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4 Career Success Strategies for Young Veterans
Young veterans are struggling to make the transition back to civilian life. Compared to older veterans, Iraq- and Afghanistan-era vets have faced greater difficulty finding employment and paying their bills in the years after leaving the military.
Some veterans experience mental health and substance abuse issues after leaving the military, but that’s not the only reason for young veterans’ troubles on the job market: 84 percent of veterans feel civilian colleagues lack their same discipline and 42 percent found themselves overqualified for their first civilian job. So, how can young veterans find success in their post-military careers? Here are three ways vets can use their military skills to their advantage.
Find Structure in Higher Education
The military is all about structure. But when veterans leave and enter the civilian workforce, many struggle with finding direction and navigating careers that lack a clearly defined hierarchy.
That’s one reason so many veterans go to college after separating from the military. With class schedules and a concrete mission to focus on, college provides a “soft landing” for veterans, explains Military.com. The best colleges for veterans have on-campus veteran resource centers. In addition to support services, these centers provide a place to connect with other student-veterans and avoid the isolation that often comes with post-military life.
Leverage Security Clearances
Military service gives veterans more transferable skills than they might realize. Soft skills like leadership, teamwork, management, and drive are just as valuable to corporate employers as they are in the service.
There’s another coveted credential that veterans have on their side: security clearance. Not only are security clearances in high demand among contract and government employers, but a security clearance can lead to higher pay for U.S. veterans. The average worker with a security clearance earned $96,515 in 2020. Veterans can find security clearance jobs in industries like information technology, civil engineering, business sales, healthcare, and management.
Start a Veteran-Owned Business
Military skills also make veterans adept business owners. Not only do veterans know how to be self-reliant, strategic, and resilient, they also have access to training and programs to support their business endeavors. These include:
- Small Business Administration Office of Veterans Business Development (OVBD)
- Transition Assistance Program Boots to Business
- Syracuse University Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans
- StreetShares Foundation Veteran Small Business Award
- PenFed Foundation Veteran Entrepreneur Investment Program
Starting a business in Florida is relatively simple: Veterans only need to choose a unique business name, appoint a registered agent, and file Articles of Organization to officially become a limited liability company. Forming a Florida LLC provides businesses basic liability protections without the complex filing requirements or high fees of corporate business structures.
However, before launching their first business, veterans should consider whether to become certified as a veteran-owned business. Veteran-owned business status provides business owners certain benefits including access to government contracts and funding opportunities. To help with this and other types of considerations, vets hoping to start a business should work with tax and legal planning professionals such as Koutoulas & Relis, LLC. Their firm offers tax services as well as company incorporations, so they can also act as a registered agent for your Florida-incorporated company. Contact Koutoulas & Relis, LLC to learn how they can help you in your entrepreneurial venture!
Network with Fellow Veterans
In the civilian world, it’s not just about what you know. Who you know matters too. That’s why networking is critical for recently-separated veterans. In addition to camaraderie and mentorship, networking connects veterans with potential job opportunities.
Along with a free LinkedIn Premium Career subscription for one year, veterans should take advantage of veteran-specific online networks like Heroes Linked and in-person events like the Military and Veteran Networking Forum and veterans job fairs.
Civilian life can feel a world apart from the military for young veterans. However, there are more parallels between military service and civilian work than you might imagine. From transferable skills that enable veterans to thrive in career and business to resources that provide financial and networking assistance, these opportunities help young veterans find their path to another fulfilling career.