Service, nearly half of all states and nearly a dozen counties across the country. Their Camouflage to Corrections program offers career opportunities in secruity, education, and healthcare for former military personnel.
  • General Electric has a section of the corporate website specifically to recruit military veterans.
  • USAA is the United Services Automobile Association, as most military members know (and appreciate), and USAA hires former military members who understand USAA members very well.
  • USPS jobs is where you will find jobs with the Post Office. USPS has always had a veterans' "preference" program, and you should receive credit for your military service, particularly if you were disabled as a result.
  • TAOonline (Transition Assistance Online) lists over 30 military friendly employers with links to the job postings.
  • offers their own list of the Top 100 Military Friendly Employers.
  • Job Hunt Military-Friendly Employers article links to many employers as well as giving you additional information about finding more of them.

Sources of job search support and networking

A job search can be a lonely process, and everyone needs help with it, at least once in a while. Other people have different contacts, perspective, and experience that can be very helpful.

  • TAOnline Military Job Fairs are held across the country
  • State Veterans Affairs Offices are there to help you, although the services available differ by state, so check them out to see what is provided in your state.
  • The Marine Corps League is an organization of former Marines. (Semper Fi!) There are usually monthly meetings at detatchments across the county.
  • The Army Career and Alumni Program (ACAP) provides guidance and assistance for Army members transitioning to the civilian world, including job postings.
  • The American Legion is a large civilian organization with "posts" across the country. See the Post Locator to find one closest to you where you can network with other vets.
  • The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) is a large civilian organization with "posts" distributed across the country where you can meet other veterans. See VFW Posts to find one close to you.

Social networks like LinkedIn Groups and Facebook can also be excellent sources of networking contacts. So, check those out, too.

About the author...

Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a recent Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Since 1998, Susan has been editor and publisher of Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+.

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