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Your Post-Military Career: Tips for Finding a Job and Achieving Success in the Civilian Workplace

picture of man monitoring high-tech computer stations

Photo by Airman 1st Class Antoinette Lyons

Employment plays a critical role in the recovery of wounded and injured veterans — including those experiencing traumatic brain injury (TBI) or a psychological health issue such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Having a job builds skills, increases self worth, reduces isolation, provides beneficial social interaction and provides income that is key to economic well-being. But just how should a wounded warrior go about finding meaningful employment? The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and its federal partners can help show you the way.

REALifelines Initiative

DOL's Recovery and Employment Assistance Lifelines (REALifelines) Initiative provides wounded and injured service members (and their families) with personal assistance to ensure a successful transition to civilian life and to prepare them for rewarding careers. Through REALifelines, wounded warriors (and primary caregivers) are offered the opportunity to meet face-to-face with a Disabled Veterans Outreach Program specialist who provides guidance on how to secure employment and achieve economic self-sufficiency.

REALifelines representatives are located at every major Military Treatment Facility where returning veterans are receiving treatment. In addition, veterans who have already returned home can receive online guidance by visiting the REALifelines Employment Advisor, an interactive tool that can help users:

In particular, wounded warriors can use the online advisor to locate the Director for Veterans' Employment and Training in their home state. This Director for Veterans' Employment and Training will arrange to help the transitioning service member or veteran successfully transition to a rewarding career.

Transition Assistance Program (TAP)

The Transition Assistance Program for Veterans (TAP) website provides career information for active-duty service members, National Guard, Reservists and spouses of service members separating or retiring from the military. Specifically, the website:

  • Provides veterans with a valuable tool to use during their transition from military life to civilian life.
  • Assists them in narrowing their job search.
  • Provides them with multiple resources for researching civilian, military, state and federal jobs.
  • Teaches what to expect from the job search process.

Job Accommodation Network (JAN)

JAN is a service provided by DOL's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). Its mission is to facilitate the employment and retention of workers with disabilities by providing employers, employment providers, people with disabilities, their family members and other interested parties with information on job accommodations, entrepreneurship and related subjects. Wounded warriors and their family members can call JAN toll-free (800-526-7234) to discuss their personal employment rights as well as workplace accommodations that meet their specific needs.

National Resource Directory

The National Resource Directory is a web-based catalogue of resources for wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans; their families; families of the fallen; and those who support them. The site's Education and Training and Employment sections will help wounded warriors search job banks, find a career counselor, learn what it takes to start a small business and find out how to transfer their skills learned during military service into a career in the civilian workforce. It also links to information on job training opportunities, scholarships, tuition assistance programs, the GI Bill and many other programs.


VetSuccess.gov is a virtual employment resource center developed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Service. The website presents information about VR&E's Five Tracks to Employment program, serves as a resource for veterans seeking employment and assists employers who want to hire veterans. VetSuccess also features information about the vocational counseling services available to active duty personnel and veterans who have recently separated from military service.

Additional Resources

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