Gather information you need to make decisions about the future.
1) Start a where to live list.
- Begin your “Where do I want to live list?” with three to five locations.
- Use the internet to check out cost of living, job market and other factors for each location.
- Calculate your eligibility for a VA-guaranteed home loan.
- If you're thinking about joining the Reserves or National Guard, look for Reserve/National Guard unit locations.
- Narrow your list of places to live down to your 1st, 2nd and 3rd choices.
2) Describe your perfect job.
- What kind of job is perfect for you?
- How will you use your current skills in a new job?
3) Get the facts on available support and necessary paperwork.
- Calculate your potential military compensation.
- Check with your military installation and your unit for general transition information.
- If joining the Reserves or National Guard, complete your end of service transition (transition to inactive Reserve, active Reserve unit or National Guard).
- Search the internet for "military friendly" states (lower taxes, military facilities, etc.).
4) Start and grow your network.
- Write down three things you'll do to start or grow your network.
- Make sure you utilize the services provided by military support organizations like Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), American Legion and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA).
- Start making informal contacts with people who can provide support as you transition (including fellow military peers and people in the civilian workforce who have jobs or work at companies you might be interested in).
Build on your network throughout your transition — and after. For suggestions, download the Networking Self-Study Guide.
Identify the qualifications you'll need for your Skills perfect job.
Start a transition fund that will cover three to six months’ living expenses. Decide how much money you'll need by creating a finance budget and then saving a portion of your earnings from each paycheck until you reach your goal.
Check out the Department of Defense Transition Assistance Program (TAP). It provides Active Component Service members (including AGR, AR and FTS) four major components:
- Pre-Separation Counseling - mandatory and conducted by the Military Services
- Department of Labor (DOL) Transition Assistance Program Employment
- Workshops - facilitated and sponsored by DOL
- Veterans Benefits Briefings - facilitated and sponsored by VA