Career Transition Support: Using Military Friendly Colleges To Start Your Career

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Career transition support is extremely important for veterans. You’d think that after their service, military people would be spoon-fed with jobs. No. Military and veterans face a challenging transition into civilian careers.

Once, veterans could rely on their state for job assistance during periods of unemployment. However, the landscape has shifted. Their valuable skills and experience are often overlooked, leaving them to navigate the job market on their own.

According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, the number of homeless veterans has increased by 7 percent between 2022 and 2023. One of the several reasons for this increase is unemployment. Veterans find it hard to get jobs because civilian life and their military backgrounds are so different. 

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Some of the most common challenges these heroes face that affect their job search include:

  • Reconnecting with family.
  • Recovering from trauma.
  • Adjusting to a different pace of work and life.
  • Joining a community.
  • Lack of career support services.

These challenges make it harder for these heroes to transition into civilian life successfully.

For several reasons, veteran employment is becoming more and more of a problem in our nation. Fortunately, a lot of colleges and universities have taken action to help decrease the alarming number of unemployed veterans.

Enter the online military friendly colleges and their career transition support services.

These services are vast and varied. They include counseling, job placement assistance, resume building, and networking opportunities. All these services can lighten up the load carried by veterans during their transition to civilian careers.

Let’s explore each valuable service offered by military friendly colleges.

Career Transition Support for Military Students

Online colleges have been the talk of the town. Some of these colleges are even focused on providing unique services for military and veteran students. These include specialized financial assistance and career transition support for military students.

More and more military people are pursuing online degrees over on-campus programs. But why? Here are some of the major benefits of online colleges:

Flexibility and Accessibility

This is one of the main reasons why military members and veterans choose online colleges. Many of these students are still recovering from their undesirable experiences. They often don’t have much time or energy for a structured learning environment. Luckily for them, online colleges offer flexible scheduling.

Active military members can have unpredictable schedules and deployments. Online colleges let active-duty military members do their coursework from anywhere and anytime in the world.

Cost Savings

Online colleges are often seen as more affordable compared to traditional on-campus options. According to the Education Data Initiative, online learning is $31,165 cheaper than on-campus learning.

While the tuition rates for online and on-campus courses are often the same, students can save money in other ways. They can cut down on costs like transportation, housing, and campus fees, which adds up to significant savings overall. Some online colleges also waive certain fees or provide textbook discounts.

As an active and retired military member, you’ll have the same perks and financial assistance offered to on-campus students in military friendly colleges. These include:

  • tuition discounts
  • application fee waivers
  • access to specialized advisors familiar with military benefits
  • the ability to transfer eligible military training and experience into academic credit

Online military friendly colleges highly value and recognize the skills gained from military service. They can turn your life experiences into college credits, so you don’t have to spend as much time studying. This saves you money on tuition.

Plus, the accessibility of online colleges gives you a broader pool of colleges to attend. You can easily compare tuition and financial aid packages, giving you control over your educational expenses.

Support Services

Military-friendly online colleges understand the unique challenges faced by service members and veterans. They offer specialized support services tailored to the needs of military students, including veteran and military resource centers.

In particular, online college career services help military students navigate the complexities of the job market, preventing them from ending up on the streets unemployed.

Job Placement Assistance

The difficulty of military to civilian career transition cannot be overstated. The job market is only getting more competitive, even for those with relevant career experiences. Employers are becoming a tad bit demanding, requiring applicants to have more relevant credentials.

One of the top college services today is job placement assistance for military students. These services help students directly connect with employers in their field of interest. Some of the resources covered under this service include:

  • resume workshops
  • interview preparation sessions
  • networking events

These programs help veterans match their military skills with what employers need. They work closely with companies that appreciate veterans’ strengths. This gives military members a chance to participate in on-the-job training to gain relevant skills. Here are two success stories of how job placement services helped them.

