- The Essential Military-to-Civilian Transition Resource

From the Blog: Volunteer Your way Into a Post-Military Career

by Jessie Richardson, Contributing Writer

Volunteering brings new contacts, skill sets, and opportunities for work experience to transitioning military job seekers. If you are lookingfor work, consider volunteering as an integral part of your job-search strategy.

Consider the benefits:

  • Volunteering looks great on a resume. It compensates for gaps in your work history while you are transitioning into a civilian career. It shows potential employers passion for work without regard to reward. It diversifies and expands your experience beyond the military. It also shows initiative in that you have not been idle during the military job search process.
  • Volunteering increases networking contacts. It puts you face-to-face with community leaders - people who have the contacts you desire and who may be willing to recommend you or have the power to employ you themselves.
  • Volunteering is excellent for self-esteem. A job search can be emotionally and mentally taxing. Volunteering makes you feel connected and appreciated. Military job seekers with high self-esteem tend to market themselves better and interview more effectively.
  • Volunteering can also help you determine if you are seeking employment in the right field. Many military job seekers have a difficult time finding their niche. Volunteering can give you enough exposure to a line of work to help you make the right career decisions.

Visit - a great Web site that allows you to search for volunteer opportunities by keyword (e.g., mentoring, veterans, environment, etc.) or location. Think outside of the box! Offer to assist non-profits with projects such as designing brochures, organizing fundraisers, or building a Web site. List this experience on your resume in a creative way. At your next interview, you will be able to show samples of your work that is being used in the real world.

The more you volunteer, the more people you bring into your networking circle. Just be sure to do enough quality work for each organization so that they get to know you and that you gain knowledge from the experience. Solicit feedback from the organization about your job-search process. Let people at all levels within the organization know you are looking for full-time work. You never know who will have the contact you need to land a job.

Use volunteering to establish credentials, gain real-world experience, and expand your circle of contacts. Studies have shown that volunteering can be a direct route to employment.

Jessie Richardson, CPRW, is director of resume services at, the military-to-civilian transition experts. She is a Naval Academy graduate and a regular commentator on job search best practices for military-experienced job seekers. Read more transition advice online at the blog.

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