One of the biggest stressors veterans deal with while transitioning to civilian life is finding a job; more importantly a job that puts their military skills to use. Some jobs have special education requirements, but those can be hard for some veterans to meet with many going into the service straight out of high school. But don’t let education requirements frustrate you during the job hunt. If you’re a veteran looking for work in 2014, here are 10 jobs to consider.
1. Security officer
This position is a good fit for veterans, because it requires people able to quickly evaluate situations and create strategies to best resolve any problem that could arise. This is something service members have to deal with while on active duty. Security officers will also need to be able to have high-quality communication skills on a daily basis, especially during stressful situations. Private companies, banks, hospitals, schools, sports and entertainment venues, factories and more are looking for people to help guard their facilities and keep their people safe from any potential danger. Security officers are there to help ensure things run smoothly on a day-to-day basis. Military-trained personnel tend to be highly attentive and disciplined people who are used to working within a chain of command to maintain safe operations.
2. Construction worker
Veterans who are having trouble finding jobs are finding success in construction work. This industry is quickly growing, and there is expected to be a 25 percent increase in this field by 2020. Construction companies are looking for employees who can keep projects running on time and on budget under strict deadlines, which is something military-trained professionals are used to. Jobs in this field range from large to small scale projects and include carpenters, insulators, equipment operators, shift supervisors and more. In this line of work, degrees are typically not required and most training will come on-site.
3. Power plant operator
Only having a high school degree doesn’t have to hold you back. Almost half of the current power plant operators only hold high school diplomas and receive training on-site. More jobs are opening across the country with the increase of shale natural gas. Power plant operators are in charge of controlling equipment responsible for generating power at nuclear plants or solar and wind power facilities. They are also in charge of making sure the equipment meets regulatory and efficiency requirements. Veterans with Navy nuclear experience are great assets to have in the nuclear power industry.
4. Sales representative
Looking for a position that puts your communication skills to good use? Taking a job as a sales representative could be the perfect fit for you. Manufacturers, government agencies and other organizations are looking for people to become the face of their business to customers by selling and explaining goods and services and also negotiating prices. Lots of sales rep positions are open with independent agencies, which operate on a fee basis. They will provide each employee with a list of goals to achieve. This is a good fit for military-trained personnel who are able to remain calm under the pressure of deadlines. Prior sales experience is not always required to work in these positions.
5. Truck driver
Veterans who are concerned they might not have the right skills for the civilian workforce don’t need to worry. There are plenty of jobs they can get through training programs that qualify under their GI Bill Benefits such as training to become a truck driver. Currently there are more than 200,000 long haul truck driving jobs open across the country. Military trained personnel can provide companies with the ability to work with heavy equipment and provide good judgment when operating vehicles with a capacity of at least 26,000 pounds. Companies are not only looking for people to operate trucks but also transit buses, vans and limos. This is also a great fit for those preparing to leave the service and are getting an early start on the job hunt. In October 2012, Congress passed the Military Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Act of 2012, which allows service members still in uniform to obtain their CDL during active duty.
This position calls for people who are able to work in a structured environment with strict safety procedures and sometimes in stressful situations. Veterans work well in this industry, because they learned these skills during their time in the service. A lineman will not only be required to repair and maintain power lines for companies but also work during an emergency to respond to downed lines and other outages. This line of work is currently experiencing a job increase of roughly 13 percent for line installers, repairmen and linemen. Those applying for these positions typically only need to have a basic knowledge of algebra and trigonometry.
Many veterans find this position a good fit to help them transition into civilian life. That’s because becoming a mechanic allows them to put their knowledge of suspension systems, steering, hydraulics and other vehicle systems to use. Companies are not only looking for people to fix cars, trucks and buses but also trains and private and commercial aircrafts. Mechanics also perform repairs on small engines, lawnmowers and power equipment. For these positions, employers are generally looking for people who have gone through some form of formal training. Industry certification is not usually required until you become employed.
Companies have a hard time filling this position, because it takes additional time and money to train people. For veterans, this is great news because military personnel go through training during the service that puts them at the head of the hiring line. Those who have gone through higher education technical training along with their military training can quickly move up the career ladder. Some of the responsibilities of a technician include fixing and maintaining machines and working on high-tech equipment such as medical devices, robotics and other electronics.
9. Information technology professional
Those trained through the military in network operations tend to find comfort in transitioning to an IT position. The need to fill these roles is rapidly increasing as more of the world becomes digitally based. IT professionals will be responsible for overseeing private companies’ or public organizations’ computer networks and keeping them safe. This position also sometimes brings development opportunities including designing websites.
10. Intelligence analyst
At the top of the “wish list” for defense and federal government agencies looking to hire intelligence analysts are veterans. That’s because military personnel are trained in intelligence to help them protect and serve their country. This position requires data analysis skills, technical knowledge and experience working with government channels. Intelligence analysts will also be required to study both classified and unclassified information, analyze data and much more. Certain government and defense agencies will also require employees to have security clearance, which is another advantage to hiring veterans.
Jonathan Pharr is a Marine Corps veteran and the executive editor for the Veterans United Network, a collection of award-winning blogs that provide advice to veterans and military families on their VA loan benefits. Connect with Jon on Google+.