Parents Returning to Work: MONEY Magazine and Identify The Best Jobs
Retiring from the military
When it's time to stand down, you'd like an easy transition,
a lot of stability and a job that makes use of what you know.

By Jennifer Merritt, Carolyn Bigda and Donna Rosato -
MONEY Magazine

You've put in your 20 years, and you're headed back to civilian life. You want your new career to make use of the technical, organizational and leadership skills you honed in the military. For many veterans, that straightforward realignment, along with industry stability, is a must-have. "They may do almost the same thing in civilian life as they did in the military," says Richard Crampton, director of placement at the Military Officers Association.

Second acts resources:

Top 5 jobs if you're hanging up the uniform
For retiring military - top 20 jobs

Best jobs in America if...
You're a parent returning to work
You're over 50
You're young and restless

Last year 10,000 active-duty career officers retired. About 100,000 senior enlisted men and women also left. Many take jobs for defense contractors or government agencies - their security clearance opens all doors. Other jobs stand out too. "Veterans are expert troubleshooters," says Randall Scasny, director of Military "Teach them something and they can fix any problem."

That's why so many vets end up in logistics. Marc Guertin spent 22 years in the Navy before retiring as a master chief petty officer in 2005, when he was in charge of staff and facilities at the Navy's submarine training school. "I wasn't just looking for a job," says Guertin, 46. "I was looking for a second career." That search led him to the logistics team at Target Corp.'s massive Stuarts Draft, Va. distribution center, where he started as a group leader for operations later that year. "Logistics is all about deliverables, so in that sense, it's not a lot different from the military," says Guertin, who got a promotion last month. "It really dovetails nicely."

Crossing over from military life can present challenges, though, so keep these things in mind as you step out of uniform.

1. Take off your rank

Drop the sirs and ma'ams and try to loosen up a bit in interviews. Get comfortable with the idea of not being addressed as Captain or Colonel, says Crampton.

Rewards that retiring military members want in their new career:

  1. Passion for the Work
  2. Promotion and Advancement
  3. Skill Enhancement (on job experience)
  4. Flexible Schedule (manage own time)
  5. Mental Stimulation and Challenge

2. Don't be married to your hometown

After spending most of your adult life on the move, you'll want to go home. Unfortunately, the job you want isn't likely to be there. Look first for the job and then settle on a location.

3. Mine the military way

Show what you bring to the table that's just part of being in the service: reliability, ethics and leadership. Stress your ability to motivate younger or lower-level employees.

4. Translate the military speak

Chances are, you earned plenty of certificates and took numerous training courses, many of which translate to civilian jobs. That recruiting course, for example, might be equal to an HR certificate in the corporate sphere.

5. Get a makeover

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Got a friend in the business world? Enlist her help on style. Consider growing your hair out a bit, says Crampton. And remember that your dress uniform fits a lot tighter than a standard business suit.

Top 5 jobs if you're hanging up the uniform

For retiring military - top 20 jobs

Know what you're worth with the Personal Salary Report

Best Jobs in America if...

You're over 50 | You're a parent returning to work | You're young and restless

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