By: Matt McGowan, Veteran & Market Manager
Whenever I speak to transitioning soldiers, sailors, airmen, or Marines, I always tell them just how lucky they are that they are transitioning today. When I think back to my own transition almost 25 years ago, the resources available to my fellow soldiers and me were very limited. It seemed there were very few knew where to look for resources, let alone how to apply for them.
Today, by contrast, in addition to higher quality Transition Assistance Programs (TAP) provided by each branch of the military, there are a plethora of Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) that are dedicated to helping military members navigate the next steps in their career path.
While current law requires service members to begin participating in TAP as soon as possible before their separation date, finding and utilizing the many VSOs can be a bit more challenging if you don’t know where to look. Organizations such as the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, etc. are great places for military service members and veterans to access during their job search and after their transition. In addition to their own programs, each organization has relationships within the business community that they leverage to help veterans.
In addition to VSOs, nearly every State Employment Agency now has Local Veteran Employment Reps (LVER) whose job is to provide assistance to veterans seeking employment. Arrange a meeting with the rep in your area and let them know that you would like their help in your career search. Not only will they be helpful in connecting you with employers specifically interested in recruiting veterans and service members, many offer assistance with resume writing and provide other services which may be helpful in your search. They often have connections with the aforementioned VSOs, as well as companies like Staffmark who offer their own military/veteran recruiting programs, and can be an additional resource to help you make those connections.
Finally, if there is one piece of advice that I make sure I impart of every candidate, it is to network, network, network! Hop on LinkedIn, Facebook, or your favorite social media site and look for other veterans and groups of veterans. The military is a family like no other, and membership in that family doesn’t end when you transition. There will always be someone willing to help you. You just need to let them know you need a hand!
To learn more about our military/veteran recruiting programs or for help finding resources in your area, reach out to your local office.