Whether it’s today, tomorrow or further down the road, you’ll be separating from the military at some point, and we know you’ll want to put that same drive, dedication and passion with which you served into the next phase of your life. From finding a job to the many benefits you’ve earned, you no doubt have a lot of questions. Explore our transition timeline for some answers now.
It's never too early to start thinking about your transition plan. The Department of Defense Transition Assistance Program (TAP) is a valuable resource allowing you to make the most informed separation/retirement choices for you and your family. We encourage all separating personnel to make an appointment with their local Transition Counselor located in the following offices at local military installations:
- Army: Army Career and Alumni Program - The Army Career and Alumni Program (ACAP) is a military personnel function and the Centers are found under the Director of Human Resources (DHR) or the Military Personnel Office (MILPO).
- Air Force: Airman and Family Readiness Center. You can find the nearest office using the military installation finder at: http://www.militaryinstallations.dod.mil.
- Navy: Fleet and Family Support Center. Navy personnel should make an appointment with their Command Career Counselor for a Pre-separation counseling interview and the Navy CONSEP (Career Options and Skills Evaluation Program) self-assessment at least 180 days prior to separation.
- Marines: Career Resource Management Center (CRMC)/Transition & Employment Assistance Program Center.
- Coast Guard: Worklife Division – Transition Assistance. Coast Guard Worklife staffs can be found at your nearest Integrated Support Command.
Networking is a key to finding that ideal opportunity after you separate. RallyPoint is a professional military network that offers service members and veterans free exclusive access to a unique platform for communication, networking, employment, and educational services – empowering military personnel to have more control over their careers. Get started here: https://www.rallypoint.com.
You can also find networking tips from a Walmart associate and U.S. Army veteran here.
Now’s the time you should know whether you plan to go to school, start a small business or enter the civilian workforce.
Interesting Jobs and Careers
If you enjoy the job you currently hold in the military and are interested in transitioning to a similar career in the civilian world, use the tools available to you from the services to find out the credentials needed to translate your military skills to the professional workforce. The websites Army COOL and Navy COOL are examples of resources to help you identify the necessary job requirements for the career of your interest. You can also explore Walmart’s featured jobs for the military to see if there’s a match for you.
Higher Education for Veterans
Walmart is proud to partner with Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IMVF). As the first institute of its kind in the nation the IMVF leverages the intellectual, programmatic and human capital resources of higher education in support of the post-service life course of the nation’s veterans and military families.
Currently, the IVMF operates a portfolio of educational programming that includes entrepreneurship and self-employment training for:
- Transitioning service members (Operation Boots to Business: From Service to Startup, B2B)
- Veterans with disabilities (Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities, EBV)
- Caregivers and family members (Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans’ Families, EBV-F)
- Veteran women, active duty and female family members (Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship, V-WISE)
- Post 9/11 veterans and military spouses (Veteran Career Transition Program, VCTP)
Veterans Entrepreneurship and Business Ownership
The Veterans Administration (VA) and the Small Business Administration (SBA) have many programs that allow veterans to learn about business opportunities, obtain grants and low-interest loans, receive training, and other assistance in the pursuit of opening their own businesses. Information on these programs can be obtained at www.va.gov and www.dol.gov/vets/.
Now’s when you should be solidifying plans about your relocation, work, education, and healthcare decisions. Intensifying your efforts in seeking out and building up a network of colleagues and friends is also very beneficial at this point.
Everyone has networks: family, friends, past and present co-workers, professional groups, etc. Most also have profiles in networking forums. The trick now is finding the balance between in-person networking and virtual networking that works for you. We recommend LinkedIn. Stick to Facebook for trading pictures, and sharing family updates. Use LinkedIn for building your professional networking contacts, establishing your skills inventory and communicating with professional interest groups.
Building Your Personal Brand
Military personnel know about self-improving, but what about self-packaging? If you’re planning on entering the workforce after separation, it’s time to start thinking about how to define and build your personal brand for employers.
At this point, it is time to start sending out resumes and looking for opportunities. You should also start attending career fairs and transition workshops. Also, make sure you take advantage of terminal leave and other benefits before it's too late.
Your Resume Has A Mission Too
Your resume is a powerful marketing tool that allows you to showcase different versions of your brand. It is also important to write a resume that paints of picture of who you want to be and NOT just who you were in the military.
eBenefits is an online portal for veterans, service members, and their families to research, find, access, and, in time, manage their benefits and personal information. Once registered, you can apply for benefits, download your DD 214, view your benefits status, and more.
Here's where you should make sure you have your health records, relocation plans, housing check-out work sheets, and other paperwork in order. It is also a good time to start the application process for the Department of Veterans Affairs. You should also be seeking out and accepting job interviews at this point.
When talking to civilian employers, be wary of military jargon. Rather than say you were the “black swan” expert, explain that you developed contingency plans for rare events. Learn 7 secrets to a successful transition.
Getting Your Foot In The Door
To get a job in the 21st Century, don’t ignore your Social Media Footprint. Referred candidates are two times more likely to land an interview than other applicants.
Now’s the time to make sure that everything that needs to be done is done. It is also essential that you ensure that all of your military records are accurate before you separate from military service. Your DD Form 214 ("Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty") is, possibly, the most important document that you will receive from the military. You cannot obtain VA benefits without presenting a DD-214. Keep your original DD-214 (and all service documents) in a safe, fireproof place and make at least 10 certified copies.
Veterans Welcome Home Commitment
We want your transition to be as smooth as possible, which is why we're continuing our pledge to offer a job to any honorably discharged veteran who meets our standard hiring criteria and has separated from the U.S. military since Memorial Day 2013. Walmart's Welcome Home Veterans Commitment has employed more than 100,000 veterans and has been extended to hire 250,000 veterans by 2020.
Dedication, accountability and a sense of purpose and pride. You had it in the military, and you can have it here too. Every day, we’re on an all-encompassing mission that sees millions of Americans live better by saving money.