03/12/2014 02:59 pm ET Updated May 12, 2014

7 Surefire Ways to Be Successful After the Military

Don't you wish there was a guaranteed way to get the high paying job you dreamed of while cleaning the barracks as a private? Work at a company where table tennis, catered lunches and beer fridays are not perks, but part of the company culture?

Life after the military can be challenging, so to help you get started, here are seven ways to help you become successful after the military.

1. Have a Plan :

Most service members do not give themselves enough time to think of what's next after they take off the uniform. Start looking at things that interest you and what you need to do to get there. Not having a plan increases the difficulty of transitioning and makes civilian life even more of a challenge. It's a cold world out, so bring your own heat.

2. Get Involved with Military Veteran Groups:

The best way to start networking is finding veteran groups nationally and at the local level. They can help increase your social and professional networks while building similar camaraderie that you experienced in the military. Here are some I recommend: Team Red White and Blue, The Mission Continues, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and Team Rubicon.

3. If You Don't Know Something, Ask:

Unlike the military where asking questions are not highly encouraged, asking questions and admitting you do not know something is encouraged in the civilian world. I cannot tell you how many times that I admitted I didn't know something and it worked highly in my favor. I thought I was going to be left in the dust if I didn't know the answer, but I found it made me connect with people a lot easier because they wanted to help teach and have me learn the answers.

4. Don't Be Afraid to Ask for Help:

Getting help is critical when leaving the military. You have been in a regimented structure for minimum of four years where thinking for yourself was not part of your branch of service. Your basic needs such as food, shelter and social interaction were taken care of, and when leaving the military, these things are no longer provided. Ask your friends, family and other veterans in giving you a lift. Ask what they did to get where they are in life.

5. Be Proactive:

You are the only one that can make things happen for yourself. The more effort you put into yourself after the military, the more you will get back so don't be afraid to put it yourself out there. Start searching, connecting with others and get what you need today!

6. Get a Mentor:

If you are looking for a particular industry or career path to dive into, start looking for a mentor. During my short writing career, I have had a couple mentors who all taught me something and gave me great pieces of advice to help navigate civilian life. Mentors look out for your best interest, especially when it comes to professional development, so look for one that fits your needs and personality.