Do you have less than a year left of military service?

  • Who should read this?

    Servicemembers, and their spouses, who are within one year of separating from the military.

  • Why should you read this?

    You can take certain steps to improve your chances of moving smoothly and successfully into civilian life.

What are the steps?

  1. 12 Months Before Leaving Active Duty
    • Fill in any gaps in your education or skill set by taking classes and obtaining certifications and licensures. The GI Bill may be used for some of this prior to exiting the service.
    • Contact your local Transition Assistance Program (TAP) manager to schedule the mandatory Transition Goals, Plans, Success (GPS) curriculum. If you are unable to attend this training, it is available through Joint Knowledge Online, but you must have approval from your service branch to get credit. You must complete the VA Benefits Briefings I and II, the Department of Labor Employment Workshop, and an Individual Transition Plan (ITP). ITPs are service specific, so check documents related to your branch.
    • Review military transcripts and service records for accuracy.
    • Think about which industries and careers interest you, using tools such as o*Net and CareerScope.
    • Start developing a résumé by translating military skills into equivalent civilian skills. Import these using the Résumé Builder.
    • Clean up your personal social-media footprint and establish a presence on professional sites like LinkedIn.
  2. 6 Months Before Leaving Active Duty
    • Complete the Preseparation Counseling Checklist (form DD2648).
    • Compile your service-treatment records and military hospital reports if you plan on registering for VA medical resources. Both of these can be ordered through the National Archives. Treatment records are not required for registration or treament at VA.
    • Compile private medical records and hospital reports.
    • Finalize your résumé and begin actively searching for employment.
    • Consider taking one of three additional GPS tracks: Accessing Higher Education, Career Technical Training, or Entrepreneurship.
    • Consider free education and career counseling.
    • At 120 days from separation, you can begin applying for federal jobs.
  3. 2-4 Months Before Leaving Active Duty
    • Attend networking and recruiting events.
    • Review job boards, search job banks, and research openings at companies that interest you.
    • Actively engage in your career search.
    • Avoid using military lingo like “V/R” in your career-search emails.
    • Wear professional, civilian clothing to events and in networking website photos.
  4. 1 Month Before Leaving Active Duty
    • Complete TAP GPS (can be completed earlier).
    • Prepare for final round of job interviews.