Military veterans looking for work will now have a new tool to help them transition out of the military.

It’s a guide aimed at career counsellors to teach vets how to pump up their resumes. Five thousand members leave the military every year in Canada. But finding work with skills as a sniper or a combat engineer isn't easy, unless you know how to "sell" those skills.

Ottawa councilor Jody Mitic knows all too well how tough it is looking for work after a life-long career in the military. Master Corporal Jody Mitic was a sniper with the Canadian Armed Forces, until a landmine blew off both his legs in 2007.  After 20 years in the forces, Mitic left on a medical discharge.

"I flailed about for about a year and a half until I stumbled onto politics,” says Mitic.

Mitic's transition from the military to municipal politics wasn't easy.

“As a sniper, we really have no transferrable skills to the real world,” he says.

Like many vets, he worried what the future would hold for him.

“What we can do is provide the tools and guidance for guys leaving the military for next year or two,” he adds.

That's exactly what is being proposed in a guide entitled “Military to Civilian Employment:  A Career Practitioner’s Guide.  It was launched during a panel discussion and reception at the 10th annual Cannexus conference in Ottawa, produced in partnership by CERIC, the Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling and Canada Company, the leader in military employment transition.

Career Development expert Yvonne Rodney did the research.

"I think the guide is important now especially,” says Rodney, “because we are pulling out more troops from overseas and lots more vets will be asking themselves “what do I do with the rest of my life” and given that they've given years of service to our country, we need to find them jobs.”

Right now, 1 in 4 vets has trouble finding work or finding the right job, according to Dwayne Cormier, the director of transition services at Canada Company.

The guide is aimed at career practitioners to help them understand the world the military come from.

“It's about education,” says Cormier, “you teach these counsellors about the world the military vets come from.  Then, they are prepared to coach that person, to get them to look for work properly, get them to de-militarize their resumés.”

Change is never easy.

“Probably one of the hardest things ever,” admits Jody Mitic, of his transition away from the military.

For him, it was about learning that while some of his skills as a sniper won't fit into his role as a city councillor, leadership and logical thinking certainly do. 

Of course, this concept only works if employers are on board.  That's part of this whole exercise; identifying military-friendly companies.  So far, nearly 200 companies across Canada have been identified as military-friendly.