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What's the best way to meet people in your career field outside the military?


SHAMADAVID GrierJohnson Augusta, GA

I've finally come to the conclusion that it is who not entirely what you know that makes working success and ensures you can find a job. The army is good but at my rank and time in service many people are committed to retiring and have chose to focus on fitting into the military. How does one get to know and mingle with civilians in your career field?

5 June 2019 9 replies Networking



Richard Beavers Nashua, NH

Hi Shamadavid,

I appreciate your service.

From the perspective of a senior hiring manager at a major defense contractor, I look for people whose skills match my position requirements. What career field do you want to enter?

You may need to research options, and reach out to people in the industry just to understand various jobs and learn what skills it takes to succeed in them. You may make some good connections just talking to HR people or recruiters at various companies.

Some companies have job fairs, where you can talk to people who work there. Lots of colleges host them.

As you go about your everyday routine, just talk to people. I met my best employee at a church small group, where I discovered he used to work for a competitor and had lots of skills I needed. The more you get out there, the greater your chances of connecting with the right person at the right time.

Once you find a position you want to apply for, do more research, and write a high-quality cover letter that connects your experience and skills to those described in the job posting. Make it concise, and help the hiring manager see how your experience applies. It amazes me how few cover letters I receive and even fewer which do that simple thing. If you do that, it will help you stand out from the pack, and hopefully get you that interview

I wish you well!

Rick Beavers


Mary Gonda Falls Church, VA

Good Morning SHAMADAVID, Thank you for your service. As a retired AF Master Sergeant with 21 years of active duty military service, I will share some tips, having been in your place some years ago. No matter where you are in your career, military or civilian, look to future like you are doing now. Network with civilian counterparts and join LinkedIn. Find a civilian counterpart professional organization and become a member. Find a local chapter, attend meetings and meet other civilian members. For example, if you work at the Military Personnel Flight Office, join the Society for Human Resources Management and join a local SHRM Chapter. Also, find a senior NCO that you trust to serve as your mentor. While some of the military personnel you know are planning to retire soon, their experiences can help you shape your future in the Air Force. Here is what you need to do now and in the future while you are still on active duty to further your military career - Get your Community College of the Air Force degree in your AFSC (if you don't already have it). When it is time to be considered for promotion to Senior and Chief Master Sergeant, this will be important. Also, once you are promoted to Master Sergeant, do your best to attend the Senior NCO Academy in residence. Best of Luck to you!


Joe Pierce Jonesboro, AR

Thanks for your service
I like linkedin if you are not already on It is a web program that helps you connect ot other people in industry


Henry ("Dr. Hank") Stevens Fort Lauderdale, FL

I particularly like Deborah Carter's ideas above - spot on! Now to you:

Two thoughts . . . . FIRST: if you were to academically sharpen your skills in your field, you will be rubbing shoulders with up and coming movers and shakers. Thus, take courses.

SECOND: I am a BIG fan of both understanding and embracing TALENTS. Just what have you done about that? What are you good at and enjoy doing? Here is a link to a free (and quite good) talent assessment instrument:

Let me know if you need some guidance (also free) interpreting the results - off this channel, if you like, at


Kent Watson Monticello, FL

Thank you for your service to a grateful Nation. Many professional organizations, trade organizations, fraternities, and networking opportunities will put you to find good dialogue. Look under US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics to get baselines for education, experience and career expectations. For example, my career track had been law enforcement. Under the International Association of Chiefs of Police, we have 45,000 brothers and sisters scattered across the USA and overseas. Training conferences also give you an opportunity to exchange business cards. Once you share your career track then I can give you so ideas? Your location in Augusta, Georgia is near US Army Cyber Command. Chief Warrant Officer Four Kent T. Watson, served over 34 years and 7 months (Now Fraud Prevention Inspection with a five state area)


Matrone plight Junction City, KS

from my experience, it's having a simple conversation with someone that will take you a long way. to break it down. just talk to someone you know and ask questions about their self and bring up your career goals and I bet they know someone that has experience and can connect you to that person or join a group that interest you and they may have worked in the field you are trying to get into.


Deborah Carter Owens Cross Roads, AL

Hi Shamadavid,

If your career field has a civilian equivalent, you may want to research civilian professional organizations that provide standards and certifications in that area of expertise. For instance, when I served, I worked in IT and project management and so I joined my local chapters of The International Information System Security Certification Consortium, or (ISC)², and PMI, the Project Management Institute. These chapters have meetings where you can meet others in your specialty area and oftentimes they actually start or end meetings with a call for job openings and job seekers.

Good luck!


David Andersen Alexandria, VA

Hi Shamadavid,
Andy is spot on. In addition, you should consider creating a LinkedIn profile, and then begin searching for people in you area in CS that you could connect with. Try to get some informational interviews. Focus on the fact that you are in the military and considering transition, but would like to find out what the CS world is like on the outside. Particularly look for former service members in the field. You will find they will be quite helpful. There are also over 1000 CS groups on LinkedIn.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me.


Andrew Klarman New York, NY

Hi Shamadavid,

Thank you for using ACP AdvisorNet! First, I encourage you to try using the Community tab at the top of the page here on AdvisorNet to search for advisors and fellow veterans in your area. You can search for people by zip code, and reach out to them by sending a private message.

I'd also recommend you check out Toastmasters International, a world leader in communication and leadership development. Members improve their speaking and leadership skills by attending one of the clubs across the country.

Finally, you should try Meeting with groups of people who share your interests is a great way to gain networking contacts. has groups focused on professional development, as well as various hobby groups!

I hope those are somewhat helpful!


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