As a veteran, you may have traveled the world, gained valuable expertise, and taken on great challenges. However, translating these experiences back to civilian life can be a challenge. Some of the top career opportunities for veterans allow you to showcase your expertise and your experiences. Here are a few of the top career opportunities for veterans, based on resources available to get started and previous experiences from other veterans.
Top 5 Career Opportunities for Veterans
1. Own Your Own Business
Owning a franchise is one of the top career opportunities for veterans because of the resources available as well as the proof from the many veterans who already own a franchise. About 14% of all franchises in America are owned by veterans, despite making up only 7% of the population. The VetFran network connects veterans with franchise opportunities and resources to learn more about starting and managing a franchise.
Are you a veteran interested in starting a business opportunity? IHA has specific programs to help you get started.
2. Own an Independent Business
With a franchise, a business owner uses the products, marketing messages, and brand provided by the parent company. With an independent business, the owner makes these decisions themselves. This provides more leeway for creativity and control, but doesn’t offer brand equity or recognition.
This can be a top career opportunity for veterans who already have a business idea, know of a business they can purchase, or have a unique business idea related to their experience. The U.S. Small Business Administration offers a wide array of resources for veterans seeking to start a business, including connections with lenders, training resources, and more.
3. Leverage Your International Expertise
Many businesses encounter obstacles when it comes to creating strategic partnerships or extending their business to other countries. It can be difficult to understand the culture, language, and political environment of other countries, and identify opportunities and threats. You may already have valuable experience with other cultures, and you may even know how to leverage strategic connections within other cultures. Your international expertise might make you a valuable member of an existing multinational business, or you might be able to start your own business.
Rumi is an example of such a business. The B-corporation focuses on ethically harvesting some of the world’s most valuable spices, such as saffron. According to the Rumi website, “Rumi’s founders were a team of military veterans who served in Afghanistan with the US Army. They developed our strong Afghan networks and on-the-ground understanding of how business is conducted. With this knowledge, we built the critical relationships, partnerships, and organizational infrastructure necessary to operate within and out of Afghanistan.”
4. Hone Your Skills
Many veterans already have valuable skills that have been put to the test. In many cases, these skills have even become a passion. Advancing your education and turning these skills and passions into a profession is one of the top career opportunities for veterans.
If you have experience in working with computers, engineering, resource management, aviation, or other technical expertise, the next step may be obtaining a university degree to focus your skills and show the knowledge you have. Talk to an advisor about your previous experience and ask about fast-tracking your degree using the knowledge you already have.
Service to School can help you connect with another veteran currently attending university, so they can offer expertise and guidance. The Warrior-Scholar project can help you get re-acclimated to academic life and navigate academic issues.
5. Create a Tech Start-Up
Many vets are tech-savvy, and go on to hone their skills and create technology-focused businesses that generate venture capital and grow outward. This is a top career opportunity for veterans that is certainly lucrative, but also requires careful planning and strategy. Many vets have created tech companies in behavioral analytics, social services, communication, education, construction, and many more. In fact, most of the 2.52 million of veteran-owned businesses are focused on professional, scientific, and technical services.
The first step in creating your start-up is identifying a problem that needs to be solved. If you’re aware of an inefficiency, problem, or challenge that can be solved with technology that you have experience with, you may have the makings of a start-up. Reach out to other veterans, particularly those with experience in tech, start-ups and venture capital, and find a mentor. This person can help guide you through the next steps.