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How should we focus our time when we're 12+ months away from transition?


Corey Watts Richmond, VA

How should we best prepare as officers and enlisted Soldiers with bachelor degrees to get out? I have received several mixed opinions on the utility of an MBA, PMP, or other general management certifications when we may have little to no experience in the industries we'll be working in after transitioning. If extra education won't make us more competitive for a job, what will?

17 September 2018 5 replies Education & Training



Joe Pierce Jonesboro, AR

I would think that an MBA would be helpful in any field that involves making money I have never once regretted the time I spent getting mine. You have no idea what is going to come up in the future as far as opportunities so be prepared


Philip Lantz Kansas City, MO

There are a lot of offers to help. I am available as well; but here are some thoughts.

1. Identify what is important to you for a post transition position. Read the book "What Color is Your Parachute." It will help you with this.

2. Develop your resume. I generally suggest using a functional resume. The other types have there places, but depending on your positions and accomplishments a chronological resume may be a better choice.

2. NETWORK, NETWORK, and NETWORK some more. The resume is great but wont get you a job (usually) without networking. If you have any intel your networking like an intelligence source network. (contact me for in depth on this )

3. Locate organizations like ACP, to find a mentor.

4. If you are interested in a certification check with for the possibility of obtaining the training and certification for free.

5. Look into Hiring Our Heroes. . It will help jump start your job search, networking, resume writing, etc. I participated and it is an amazing program.

6. Did I mention Networking?

I am always available. I only made the transition earlier this year. I had a head start as my MOS deals with industry routinely. Let me know if you need additional help, support, or have questions.


Philip Lantz
Acting Deputy Director of Global Security
Black and Veatch


Dr. Scena Webb Auburn, WA

Hi Corey,

Your last sentence caught my attention. Networking is going to help you in your search. I am the Director of Firearms and Explosives Industry for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives (ATF) here in Seattle and I get resumes all the time. What often makes the difference is networking. Since you have time before you transition, go out and become a member of professional associations that do the work you want to do. Be active in those associations. Pick one or two.


Tim deCordova Palm Bay, FL

Hello Corey
It is good to see you are being so proactive in preparing now. I understand your concern with regard to education and the various advice you have received. It is hard, on the surface to provide the exact magic sauce without some further assessment.

Begin by assessing several factors. First, what is your degree, where did you attend college and do you plan on entering the field of study once you transition out, or do you want something different? In many cases your institution has strong alumni networking opportunities. Have you identified industries/ companies/locations where you would like to work? Do you have a "dream sheet" of where you want to work or are you looking to generally find a job? There is no wrong answer, but identifying this early will also help. Once you have identified the job/companies/industry you desire you can then begin the networking process. Start engaging with people in the industry. Growing your network will be one of the biggest assets you will acquire. We all know the saying, its not so much what you know, its who you know.

Have you engaged with companies that assist transitioning veterans? Companies like Orion and Bradley Morris can assist in job assessment, resume writing and placement, and its free to the military member. Large companies like mine are part of Hire our Heroes program where they specifically seek out transitioning military members.

You have taken a great first step by joining ACP and asking questions, now its time to assess and find resources that can take you to the next step. I will also add that being in the civilian sector for many years, companies (at least mine) love to hire military members but in most cases they seek veterans to come in and solve immediate needs of the open position, vice your leadership experience to lead a department. That can be value added later. I cant count how many 0-3's and 0-4's we have hired in the last year who have come in and hit the ground running, executing the task at hand. Those folks will grow and thrive at the company and bring to bear their leadership experience as they do so.


Molly Fortunoff New York, NY

Hi Corey,

Thank you for your service and for taking the time to post your professional development question on ACP AdvisorNet. In terms of getting advice on educational opportunities to pursue, I strongly recommend you take a look at AdvisorNet's Community tab. You'd want to reach out to Advisors that have experience with the roles and companies that you might be interested in pursuing. During your conversations you can discuss educational requirements that are needed or preferred for different roles. You can also filter your search by company, expertise, and experience level.

I’d be happy to schedule a quick informational call with you to go over the community page in more detail, so please don’t hesitate to reach out.


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