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What Kind of Career Do You Want?

Created by: Natalie Peeterse
Posted : Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Post Military: Finding a Satisfying Career after Serving Your CountryAfter your years in the military, making the transition to civilian life can be tough. Your whole lifestyle will change dramatically. One of the most difficult things to figure out is what you will do to make a living. You might worry about whether the skills you learned in the Army will help you in a new career, and you might be confused about your career options. The best way to find a satisfying career is to learn as much as possible about your needs and desires.

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Getting Started on Your Career Search
In order to find a great new career, you need to identify four things: your skills, your goals, your likes and dislikes, and your needs. If this sounds daunting, there are many career planning counselors and dozens of books available that can help you to identify your ideal career. The most venerable of the career guidance books, What Color is Your Parachute, has been in print for over thirty years. Many career experts agree that it is a great place to start your career search.

Once you have landed on a short list of careers that seem like good fits, contact people who have those careers. If you do not already know someone in your desired fields, talk to your friends and family to see if they know anyone. Consider using your Army connections to find other veterans who have chosen career paths that appeal to you. Set up informational interviews, and bring a list of questions about the job with you. Most people enjoy helping out someone who is new to their industry, and you will gain a great sense of their day-to-day duties by talking with them.

Consider Your Education Options
Once you know what career you would like to pursue, it pays to check out your educational options. For careers in most fields, you will need an associate's or bachelor's degree. If you do not have the degree necessary to get the job of your dreams, don't be discouraged. Flexible night and weekend classes and online courses mean that you can work toward your degree while you finish your military career or work at a civilian job during the day. Plus, the military will usually offer tuition assistance to help you to pay for your degree. Look into programs that pay part or all of your tuition, such as the Montgomery GI Bill.

If you do your research, you might find that you are suited to careers you have never considered before. The key to finding a satisfying career after your military service is to remain flexible and open to all sorts of possibilities.
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