Military cybersecurity specialists coming to the end of your enlistment contract face a challenge:
What is the right private sector company for you?
Whether you’ve spent three or twenty years on active duty, the decision to transition to a civilian career can cause anxiety. The reasons may be obvious. The military is a structured environment with a distinct culture. Soldiers and sailors of vastly different backgrounds share a common culture and warrior ethos. Expectations are clearly defined and guidelines for success, clearly defined. This definition is not always so well defined in the private sector.
That said, most veterans will decide to transition to a civilian career at some point and the company they choose can have a dramatic effect on that civilian career. Everyone’s different, but enough studies have been conducted to show many transitioning veterans struggle in their first civilian job after leaving active duty. An inability to adapt to an unfamiliar corporate culture is often a contributing factor.
The good news is that as a veteran with cybersecurity training, your experience is extremely valuable. Defense contractors place a high degree of value on military personnel with cybersecurity experience and you will undoubtedly be recruited by that sector.
But the defense sector is not your only option. What if you don’t want to work in the D.C. area? If you know how to find them, there are many companies looking for veterans with your skills who cultivate a veteran friendly environment. Here are some tips to find them:
- Talk to other veterans. Reach out to your network and associate yourself with Veterans groups.
- Check your target company’s website, if they are Veteran-owned they will surely advertise themselves as such.
- Check the company’s social media platforms, newsletters and employee communications, if possible. Companies with a high number of veteran employees almost always want to get the word out to other veterans.
- When you interview, you will get a sense from the company representative who is interviewing you if that company truly understands and appreciates your training and experience.
Remember, companies that are veteran-owned or have a high number of veteran employees will possess a corporate culture that is familiar and provides the clearest path to your success.