Veterans have many skills to offer a new employer. Finding your dream job after the military doesn’t have to be frustrating.
You don’t have a degree. And you’re internally freaking out a bit. How can you support your family? How can you make good money? Will you have to work at a fast food joint to make ends meet?
Many family and friends may ask, “What jobs can you get after the military?”
In this guide, we will discuss finding the best jobs for veterans, with no degree, after they get out of the military.
Before We Worry About Whether You Have A Degree… What Would Your Dream Job Be?
You’re ready to leave the military and enter the civilian workforce, but you’re worried about not having a college degree to highlight on your resume.
Maybe you’ve researched jobs online or even started your networking journey to search for jobs you can get after the military. Every search and conversation you’ve had ended with, “Do you have a college degree?”
Before worrying about having a degree or not, let’s figure out what your dream job would be. Remember, you gained many skills while serving your country. Allow those skills to speak for the experience and knowledge you’ve gained.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What do you want to do now that you are about to enter the civilian world?
- What do you want your second career to look like?
Because after all, now it is your choice.
Step 1: Think about what you want your day to look like
Envision what a perfect workday would look like.
- Do you want an early start to your day?
- How far of a commute do you want to make?
- Is travel time away from family and home an option?
- What time you want your workday to end?
- Do you have employees reporting to you?
- Do you want to work weekends or holidays?
- Is being on call an option?
- How do you want to dress?
- Business casual
- Sweat pants
How you live each day is how you live your life.
Step 2: Think about the type of work you want to do
Interacting with clients?
Working under a car hood?
Maybe while in the military, you managed a division. Now that you’re entering the civilian world, you do not want the responsibility of managing people or sitting in meetings.
You envision going to work, doing your job, running a few reports, checking-in with the supervisor or manager, and going home.
Let’s take a look at how a Navy Chief considered the type of work he wanted to do after his military career.
Chief Timmy enjoyed his time serving in the military as a Chief in the supply department. However, he faced many long days, weekends, and numerous late-night phone calls with questions referencing availability and locations of critical parts for repairs.
Chief Timmy is about to finish his military career and enter the civilian workforce after serving twenty-one years.
While serving, Chief Timmy demonstrated excellent leadership and organizational skills. He could put his hands on, provide locations, and tracking information of parts in his sleep.
However, leading people and warehouse management are no longer what the Chief wants to do.
No more phone calls at all hours of the night or the need to return to work because of issues.
Chief Timmy wants to be Timmy.
Show up to work.
Do his job.
Eat dinner with his family.
Have uninterrupted sleep.
Wake up the next morning to no missed messages or calls.
It is 100% okay in wanting a more traditional, standard workday after years of service.
Step 3: Think about what type of company you want to work for
The civilian world offers options when it comes to the type of company you work for.
Do you want to work for:
- A privately-owned company
- A large company
- Government sector – State or Federal
Start your own business after the military. Entrepreneurship is an option. Turn your passion into a business.
Entrepreneurship takes some drive and dedication. If you can’t envision your dream job, create one yourself.
Why Does a College Degree Matter?
One executive wrote in a survey on the Association of American College:
“No matter what an individual’s degree is in, the college experience produces a well-rounded individual who is prepared to interact with high-level employees.”
Specific jobs and companies will require a college degree because the jobs require a higher skill set that you cannot acquire in high school alone.
However, as a veteran, you have gained essential skills to help you stand out and help you qualify for jobs after the military with no degree within multiple industries.
We will share some tips to help you stand out below.
Does a College Degree Matter To Large Companies?
They’re more likely to “require” a college degree, especially for high executive positions.
A few examples of jobs that may require a minimum degree include:
- Medical fields
Depending on the position, the requirement of having a college degree may be the company’s red tape – the company’s way of eliminating the number of applicants to apply.
The more work experience a candidate has, the less a college degree may matter within certain jobs and companies.
This is where your military experience can help you.
Robots Read Your Resume to Ensure You Have a College Degree
Companies use an automated system to read your resume before a human ever sees it come across their desk.
The automated system scans for keywords within each section. If the education requirement is a bachelor’s degree and your field is marked N/A, it is likely that your electronic resume will not pass the system.
Therefore, it may not even be seen by the hiring manager.
But don’t give up. We will help you learn to stand out and find a job with your dream company below.
Does a College Degree Matter To Small Companies?
Small companies are more likely to overlook if an applicant doesn’t have a degree completed.
Many small business owners care more about things like:
- Showing up on time
- Meeting deadlines
- Doing great quality work
- Not spending time on social media
- The skills you have to offer
Great Jobs For Military Veterans Without Degrees: How To Get Your Dream Job
There are many great jobs for military veterans without degrees.
Now that you know there are available jobs for veterans with no degree, let’s talk about how you can get your dream job as well as set yourself apart from other applicants.
Step 1: Write Down 20 Dream Companies You’d Love To Work For
Think about a company you love. Maybe you love shopping there or using their product/service.
Is there a company with a great cause you support? Consider joining their team.
