Careers & Education

Looking for a job after military service

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Learn how to make that first job after military service easier to get
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Getting a job after military service ends can be challenging but successful

Odds are your time in the military has been sometimes stressful, and sometimes rewarding.  But now that your military service is coming to an end, it's time to trade all of that for new challenges.

For many returning soldiers, that means looking for a civilian job.  In this economy that can be difficult, but for those who have spent the past few years learning skills that may not translate well into other jobs, it can seem overwhelming. 

But there are some ways to make the search for a job after military service -- and the transition back into civilian work -- easier.

Learn about USERRA

USSERA (the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act) was enacted to help returning soldiers move back into the workforce. 

The Act provides protection for soldiers who left jobs to serve their country by requiring employers to rehire them for their previous positions, or a comparable position in terms of seniority, pay and benefits. 

In general, the Act provides protection for up to five years of absence, but there are many exceptions if the time of service was longer due to involuntary extensions or recalls, training or other factors beyond the soldier's control. 

There are also provisions in the Act for disabled soldiers, including a requirement for reasonable accommodations if needed for the returning employee to work in their previous job (or a comparable position.)

USERRA rules can be complex, so the Department of Labor has also provided assistance to returning veterans who need help sorting out their rights or filing claims for USERRA violations.

Look into Veterans' Preferences for Federal jobs

Many veterans are entitled to preferential treatment when applying for federal jobs, as well as protection from layoffs during Reductions in Force (RIF). 

If you're searching for a job after military service, and you're not covered by USERRA, you can determine your eligibility for Veterans' Preferences at the Department of Labor's interactive quiz site.

Transform Military Skills into Civilian Jobs

Post September 11th veterans returning home may be eligible for assistance in their job hunting, thanks to the Gold Card program.  Services provided include resume and interview skills and career aptitude testing,  They also provide evaluations of soldiers' military experience, training and accomplishments, then match those with civilian jobs requiring similar skills or aptitudes.

Job referrals and individual career counselors are also provides as a part of this innovative program.

Check into State and Local Programs

Many state and local governments also offer job training and placement benefits for returning veterans.  For example, Wisconsin has a full menu of tools, programs, grants and other programs designed for Wisconsin residents who joined the military and then returned home to the state.

Check into programs in your state, county or city for similar programs.

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