After two years of preparing for my military transition, which is not complete, I have discovered several important facts:
1. As a service member with no experience in the civilian sector, prepare to eat the whole Pie of Humility
2. Do not assume that what you have done in the military, nor the education you have obtained entitles you, or translates into a corporate-level management position.
3. Psychologically, prepare yourself to start from the beginning, even if this is not the case.
4. Employers understand and want to assist you with your transition. However, they have also studied, analyzed, and evaluated statistics on transitioning service member retention. There are several key drivers of transition which make it difficult for a company to gauge your employment stability. The point being, we tend to change jobs two to three times before landing in a long-term employments.
5. You're more valuable to civilian employers when you have at least one year of civilian employment.
6. Take time to understand the business and the potential value gained by an organization upon your employment, and be careful not to over quantify that value to inflate your salary expectation.
7. Ask the question, where do I see myself in five years. Do not consider salary, instead, look at the situation using factors such as location, family conditions, work-life balance, work environment, organizational culture, and professional development.
What am I missing here?
Many firms are actively seeking to hire veterans. I've worked with quite a few veterans on their resumes. No good employer would want anyone to have to eat humble pie. But resumes understood by the private sector are dramatically different from resumes that are successful in the military.
Leadership is a very important skill, but other expertise is important, too. If you want to supervise/manage/lead knowledge workers, for example, you need to be able to coach and guide them relative to their field of work. I'm guessing that's the same in the military. Since I've not been in the military, I could be wrong about that. For my own knowledge, so I can better help transitioning veterans, would someone whose military expertise relates to infantry tactics, equipment, scale, etc., be moved into a same-level role in an airborne command--where, I assume, the tactics, equipment, scale, etc., are very different?
I'm not sharing that thought to discourage you; my thought is to help you think about the experience and expertise you have from your extensive experience, and see which skills translate very well into requirements or preferences in a job posting you're pursuing. One of the others that responded volunteered to help you with your resume; it sounds like he has a lot to offer re this.
Believe in yourself, your ability to do and finish a job; your commitment to honesty and integrity.
Check with USAA in San Antonio. They hire lots of Vets who are honest, willing to work and able to cooperate with fellow employees, and team members.
Francis J. Tepedino, Esq.
San Diego, CA.
You raise some remarkable and critical points for transitioning Troops to consider when planning your transition. Obtaining a Corporate position is however, more than possible.
I believe that the biggest hurdle for transitioning service members is perspective. The civilian world does not (for the most part) have the same sense of urgency, initiative, and directness that the military does. I personally believe that Warrant and Commissioned Officers fare better than enlisted, in that their pre-qualifications and occupation is rooted in a civilian equivalency e.g. "Military Police Officers (law enforcement leadership training, undergrad degree, and X years of practical experience in an occupation that translates well to intel, law enforcement, and public relations etc..."
I believe that the enlisted side of the house is where the majority of the transition struggle is. I benefited from being a recruiter in the middle of my career. I partnered with civilian organizations; colleges (undergrad, grad, doctoral, and fellowships), hospitals, Certification Centers, Radio, athletic clothing, and even Energy Drink companies while I was a recruiter.
Many of these organizations had an IDEA of what Enlisted do as their interpretation is largely from a relative, friend, or hollywood. I decided at 14 years in to retool everything in the Army towards being a civilian, e.g. obtaining certifications, dropping lingo, benchmarking my resume to civilian fields, and even going on job interviews a good two years out.
What I learned from all of that is that we as Troops (enlisted) are over qualified for many leadership positions and that when we do not get picked in interviews it is from one of the following:
2. resume undersells and is not specific
3. rigid interviews (didn't practice enough mocks)
4. lack of research into translating military into civilian skills
5. lack of civilian side of industry knowledge
6. inequitable industry experience
7. no network built
8. bad references
9. life perspectives inequitable
The last one no.# 9 is in my opinion the biggest hurdle. Most civilians settle in an area and stay, they don't move, they establish a network, and are vociferously defensive of anything or person that has different experiences... and this is an area few vets or civies discuss... the service bias in that we come from a social ecosystem that is the antithesis to what they have lived for the past xmany years. A great way to build an olive branch and communicate with them as professionals is ironically to build a bridge of "normal" by including "personal interest" section to a resume, linkedin, etc... In cover letters speak about yourself and the intrisic motivations that make you want to work for a civie organization, and work on being a "civilian communicator" get rid of Jargon!", I got rid of mine and veteran employees still found me out "we can smell each other, I swear".
We are just as qualified and capable of doing the jobs that are out there, we just have to remember to reintegrate into being the people that have their democracy protected, instead of the protector... and that, is a completely different life borne from the same citizenry
My reaction to your list is as follows. Don't make assumptions as every situation is unique. The key factor when interviewing is always take responsibility for the results good or bad. If bad what are you doing to improve the results as no one gets it right all the time. Never blame results on someone else or factors that are not under your control. I have personally hired over 200 people into executive, management, sales and technical positions. In addition I have trained over 20 people on how to become a "Killer Interviewer" . One Annapolis appointment, one veteran transitioning, many grad school applicants and people interviewing for a promotion or new position. Taking responsibility is always one of the key factors.
There are several studies showing that employers like to hire former military people. They are disciplined, know how to follow directions, and they have a "sense of urgency" unknown in the typical civilian employee.
Retired people have a high turnover rate because they are mismatched for the position. That situation usually occurs when the resume is not targeted to the position, and the employer is hoping the candidate will meet the position requirements.
I have a proven process for transforming your current resume into a Top 1% Resume. Historically, people who diligently followed the process received calls to set up an interview within 24-72 hours after submitting their application and resume. The process includes an example resume of BEFORE and AFTER for a former officer who submitted his BEFORE resume over several months with no responses. He acquired a Corporate-level position in a Fortune 500 company 1 week after he submitted his application and AFTER resume. Same person, same skills, a better marketing approach. firstname.lastname@example.org
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