10 Critical Transitioning Do’s And Don’ts.
Whether you planned for it or not, you are getting out of the military. Maybe you have even already walked through that door.
Welcome to life on the civilian side—where showing your ID card means flipping out your driver’s license, and the only camouflage anyone else has ever seen is on Duck Dynasty.
Your new mission in this surreal existence?
Survive the military-to-civilian career transition. Land a great job—or at least a decent one. The following do’s and don’ts will help you.
Tip #1: Do commit to a military transition program.
Whether your branch of service knows it as TAP, TAMP or ACAP … just go to those transition assistance classes! Be open to learning something new. You have to go anyway, so you might as well try to get something useful out of it. Chances are that you only think you know everything there is to know about your potential benefits and how to conduct a job search. You don’t.
Tip #2: Do take your spouse with you to the classes.
Two heads are better than one, particularly when your head is already crowded with multiple transition to-do lists. Invite, nay, beg your spouse on bended knees, to suffer through the transition classes with you. You’ll both be glad you did in the end.
Tip #3: Don’t procrastinate starting the transition planning process.
Starting the process begins with accepting its inevitability. Denial may be a comforting concept in the short term, but in the long term, it hurts you. You are getting out. Accept it. You have a life to plan. If you wait until the last possible moment to start
thinking about it, you will risk limiting your options.
Tip #4: Do create a basic résumé you can later target to specific job openings.
If you are contemplating federal employment, you’ll need a “federal” résumé. If you are targeting jobs in private industry, you’ll want to craft a “civilian” résumé. Don’t think for a minute that one resembles the other. The transition program counselor or the employment-readiness program manager at the family service center will help you figure it all out.
Tip #5: Do learn the civilian language of your chosen industry.
You say, “reconnaissance”; civilians say, “analysis.” You say, “subordinates”; civilians say, “employees.” You get the idea.
Start to acquaint yourself with the language of your chosen civilian industry so you’ll fit in better. Join industry-focused groups on LinkedIn and learn from the discussions. Review job ads for civilian jobs that incorporate their terms. Find a mentor in your chosen career field who will enlighten you.
Tip #6: Don’t misunderstand the concept of networking.
If you think that leveraging your professional relationships is tantamount to using people for your own greedy purposes, stop. You don’t understand the true concept behind networking. Networking is a good thing. You take. You give. You grow. Repeat that mantra until you truly accept it. It’s not something you just do when you’re looking for a job, either. It’s a professional skill you develop and use throughout your entire career, in or out of uniform.
Tip #7: Do invest in civilian business attire.
The shiny, black shoes issued by Uncle Sam don’t count.
Consider the industry you’re targeting and organize your post-uniform wardrobe appropriately. Watch and learn from other civilians in the workplace.
Tip #8: Don’t put all your hopes on one employer or one specific job.
You may have your heart set on one particular employer and on one particular job. That’s fine; however, don’t limit your job search
activities because you are waiting on that opportunity to pan out. You never know when a “sure thing” will crash and burn.
Tip #9: Do focus yourself.
At the very least, know what you want to do next, where you are willing to do it, and how much salary you will need to earn.
Tip #10: Don’t settle.
You might be stressed about finding a civilian job—and that’s perfectly understandable.Nevertheless, don’t settle for the first job that comes your way just because it is offered. Think through the process before you’re forced into making a hasty decision. You may not land the perfect job right out of the gate, but at least make it a job you can be content with professionally until a better one comes along.
Maximize your use of the many no-cost veteran and career resources, which include career consulting to résumé-writing to job placements. These resources are there to help empower you to succeed in your transition from military service to civilian worker.
About the Author
Janet Farley is the author of Quick Military Transition Guide: Seven Steps to Landing a Civilian Job (Jist Works, Inc., 2013).
Source: Quintessential Careers