Veterans & Service Members

The Veterans Support Center (VSC) provides a one-stop shop for military-affiliated students to find services, support and camaraderie. The office is staffed with VSC personnel, Veterans Affairs (VA) counselors and benefits advisors, peer mentors, career coaches, and registrar staff who certify enrollment in VA educational benefits.

The VSC serves students who are active duty or reserve military, National Guard, traditional veterans who were not dishonorably discharged, and their spouses and dependents. The center provides many free resources including advising, counseling, tutoring, a computer lab, refreshments, lounge and more.

  • How do I translate my military experience to civilian language?
  • How do I find jobs and companies that are veterans preferred?
  • How can I access mentors in career fields that interest me?

The Veterans Support Center, right on campus, supports veterans, which the U defines as any student, faculty, staff member or alumnus of the University of Utah who served or serves in the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, or National Guard, on active duty or the reserves, for any length of time, and has not been separated for these services with dishonorable discharge. The center also supports their spouses and dependents. For further information and access to the center’s resources and “U Vet” community, please visit the Veterans Support Center.

  • US Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Office (Salt Lake City): provides support to veterans once they have come home from the military through a series of different benefits and employments.
  • Utah Department of Veterans & Military Affairs: provides well-planned and effective services to veterans, military and their families through government agencies, academics, private sector and non-profit sector.
  • Afterdeployment.org: provides numerous resources for wellness and  the military community who have returned from deployment transition back into the civilian world.
  • U.S. Office of Personnel Management: (OPM) administers entitlement to veterans’ preference in employment.
  • Department of Labor: provides current information regarding hiring initiatives for returning veterans and resources to help connect veterans to civilian jobs.
  • The National Resource Directory: provides information on how to apply for VA benefits and information regarding your GI Bill and specific scholarships for veterans.
  • Joining Forces: is a national initiative to engage all sectors of society to give our service members and their families the opportunities and support they have earned.
  • The Real Warriors Campaign: is a multimedia public awareness campaign designed to encourage help-seeking behavior among service members, veterans and military families coping with invisible wounds.
  • Affirmative Action Register: Positions, both of an academic and non-academic nature, with colleges and universities from across the country. Directed to women, minorities, veterans, and disabled persons, as well as all employment candidates.

Translate your military skills, accomplishments and work history into layman’s terms.

  • Inventory the skills you used during your service. Whether you were a sharpshooter in the Army, a diver in the Navy, or had another profession in the military, there are marketable skills you developed in your career that apply to the civilian workplace.
  • Think beyond the specific function you carried out and identify the core value, skill or expertise you brought to the table. For example, a sharpshooter would have led small teams to carry out high-priority objectives with minimal room for failure in high pressure situations.
  • Some core values, skills and/or expertise displayed above are leadership, ability to carry out work with minimal supervision, attention to detail and ability to work under strict deadlines.

 Give the Full Picture of your experiences

  • Technical Skills: Military careers such as a telecommunication technician, financial management technician, mechanic or health care specialist all have closely related civilian careers. The technical skills you developed in your military career should be included in your resume.
  • Interpersonal Skills: Working in the military requires working with a variety of personalities, from high-ranking officers to unit commanders, teammates and subordinates. Often, service members must master the art of interacting with supervisors, peers and subordinates to complete a task. Interpersonal skills are valued in the civilian workplace and should be detailed in your resume to reflect your ability to work with many different kinds of colleagues to get the job done.
  • Leadership Skills: Any leadership experience or training that you acquired in the military is also highly valued by civilian employers. Overseeing subcontractors is a leadership skill that can be valuable in the civilian world.

It is important to remember that the military system is based on seniority and rank, but career advancement in the civilian workplace is a matter of excelling in areas that propel the success of the organization. To ensure your success, it is important for you as a former service member to pay attention to three key differences that exist between civilian and military environments:

  • Communication style: Former military personnel can be formal, direct and to the point while civilian communication styles are slightly different and may be more informal or conversational. Try to be sensitive to the communication styles of your civilian coworkers and remember to be patient, accept challenges with a positive mindset and always be willing to adjust.
  • Efficiency: The U.S. military has a top-down system for making decisions, while many private and public companies have organizational processes that involve more people and may take more time. Be patient, and understand that although taking direct orders from the top works well in the military, civilian organizations often benefit from having multiple stakeholders contribute to the decision-making process.
  • Flexibility: Many companies today offer flexible hours, schedules and work locations. While the military benefits from having a rigid structure for service members to operate within, the corporate workplace can benefit by allowing its employees to have a flexible work-life balance.

To talk further about these resources or other topics, log in to Cranium Cafe to make an appointment with the Carmen Gold-Johnson the Veterans Career Coach or any available Career Coach.

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