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Transitioning from the military--where to begin?


Marc Bernath Burke, VA

I am a year out from transitioning and have a version of my resume completed. My background is as a project manager, program manager, director, and department head in the facility management, operations, construction and acquisition fields. Does this group offer personal networking and mentoring opportunities in the Northern Virginia Area?

6 June 2019 7 replies Mentoring



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

Where to begin, you ask. Well, the too short answer is with the basics; i.e., what are you good at? What do you like doing? And, most importantly, just what are your TALENTS?

Fundamentally, people will do what you want them to do when what they do is what they want to do. What do YOU want to do? Point being, step back and plot a course consistent with your TALENTS. Here's a free resource to get you started:

Now, speaking to your facility management experience . . . . make an appointment for an informational interview with your local hospital's Chief Engineer / Facility Manager. Make friends. Pick brains. Identify and socialize with the professional association of facility managers. Expose yourself to others in the filed. Get known. Your civilian job will come from who you know.

If you need help in its interpretation, feel free to contact me off channel at

8 June 2019 Helpful answer


Terry Boyd Springfield, VA

Hi Marc

Good news - you are starting early.

ACP is an extremely valuable resource and I would recommend you consider it as you begin your transition process. They can assign you a mentor that can give you ideas as you walk through the process. I think you will find this well worth your time

Another recommendation is to take stock of your personal network and begin to reach out to those you know who have transitioned themselves. I am sure you have a deep network and a tremendous number of resources right at your fingertips- they would be happy to give you advice and recommendations.

A key part of your transition will be determining what you want to do. You have many options based on your experience and you have options that would include government positions, government focused industry positions (e.g contrators), or commercial positions. You may also have a desire to do something completely different. Find a local group that is active in that area and start building connections and relationships. One recommendation might be Corporate Gray.

A final recommendation is to venture out and experience the military friendly job fairs in the Northern Virginia area. There are plenty - Corporate Gray is a good place to start. MOJO is another. When I transitioned out of the Army 9 years ago, I went to a job fair about 8 months before my retirement. I knew I was not in the window for jobs, but wanted to gain an understanding of the process and experience. I asked questions of the recruiters about the process and I learned a ton through that experience that helped me refine my job search and understand the skills and experiences that were attractive to employers.

7 June 2019 Helpful answer


Andrea Gnilka Springfield, VA

Hi Marc,

Absolutely! I am in Federal consulting with Deloitte, and we have several opportunities in the NOVA area. Let me know if you'd like to know more!



7 June 2019 Helpful answer


Chris Barrett New York, NY

Hi Marc,

There is a great way to network on this site by using the 'Community' tab. On that page you can search by area code while also filtering for job field and experience level. The search will bring up advisors in that area and you will be able to reach out to them directly. Please let me know if you have any questions regarding that page and I'll be happy to answer them or walk you through any functionality.


6 June 2019 Helpful answer



You did not mention your education. Major issue!

You seem to have a wide and varied background.

What do you want to do? Where do you want to work? Large companies, small companies, public sector, defense contractor? East Coast West Coast, Middle America?

Sit back and try to focus before asking for mentor help otherwise you might be led on the wrong track.


Kevin Hicks Freehold, NY

Welcome to retired life! Take full advantage of the Navy’s transition programs. The Army established the Soldier For Life program, which helps educate Soldiers about transition. The Navy as a similar program. All services usually welcome servicemembers from the sister services on a space available basis: I took many classes at Henderson Hall offered by the Marines. Many of those courses (above and beyond the “required” week w/ the VA) offer advice about networking, specifying your resume for specific job requirements, how to apply for federal jobs and how to leverage all of your military education and experience into civilian opportunities. Good luck!


Jerry Welsh Middleville, MI

Your beginning early enough! Next is what do you want to do? In your short introduction you listed:project manager, program manager, director, and department head in the facility management, operations, construction and acquisition fields. Within the next year you will need to narrow that down, i.e. project management in construction is a pretty wide career, but all of the others are full fledged careers/positions on their own. When you list your TAG line when you are ready to hit the job market, it needs to be PE specializing in operations management at budgets exceeding $x,xxx,xxx,xxx.00 Something that catches and or matches what companies are hiring. If you list everything, your search will be cast aside, as it is too broad. Personal networking that big TAG line may work, but LinkedIn is not personal networking it is IT mass networking. Please take a peak at my profile. If you Google Jerry Welsh veteran, I show up #1. You will need to scroll to the second page in my profile to find what I did for 31 years. I should not have my profile set up that way, but I use it to show how the system works-I receive an average of 150 reviews a week, none for the GPO industry.
You have the PE, with a lot of experience. Look at what you really liked doing, what was the station and position you enjoyed the most-why not see if that is a viable career for the rest of your life! If it is, then start creating your profile around that career, study position openings on Indeed, learn the civilian language, and make sure you list some value-keep in mind dates are irrelevant if you improved a process or saved money with people-that is a timeless skill as long as you have a situation and a result with #$%. Your resume should be tailored to the position, build a master resume you will pull a tailored resume from, do not have "a" resume. Use "A" great LI profile to obtain requests, then build the resume to match the position, and if you get the interview-match your interview to the division-research the hec out of the company or people you work with and be up front about how you are a value and will be quick out of the gate.
Too many career military want to show all of the things you are capable of doing, if the company sees no value in some of that why tell them-you lost them when you moved away from the value you bring to the position they are hiring for. Sounds cruel, but how does a retired old duffer like me, make #1 in a Google search-I limit my value/position description. ACP has great mentors-get hooked up. Also is great at resume and interview help. Thanks for your service and God Bless.

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