Most people entering the military know that the initial transition is going to be a challenge, but many aren’t prepared for the difficulties that come with transitioning out of the service. Entering civilian life after years in the armed forces can be an exercise in patience and self-reflection. Service members should prepare for post-service life by expanding their professional and personal options while they are still on active duty.

Seek Skilled Positions

While there are some limitations based on test scores, personal ability and available posts, many service members have multiple options when navigating their military career. Standard duties may be easier and a more suitable choice at first, but it’s a good idea to start pursuing additional responsibilities that come with training and acquisition of new skills. Engineering personnel often receive additional education and advanced training as part of their job responsibilities, which gives them more leverage when seeking jobs in the future.

Develop Personal Interests

There is little time for personal interests during the first few months of service, but this changes once members gain more experience. It’s easy to neglect personal hobbies and interests in a new and busy environment, so it’s something that you need to plan and dedicate time to every week. Maintaining old social relationships isn’t always possible, but members of the military also need to take extra steps to keep in touch with close friends and family so they have access to a civilian social network.

Build Academic Education

Since most members don’t get a lot of academic education as part of their military service, it can be a good idea to seek some additional educational opportunities when time permits. There are specialized online colleges for military personnel that offer flexible schedules to accommodate a more structured and demanding lifestyle. Taking classes throughout military service allows members to find potential career paths to pursue and get a head start on a degree.

Use Transition Assistance

Active service members should also consult with available transition programs and counseling as they prepare to enter civilian life. There are several valuable services for active duty members and veterans that can help with the transition on a personal and professional level. Service members are encouraged to take advantage of assistance with resume development and job interview skills.

Despite the difficulties that come with entering and exiting the armed forces, even a few years in the military can be a positive and life-changing experience. Focusing on current duties should always be the priority, but service members should also consider their future civilian life when making important decisions.

Author's Bio: 

Anica is a professional content and copywriter who graduated from the University of San Francisco. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. You can connect with Anica on Twitter @AnicaOaks.