Hull Technician 1st Class Donald Edwards, of Chesapeake, Va., shows how to weld gas tungsten arc to Fireman Ian Nickerson, of Butler, Ind.

Your Career Path: Finding the Right Job

What kind of job are you looking for when you leave the military? Most people look for location, salary and job stability. But there's much more to finding great jobs for veterans. Finding a career that matches your skills and interests is key to job satisfaction.

What should my career be?

A satisfying job gives you a sense of accomplishment and makes good use of your skills. If you're not sure about your career path after the military, here are two ways to get started:

  1. CareerOneStop is a website sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor. It's a rich resource with lots of tools for job searching, training, and information about careers and industries.

    At CareerOneStop, you can:

    • Take self-assessments at no charge — including an Interest Assessment, a Skills Profiler and more.
    • Learn about careers — career profiles, jobs in demand, occupation comparisons and you can research individual industries.
    • Plan your career — set career goals, learn about salary expectations, occupation licenses and professional development to better prepare for next steps.
  2. Take this 8-question quiz.

    Career Key offers this exercise to get you brainstorming about your goals and plans for going from military to civilian. How would you answer these questions? Tip: Write your answers out to help you really focus on the program.

    1. My career change fantasy is (describe in detail):
    2. What appeals to me most about the change is:
    3. What I would gain most from the change is:
    4. What is frightening about the change is:
    5. What keeps me from making the change is:
    6. The worst thing that could happen if I make the change is:
    7. If the worst thing happened, then I could do:
    8. If I were really serious about pursuing the career fantasy,
      1. My first step would be:
      2. My second step would be:
      3. My third step would be:

It's never too early to start to think about what's right for you, especially if you think you'll need more experience, credentialing or licensing for your new civilian career.

More about deciding on a career

The chart below from the U.S. Department of Labor's CareerOneStop offers up some good questions to ask yourself about careers you’re interested in — and where to find answers:

Questions to ask

Where to find information for answers

Would I enjoy this work?

Take an Interest Assessment to see which careers fit your interests.

Would I be good at it?

Download a Skills Checklist to identify your skills, and check the skill sets required for various Occupation Profiles.

How well does this career fit what I like and am good at?

Look at these sections on an Occupation Profile:

  • Occupation description
  • Tasks and work activities
  • Career video

How much education would I need?

How long would it take?

How much would it cost?

Look at the Occupation Profile education section to see if this matches your education goals, where training is available in your area, and how much it costs:

  • Education needed at entry
  • Typical education
  • Local training programs in your area

How much money would I earn in this career?

Look at the Occupation Profile wages section to see if you would earn enough money in this occupation:

  • Average wages and salary
  • Average pay range (low is generally entry-level wages or wages in lower-paying rural areas; high is generally for more experienced or highly trained workers, or in higher-paying urban areas)
  • Cost of living for your area

Are there jobs in my area?

Look at the Occupation Profile for these facts to see if many job openings are expected in this field in your location:

  • Employment outlook
  • Current employment in your city, state, or area
  • Local job openings

 

During your transition planning, you'll explore your employment and career goals. And as part of the Department of Labor Employment Workshop, you'll also learn about job-seeking skills and techniques.

When you get a head start on the career you want for yourself, you can start real planning with confidence. Ask, explore, question, plan and go for it! If you want more assistance in areas like planning your transition or no-cost financial counseling, learn more about our Military OneSource specialty consultations