How to get started
When making a big change, it's best to be prepared. Utilize our recommendations and partnerships to get ready for your transition.
Bronze Star recipient Jessica Crow talks about separating
Starting with how far out you are from being discharged, follow these steps to make your transition as smooth as possible.
- 18 months
- 12 months
- 9 months
- 6 months
- 3 months
- 1 Month
Start thinking about your transition plan – the Department of Defense Transition Assistance Program (TAP) can help you to make the right separation or retirement choice.
Meet with your local Transition Counselor:
RallyPoint is a military network that offers free and exclusive access to connect about employment and educational services.
Decide if you’re going to school, starting a small business or entering the civilian workforce.
If you want a civilian job that utilizes your military experience
If you want to go to school
We partner with Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF). They currently offer programs for transitioning service members, veterans with disabilities, military caregivers and family members, military women and female family members, and post-9/11 veterans and military spouses.
If you want to open your own business
The Veterans Administration (VA), Coalition for Veteran Owned Business and the Small Business Administration (SBA) offer resources and programs to learn about business opportunities, obtain grants and low-interest loans, receive training and more.
Solidify your plans about relocation, work, education and healthcare while making sure you’re networking as much as possible.
Take advantage of terminal leave and other benefits while you start sending out resumes, looking for opportunities and attending career fairs or transition workshops.
Your resume allows you to showcase different versions of your brand – let it show who you want to be going forward and not just who you were in the military. And remember, it’s OK to have a different resume for each application. Tailor it to the job you’re applying for.
At this point, you should be seeking out and accepting job interviews. In the meantime, start the application process for the Department of Veterans Affairs, determine your relocation plans and collect your health records, housing check-out work sheets and other paperwork.
Avoid military jargon in civilian interviews. For instance, explain that you developed contingency plans for rare events instead of saying you were the “black swan" expert.
Don’t ignore social media. Referred candidates are twice as likely to land an interview than other applicants.
Ensure that all of your military records are accurate before you separate from military service.
You can’t obtain VA benefits without a DD 214 ("Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty"), so keep it – and all service documents – in a safe, fireproof place and make at least 10 certified copies.
Veterans Welcome Home Commitment
Our Veterans Welcome Home Commitment guarantees 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.