Some military members can transition smoothly from the service to their new careers, while others need more time to make the transition. With preparation and planning, you can make your transition easier than others before you have. These five steps can help smooth your journey out of the military and into your next chapter of life, whether it’s back to school or retirement:
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Revamp Your Resume
If you have a military resume, it may need some updating. For starters, most civilians don’t know how a military resume is different from a civilian one—and even those who do may not know what those differences are. When applying for jobs as a veteran, your new employer will want you to provide your resume in PDF format, so make sure yours is ready.
In addition, make sure all of your dates and information are updated on your resume. Whether you’re going straight into another branch of service or enrolling in an online university for the military, it’s important to provide an up-to-date copy of your resume.
Learn How to Negotiate
Negotiation is important when it comes time to discuss your first salary, get that promotion, or secure a loan. Research shows that people who are comfortable in high-pressure situations like these can perform better than those who are naturally shy and reserved. Prepare yourself by practicing in front of a mirror or working with a colleague or friend. The better at negotiating you are, the more likely you’ll get what you want.
Save Your Money
Saving money before and during your military career can make things easier once you leave. You may want to start an emergency fund while you’re still on active duty, which will ensure that you have enough money on hand if something goes wrong while you’re away from home. Likewise, it’s always smart to start saving for your post-military retirement plan while you’re still in uniform. You never know when an accident or unexpected health condition might put a major dent in your finances.
Apply to Schools
A great step you can take post-service is going back to school for a degree. Many people find that the discipline that you learned in the military makes school much easier to do well in. If this is something that you’re considering, then you can start applying to different schools. Another option is to start online university courses while you’re still in the service. Sometimes schools have an online university for military personnel programs or at least provide special financing options for those active in the military that would be beneficial to take advantage of while you’re still in the service.
Stay Physically Fit
Most military jobs are physically demanding, so it’s important to keep your body in shape after you leave. After all, it’s tough enough getting through a 12-hour workday when you’re feeling run down or out of breath. Moreover, studies show that post-military life is particularly stressful on former soldiers, especially if they discontinue their fitness routines. With regular exercise, you can help counteract stress levels, improve your overall well-being, and prepare for post-military life.
Maintain a Schedule
Maintaining a schedule is one of the most crucial ways to stay on track with your post-military life. As you get ready to transition back into civilian life, start slowly reintroducing normal waking and sleeping hours. You can begin by gradually working your way back into your normal sleep cycle, which will help you ease into an early bedtime and waking time.
Going to bed around 9:00 p.m., for example, and getting up at 6:00 a.m., will help you learn how to maintain a consistent sleep schedule when transitioning back into civilian life. These habits are particularly important because they’ll prevent any disruptive bouts of insomnia once you’ve left military service behind for good.
Leaving the military is not an easy adjustment to make. Let these five ideas inspire you to prepare for your post-service lives.