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Service in any branch of the military comes with clear purpose and high reward. That’s why finding a career with meaning is a top priority for most Veterans entering the civilian workforce. With a little effort, life after military can be a rewarding one.

If you’re a Veteran, here’s how you can find purpose post-military.

Build and Leverage Your Veteran network
The Veteran network is vast and growing. It’s also a powerful tool when searching for your next career move. As we’ve discussed in a prior blog post, 85 percent of jobs are filled through networking. It would be a shame to miss out on your potential dream job because you failed to build professional relationships. Putting your initial energy into the Veteran network is the perfect place to start. To do this, we recommend becoming active on LinkedIn and attending Veteran-focused conferences to meet like-minded professionals. In addition, if you are a Vet thinking about starting your own business, check out our blog on 15 Veterans We Admire & What They’re Doing Post-Separation.

Educate Yourself on Options and Benefits
“Opportunities to apply their skills and abilities; adequate benefits and pay; and meaningfulness of the work.” According to a 2014 survey by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families and VetAdvisor, these are the top three factors that drive Vets to, or away, from a job. The answer to fulfilling these requirements is in the upfront work you do to learn about your career options and benefits. First, educate yourself on the GI Bill benefits you may be entitled to. Will it pay for you to go back to school? Then, begin narrowing down the various industries you’re interested in and learn as much as you can about each. This is also where your Veteran network will be extremely helpful. Find mentors in Vets who have gone before you to learn whether or not specific career paths are right for you and your family. If you don’t put the time into learning about your various options, then you likely won’t find the ideal employment match. Just like the military taught you: Plan, learn, execute.

Healthy Living
Though the job you hold post-separation is important, it isn’t everything. It’s arguably more vital to your overall happiness to pursue a healthy lifestyle. Healthy Veterans make choices and pursue healthy living habits that can reduce stress and anxiety during times of uncertainty. One way to do this is to prioritize your self-care routine, which could be as simple as a daily exercise regimen, getting outside, or regularly socializing with friends and family. Coming from a structured military lifestyle, it’s also good to establish routines early with the help of planners, goal setting, to-do lists, and daily meditation practice. And don’t forget to make connections within your family and community. Eat dinner as a family each evening or find a nonprofit to volunteer at together. In fact, research shows that people who stay connected or re-establish connections with loved ones tend to live longer, healthier lives.

SAVI is dedicated to making sure Veterans not only find purpose after the military, but excel at it. Contact us today to learn how we can support your post-separation dreams.