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What is the best time frame to apply for jobs when transitioning from the military?


Neal Dacaymat Honolulu, HI

I believe i am setting myself up quite well for the transition from military to civilian. I would like to know what the ideal time frame for applying for jobs would be. From my understanding, the best time frame is usually 2-3 months out. Is there other recommendations?

A little more background to assist advisors. I am looking to work in the airline or hotel industry. I do not plan on doing an entry level job. I would like to hopefully land a job as a mid level manager, but will settle for an entry level management position. I will have 10 years service completed as a culinary specialist before transition, and will have a completed bachelor's in hospitality management, or will be very near completion (at most 7 classes, if I am unable to clep the classes). I am trying to get an understanding of the right time frame, so I can plan successfully. I do understand that things don't always flow smoothly, and will make adjustments as required.

Thank you for the assistance in advance! Looking forward to the great advice.


22 April 2019 5 replies Military to Civilian Transition



Jodie Prieto-Rodriguez Pittsburgh, PA

Good Morning Neal:

You have some options in your transition. 2-3 months is a good window to start applying for jobs in your chosen industry. I would start developing a plan for applying. Do research on the mission, vision, values statement for each of the agencies you are planning to apply for. Getting to know the agency may help you get a leg up on how they accomplish the mission, what their values are, and if they would be a good fit for you as a person.

I started doing applications and researching about a year out from my retirement date. In hindsight a year was a bit excessive; however, it allowed me a safe opportunity to practice applying for a job, while I had a job and allowed me to learn from the many mistakes I made in those early interviews. About 7 months out from my retirement I swear I found my dream job, until I started to get to know how the organization ran from the perspective of the front line staff; I then realized it wouldn't be a good fit.

Read up on companies on glass door, facebook, twitter, and the BBB, get an idea of what their Strengths, weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats to success are (SWOT analysis). I find the more you know about an organization, the more interested the employers are in you. If you are attempting to be hotel manager, if not regional manager of many hotels; it would be wise to schedule a meeting with some managers and get an idea of what their daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly obligations are; if they work direct for the hotel or manage the operations through an LLC; what their SWOT is; what they like/dislike; who they partner with; and any other miscellaneous considerations that you may have. Meeting with them may also get you into their network and open up more opportunities.

I would start researching and networking as soon as possible and ask if you could intern for them through the military internship programs, or on the weekends if possible.

23 April 2019 Helpful answer


Amit Chaudhary Cupertino, CA

During a boom, like currently

2 May 2019 Helpful answer


Drew Schildwächter Wilmington, NC

Neal, I have advice similar to Jodie's. Use as much time as you are able to prepare yourself through refining your value proposition, researching companies and roles, and networking - but begin to apply probably 3-4 months from your separation date.

You might go on LinkedIn and look for Navy vets (or other submariners maybe) at your target companies and/or in your target roles and reach out to hear their stories. This might help you refine where you want to eventually apply and help you understand the best ways in which to do so. (Hospitality may have its own timelines of which we're all unaware.)

Good luck!

26 April 2019 Helpful answer


Jerry Welsh Middleville, MI

You have some good answers. 1) anything past 4 months will be tough-usually an opening especially in your field will mean an opening and that means added work by other managers-typically 30-60 days will be a better fit. You may find places asking you if you could start tomorrow or within a week-frustrating for you and hiring manager if you are 90 days out. During the 5 years I did TAP training I found that 30-60 day window seemed to be a better fit. Keep in mind the industry-do some research on turnover stats, Bureau of Labor Statistics has tons of data, so might the an industry trade association. The more you know about the industry will not hurt. Depending upon what level you enter at, turnover maybe high. Average turnover for employees under 30 years old is < 3 years in general.
Jodie gave you great advice, 50% of veterans leave their first job within 18 months due to a lot of the things he mentions. Be sure and sell your tenure of 10 years-under not the best conditions. NEVER bash a former employer, but it is easy to outline what is required in the military with deployments etc., many civilians have no clue. Thanks for your service and God Bless.


Neal Dacaymat Honolulu, HI

Thank you for your thorough answer Jodie!

Edit: I would like to thank everyone for there assistance with my question. All information is helpful.

The information you provided is fantastic. You brought to my attention some things I havent thought about and I will take the time to learn them.


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