Building effective networks for the transition from the military to the civilian workforce: Who, what, when, and how


Servicemembers leaving the military and entering the civilian workforce are often encouraged to network to identify and obtain civilian employment. However, there are few resources that offer insights into how to build an effective network when transitioning from the military to the civilian workforce. Based on extant literature, we present a Guiding Framework for Building an Effective Network for the Military to Civilian Workforce Transition to answer questions of who Veterans should include in their professional and personal networks (“Who”), what social resources are available from network contacts (“What”) at which phase of the transition (“When”), and how to build relationships with network contacts that may facilitate the transition from the military to civilian workforce (“How”). This framework identifies four types of network contacts that Veterans may include in their networks: family members, other Veterans, civilians, and formal resources persons. Furthermore, we describe the social resources they are likely to receive from these contacts (e.g., love/friendship, information, services, status, money, and goods) at each stage of the transition (e.g. approaching the transition, managing the transition, and assessing the transition) as well as practical suggestions for Veterans to connect with these network contacts. Additionally, we explain how the resources provided by network contacts enable successful role/identity transition. Finally, we discuss practical implications of our framework for service members, and we propose directions for future research on Veterans’ networks and the role that they play during Veterans’ transition from the military to the civilian workforce.

Publication Title

Military Psychology