What about that company you drive past on your daily commute. Have you envisioned yourself walking in as an employee one day?
Write those 20 companies down in a notebook, Google doc, or spreadsheet. Leave yourself some space to add notes as you conduct your search for contacts and to whom you send your resume to or meet.
Step 2: Find Out If Those Dream Companies Are Hiring
Now that you have your 20 Dream Companies written down, it is time to find out if they are hiring.
You can do an online search for those dream companies’ job postings on their website.
You can also visit a few of these veteran-specific job boards to find out if your dream companies are hiring:
For each of the job posting sites, set up a profile with your skills. Sign up to receive daily or weekly updates on new job listings by your dream companies.
LinkedIn is another job resource site, as well as networking.
You can take a few minutes to set up a Linkedin account and allow it to work in multiple ways for you. Here’s a great LinkedIn training video to help build your profile and have it work in your favor.
Step 3: Whether They’re Hiring Or Not, Reach Out To At Least 10 People Within Each Organization (Preferably Veterans)
Businesses are willing to hire if someone can help their business make money and grow.
Just because it says they are not hiring doesn’t mean they are 100% not hiring.
- Maybe you notice their website could be updated, and there is very little social media presence.
- They have long hold times in their customer service department.
- Maybe their in-store pickup line is slow because their inventory is not updated well.
Often, knowing someone within an organization can help you get your foot in the door. Having another veteran within the organization to reach out to is beneficial as well.
They understand the translation of skills and work ethics.
This is where networking and building connections are helpful.
Social media can be a game-changer when trying to answer, “What jobs can you get after the military?”
1. Do a quick LinkedIn search of your dream companies’ website
Other employees working there will populate if they have the company’s name listed in their LinkedIn profile.
2. Review those profiles and see if they are veterans
This is step is key.
As you review the profiles, you may find common duty stations, tours, and other connections; building even more connections that may help in finding your dream job.
List those names on the notebook page or spreadsheet of the corresponding dream companies you researched.
This list will serve as your point of contact.
3. Make Connections and Network
You will want to connect with these individuals.
After your LinkedIn profile is set up, contact them through the messenger function or via email once you are ready to begin your job search.
Introduce yourself. If you served at common duty stations or have other connections, mentioning those things may be a great ice breaker.
Step 4: Do Something Different:
If you do what everyone else does, simply send generic resumes and cover letters, to different businesses, you won’t succeed.
You’re already at a potential disadvantage without a degree.
You want to stand out amongst other applicants.
Here are some suggestions to get companies to see your skills, qualifications and your drive in a unique way:
1. Film a Video Of Yourself Sharing How You Can Help That Company Succeed
A video will showcase your personality, your presentation skills (if your dream job requires presentations), and it’s an opportunity to let a company get to know you; remember some of the hiring process is about personality.
Introduce yourself and highlight how your skills will benefit them.
Be sure to make it all about them and end the video with how the company will look after you step in with your skills.
2. Do Work For Them For Free (Without Them Knowing) - Then Give It To Them For Free
Show your dream company how eager and determined you are.
Let’s use Chief Timmy as an example again.
He knows he no longer wants to do any supply management job, nor does he want to supervise staff or oversee inventory control.
His dream company is a repair company he passes on his daily commute.
This company offers great service for home repairs but lacks a true online presence. Their website is outdated, with no electronic correspondences, no social media presence, etc.
This company could use some updating to help them grow and compete with the other repair companies moving to the area.
Chief Timmy knows with some marketing and a new website, he can help this company’s business grow.
Chief took a few hours out of his weekend, created some new graphics, a few newsletters, and drafted some new ideas for an updated website.
He walked in, introduced himself, handed the owner his resume, drafted website plan, and a flash drive with files.
Now you better believe that made quite a first impression.
3. Walk Into Their Office And Introduce Yourself
Do you drive past one of the dream companies on your list?
Maybe you frequent one of the locations.
This is a great opportunity to walk in and introduce yourself. Ask for a manager and let them know you’re looking for a job, what you have to offer, how you can help their business, and hand them your resume.
Be sure to get their business card for a follow-up in a couple of days.
Step 5: Be Relentless (In A Nice Way)
One key to being successful in finding a job with one of your dream companies is your follow-up.
You don’t have to email or call every day, but you do want to remain on your dream company’s radar.
- Send a thank-you note or email (use a read receipt to know when the email was opened).
- Comment on the company’s social media accounts when they post about new products or release news (make sure the comment is relevant).
- If you feel you’re contacting the company too often, change up your emails a bit. This is a great opportunity to tie in a newly published article from their site or social media into your email. Not only is this a great way to show your interest in the job, but it also shows you are paying attention to their company’s happenings.
Take American Dream U’s Free Dream Job Course to help you find your dream job.
The founder of American Dream U will NOT hire someone that doesn’t follow up with at least a thank-you (email).
We have found that many other employers have a similar frame of mind, so be sure to send a thank-you email or other form of follow-up.
Let your dream company know you want the job and that you ARE perfect for their company.