The transition from a military career to a civilian career can be scary and the reality is: it’s terrifying! To say it’s easy or a piece of cake is not being honest; so the answer is not to convince yourself there are no obstacles. Rather, I would like to offer a solution, and that is: manage the terrifying experience of leaving a guaranteed 1st and 15th paycheck slash 90% PT – to a not so sure civilian sector. Another aspect to think about is: in the military, you become accustom to performing various jobs, which may not be directly related to future opportunities.
How do I manage the terrifying experience? The answer is to prepare, dive in, and perform an after-action-review.
Prepare: develop a list of accomplishments, duties, and achievements you’ve experienced throughout your career, complete a master copy resume that can be tailored, review Q&As to interviews for reference, and research veteran friendly organizations. Some companies are required to have a certain percentage of veteran employees. Take CACI for example – 30% of CACI’s workforce are veterans.
Dive In: perform broad job searches to maximize available positions. Instead of completing the job search tabs by selecting – a location, job field, etc. Simply put the location so all the jobs in that particular area populate. Maintain detailed records of positions applied for, so you don’t double down, and for you to follow-up with thank you letters/updates.
After-action-review: look back on what job search activities worked, what questions are being asked during interviews, recall the company culture during your appearance, and re-read your resume to identify areas that can be presented stronger.
Although it’s ideal to perform a job that interest you, don’t be bias to other opportunities; it may lead to your dream job! Identify key accomplishments, experience, and training that will transition into skills related to the available position. Continuously review your resume and retarget as necessary; most positions within different industries look for various skills. Ultimately, the successful military to civilian transition depends on the amount of effort you place on your job search actions. Set big goals!
*NOTE* – take the time and effort to speak with your NCOER rater, OER rater, or Counsel Statement writer about developing “real” bullet statements. More than often, I recognize the exact same information on yearly/monthly performance evaluations, over a span of 3 years; there’s no way that should happen. Encourage the writers to create solid information that can transition into a resume.