Sean Alley, 4 years in the US Navy

After serving in the US Navy for 4 years, Sean Alley returned to UW Bothell to finish his Bachelor’s Degree in Global Studies. Using UWB’s career and job placement services has helped Sean land a job at the world’s largest online retailer. To date, he oversees teams at Amazon.com, ensuring accuracy and quality in distribution.

According to Sean, “My transition from college to work went smoothly with help from UWB Career Services. They assisted with resumes, interviews, and job applications.”

Greg Wheeler, 5 years in the US Navy

After his service, Wheeler joined Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for an apprenticeship. There, he realized that he needed a formal degree to climb the career ladder. He pursued a bachelor’s in organizational leadership at Chapman University College. He then served on Bremerton’s City Council, becoming mayor, driven by a desire to boost local businesses and create jobs.

Seeing the need to understand business ownership better, Wheeler earned his MBA from UMass Global in 2016. Through UMass’ career services, Wheeler gained more support and guidance on his journey of serving the city’s people better. Now a mayor, Wheeler focuses on improving affordable housing in Bremerton, driven by his commitment to his community.

Resume Building Workshops

A “resumé” or CV is a very important piece of paper in the job hunting process. But why is this paper so important?

  1. A resume reaches the recruiter before you do.
  2. It tells your professional story: past, present, and future quickly.
  3. Convinces recruiters that you’re the best fit before you meet.
  4. Lets you showcase skills and how they benefit the company.
  5. Makes a quick and lasting first impression.

Civilian employers often have difficulty reading a military resume, which is why many colleges are now opening up resume building workshops for veterans. These workshops are slightly different from those offered to regular students.

Regular students typically focus on highlighting academic achievements, internships, and part-time jobs. On the other hand, resume-building workshops for military and veterans help these students translate military experience into civilian-friendly terms. These workshops help veterans showcase their skills, leadership roles, and specialized training in ways that resonate with civilian employers.

Some tips and advice shared in these workshops you can expect include:

  1. Translating military jargon
  2. Emphasizing transferable skills
  3. Quantifying accomplishments
  4. Using action-oriented language
  5. Highlight any additional training, certifications, or specialized skills

If you read the 4 Reasons It’s Hard to Read a Military Resume post, you’ll understand why resume-building workshops for veterans are important.

Networking Opportunities

Networking opportunities for military students are just as important as other veteran education benefits. Although online education for veterans comes with benefits, it also has its drawbacks. For one, online colleges for military students may lack face-to-face interactions.

Fortunately, today, many military friendly online colleges hold both virtual and on-campus networking events. Online/virtual networking events are characterized by the following:

  • webinars
  • video conferences
  • virtual trade shows

They can range from industry-specific sessions to more general, professional networking events. They’re actually like in-person events but with more advantages.

  1. They eliminate geographical boundaries.
  2. They offer convenience, allowing students to join wherever they are.
  3. They allow for flexible interaction. It offers options for group discussions and one-on-one chats.

You should always ask the online military college about their virtual networking events. You must ensure that they host a variety of events annually.

Other things you need to look for in military online colleges to ensure success are their financial aid for military students, such as: 

  • GI Bill® Benefits
  • Yellow Ribbon Program
  • Military Tuition Assistance (TA)
  • Flexible Payment Options
  • Compliance with Military Education Regulations
  • Recognition and Accreditation

You can also apply for privately funded scholarships for military students. Consider using reliable scholarship finder websites like 

  • Scholarships360
  • Scholarship.com
  • FastWeb
  • College Board
  • Bold.org
  • Going Merry

Conclusion

Online colleges offer several benefits to military and veteran students. They offer better flexibility and cost savings compared to traditional colleges. Furthermore, many online colleges are just as competitive in terms of military student services as their counterparts.

To have a higher chance of a successful military-to-civilian life transition, you need to ensure that the online college offers the services mentioned above. The most effective approach is to contact the school’s admission office and ask about their specific services for military and veteran students. This way, you can ensure they offer the support you need to navigate your career transition smoothly.