Diverse jobs for vets

Tell me, when you think of military folks retiring or separating and taking their skills to a job in government, what federal organizations come to mind?

Tell me, when you think of military folks retiring or separating and taking their skills to a job in government, what federal organizations come to mind?

I’ll bet it’s departments like Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs. Such a move is a classic career transition, but it’s somewhat limited.

Don’t get me wrong: There are many great and varied careers to be had in these organizations, and obviously they are vital to our country and its future. About one-third of federal workers are veterans, most of them concentrated in these departments.

Still, you may want to think about branching out to apply your skills and experience in a new domain of federal government, maybe one with an organizational culture that’s quite different from the military. Many veterans feel that way.

The good news is that there are many career opportunities for veterans all across government.

It’s true that in smaller departments and agencies, you’re less likely to find specialized human resources people whose sole mission is to recruit veterans. So the trick is to locate the resources you’ll need to navigate the preparation of your federal resume preparation, the job search, interviews and the rest of the application process.

You may think that candidates with private-sector experience have a leg up for many civil-service jobs in departments that are not defense-related. But if you’ve got veteran’s preference, you may find that it’s a big leveler and will give you a shot at jobs that you might have assumed were out of reach.

To begin learning how the full range of skills that you developed during your military service can be applied to a career in the civil service, check out the military-to-civilian skills translator on Military.com.

You can try two approaches to building a bridge from your military experience to a civil occupation in diverse areas of government. You can work with generic business skills that will be applicable in any government organization – say HR, finance or IT, to name a few. Or you can search along the lines of skills that were specific to your military occupation that are also needed in government – counterintelligence, expertise in mechanical technologies, and so on.

Here are a handful of pairings of military occupations with civil service vacancies posted on USAJOBS.gov:

Army Combat Engineer → Construction Control Inspector with the Department of Health and Human Services

Army Human Resources Officer → Human Resources Manager with the Department of Justice

Navy Cyber Warrant Officer → Cyber Information Technology Specialist with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Air Force Financial Management Officer → Financial Manager with the Environmental Protection Agency

Marines Ground Intelligence Officer → Intelligence Operations Specialist with the Department of the Treasury

One more thing: If you’re still on active duty and you’re reading this, you’re obviously a forward-looking careerist. So let me share this tip: You can – and probably should – begin applying for federal jobs 120 days before your date of military separation or retirement.

Check out FedsHireVets.gov, which can be a great resource. And to learn the details of the federal application process, consult our book Jobseeker’s Guide 8th Edition, which includes advice and information targeted to military servicewomen and men and their spouses. Or just contact us.

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