As the final days of your military service approaches, you’re looking forward to no more 0400 wake-up calls, no more combat boots and fatigues, no more field problems, and deployments.
Whether you are leaving the service after two years or thirty, these final days are filled with mixed emotions and an ever growing “To Do” list. In your transition preparation don’t leave any important documents and records behind.
The DD214 signifies the completion of your military career. It validates your service and commitment to our nation. It will also be one of the most requested documents in your civilian life, whether obtaining a home loan, applying for a federal job or requesting VA benefits, the DD214 is the top document in your personal records. But it’s not the only document you need when transitioning from the military.
Military Personnel Records
Once you've been discharged from military service your personnel files are stored at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). To request copies, visit https://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records. Most veterans’ records are stored here, but if you are recently separated it may take some time for your records to be transferred over.
These are primarily administrative records and can contain the following information:
Enlistment, appointment, duty stations and assignments Training, qualifications, performance, awards, and medals Disciplinary actions, administrative remarks Insurance and emergency data Separation/discharge/retirement (including DD Form 214, Report of Separation, or equivalent)
Military Service Records
To request copies of your military service record, maintained by the VA, you’ll need to sign in to milConnect, register or upgrade your DS Login account to Premium. For additional instructions and steps for requesting records visit https://www.va.gov/records/get-military-service-records/. Service records available through milConnect are:
DD214, DD215 Report of Separation and other release papers Orders and endorsements Performance reports Awards and decorations Qualifications, licenses, and certificates Security clearance
Job Search Records
For many of you, this may be the first time (or the first time in a long time) you’ve conducted a job search so you may have to create these job search records from scratch.
Resume The most important part of your resume is the content, yes fancy formats and fonts are nice but relevant targeted experience is what will land your next job! If you need help creating or targeting your resume CASY can help and all our services are free!
Cover Letter A cover letter allows you an opportunity to boast about achievements and explain why you are the perfect person for the job. Still not convinced you need a cover letter? Check out https://joom.ag/JduW/p6.
Professional Biography Also known as an elevator speech, this isn't exactly a document but a prepared speech used during interviews and networking events. Professional Bios are about your work experience, expertise, and credentials as well as what type of position you are looking for. Elevator speeches should be brief, persuasive and well-rehearsed.
Business Cards Business cards are easy and cheap to create online. Keep it simple, include your name, title, and contact information. These are perfect to hand out at networking events or even your kid’s soccer practice, you never know where your next job will come from!
Thank You Letter Thank you letters, like cover letters, may seem old fashion but they are effective ways to communicate with potential employers and reinforce your skills after an interview. To learn more about thank you letters visit https://joom.ag/skTQ/p6
References Compile a list of professional reference including names and contact information. Be sure to get permission from your references before adding them to the list.
Education records These records include college transcripts, diplomas, certifications, and licenses information.
Once you have landed your next job employers will request proof of citizenship and/or your eligibility. To avoid any hold-ups in the hiring process be sure to keep your birth certificate, Social Security Card and Passport in a secure and accessible (to you) location.
How to Store Records
Hard copy documents such as medical records, financial information, and military service records should be organized and kept in a locked cabinet. Important documents such as social security cards, passports, and birth certificates should be stored in a fireproof safe or safety deposit box.
Electronic records can be saved in password managers or secure cloud storage but do your research and understand how these services work to protect your information and identity before selecting a service.