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What to do 
After the Military

Whether you served in the military for four years or 40 years, deciding what to do with the rest of your time may feel both exciting and overwhelming. How you live your life after the military is entirely up to you, but it’s important not to forget the valuable lessons you learned while enlisted. We hope these tips will give you the best shot at success as you prepare to embark on your next journey.

How to Get Out of the Military and Be Successful 

1. Obtain Your DD214

When a service member separates from the military, they are given an official copy of their Discharge Record, also known as a DD214. This form is essentially your certificate of service, and while it won’t affect your ability to find work, it may affect your ability to reenlist depending on your discharge status. Your DD214 discharge status summarizes the ‘quality’ of your military contribution, as well as any reported incidents of misconduct. Your DD214 military records are strictly confidential for 62 years after your separation, whereby records become available to the public.

2. Translate Your Military Experience On A Resume

The skills you’ve obtained throughout the course of your military service can be a tremendous asset to any company -- provided you know how to translate these skills on a resume. As you may already know, the military uses their own lingo, which may not register in the civilian world. For example, if you were a 1st Class Petty Officer in the Navy, make sure you translate your duties using terms like “Technical Expert” or “Team Leader”. Military to civilian skills translation is valuable because your military experience can help you get a job. Technically speaking, however, an employer can’t ask you about your military service, especially if you don’t want to add your service period to your resume. If you need assistance, one of our Peer Navigator can connect you with a professional resume service.

3. Choose a Career

Finding a job after military service is not as challenging as you might think. This is especially true if you wish to carry forward your military career into your new life. For example, if you were a Mass Media Specialist for the Marine Corps, you may want to pursue a civilian career in a related field, such as in Journalism or Marketing. Your military experience can help you get a job with hundreds of companies that hire veterans. However, employers looking to hire veterans may need help understanding your service contribution, which is why it’s so important to practice your military to civilian skills translation.

4. Start Applying For Jobs

Civilians looking for work will usually check out online job boards, or ask their friends about potential job opportunities. These tactics are tried and true, whether you’re a civilian or a transitioning service member. Zero8Hundred can also connect you directly with organizations looking to fill open positions in Southern California. There are plenty of open jobs for veterans, as long as you’re not afraid to look. If you’re wondering when to start applying for jobs after the military, the answer is NOW.

5. Understand Your Post-Service Benefits

Rather than finding employment, you might actually be thinking about going back to school. Tuition and other benefits can be covered under your GI Bill, so you may want to consider allocating some of your post-service benefits to advancing your education. Learn more about your GI Bill benefits.


If you’re still unsure about your future after military separation, we’re here to help you. One of our trained Peer Navigators will provide you with all of the tools necessary to streamline your transition to civilian life.

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