Is Your Career Path Full of Fellow Veterans? Here's How to Stand Out

Is Your Career Path Full of Fellow Veterans? Here's How to Stand Out
Attendees take part in MOAA's Military and Veterans Networking Forum at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Jennifer Milbrett for MOAA)

A recently released survey by Navy Federal Credit Union, in partnership with the nonprofit Hire Heroes USA, identified these career paths as the 10 best for transitioning servicemembers and veterans: 

  1. Health care
  2. Government/Public Administration
  3. Defense Contracting
  4. Information Technology
  5. Financial Services
  6. Education
  7. Law Enforcement
  8. Retail
  9. Manufacturing
  10. Transportation/Warehousing


Whether you agree or disagree with the findings, it's important to note that with an estimated 250,000 service members transitioning out of the military each year, you need to make yourself stand out if you want to break into a highly desired career track.


Here are some tips for you to consider to get that leg up on your competition:


1. Network, network, network! It is estimated that over 75% of all jobs are filled through networking and employee referrals. You should ensure every person you know – friends, family, professional colleagues and casual acquaintances -- is aware of your career aspirations.


[RELATED: 3 Networking Tips for Veterans]


2. Put LinkedIn to work for you. Unleashing the power of LinkedIn helps you to establish your personal brand and to grow and expand your professional network.  Because of the impact it has on the job-search landscape, a robust LinkedIn profile is an imperative.


[RELATED: 6 Tips to Maximize Your LinkedIn Profile]


3. Practice your pitch. Having a 30-second elevator pitch ready helps to cement the connection and markets you as an individual by providing a quick summary of your skills and qualifications in a way that allows you to say who you are, what you’re interested in doing, and how you can be a resource to your listener.


[RELATED: Elevator Speeches – Do You Really Need One?]


4. Articulate your value. Follow these two cardinal rules for résumés. First, always focus on the needs of the employers – what problems or issues do they need you to solve? Second, cite your achievements and accomplishments from your previous professional experience and relate them directly to the problem or issues the employer needs you to address.  Be sure to highlight the impact of your efforts and difference you made in resolving those concerns.


[RELATED: More on the Survey from]


Need help crafting your résumé? MOAA’s team of experts are here to help. Click here to learn more about MOAA Career Center member benefits, including career consulting and résumé critiques for Premium and Life members. You’ll also find plenty of guidance in MOAA’s Marketing Yourself for a Second Career publication.

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About the Author

Col. Brian D. Anderson, USAF (Ret)
Col. Brian D. Anderson, USAF (Ret)

Anderson joined the staff of MOAA's Career Transition Services Department in August 2011. He served 26 years in the U.S. Air Force in a wide range of command and staff assignments. Connect with him on LinkedIn.