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What is one thing you regret not putting more effort into during your military transition?

Veteran

Keyes Metcalf Montgomery, AL

What is the most important thing to focus on during transition?

20 November 2019 13 replies Military to Civilian Transition

Answers

Veteran

Christopher Kellar Grove City, OH

Not understanding all my benefits. TAP classes should include wives, they pay more attention and understand what to ask, since they for the most part take care of money matters due to deployments and training.

2 December 2019 Helpful answer

Advisor

Seth Lynch Plano, TX

Something simple but often overlooked.

Research salary and benefits of the job you want and also the job(s) you expect to be offered.

You have probably never negotiated a professional jobs salary before because for the last 21 years, you had a military pay scale.

I didn’t understand how important that was when I transitioned 20 years ago and left quite a bit of money on the table.

Researching salaries (Glassdoor, LinkedIn, etc.) will keep you from going after jobs that aren’t worth your time. Also remember your retirement pay shouldn’t be a factor in what a company is willing to offer you.

Talk to people too including recruiters. They will tell you what the salary range for a lot of jobs are and how to identify lowball offers.

Finally, understand the variable portion of different job roles. The corporate world’s ‘awards and decorations’ are usually cash bonuses. Ask how many times in the last 5 years a cash performance bonus is paid. Are incentives based on your own performance or a larger group’s performance. How much of a signing bonus is available. Are RSUs or stock options a typical year end compensation plan? Read up on what stock options and RSUs are, how they are different, and how they typically vest.

It took me quite a few years to dig out of the salary ignorance hole. Hopefully this helps you start in a much smaller hole in the corporate world.

29 November 2019 Helpful answer

Advisor

John Volpe Seaford, NY

Keyes:

Let me answer your question this way: the most important thing for you to focus on during transition is to remind yourself that you served our country faithfully for the last 21 years and had the opportunity to lead and/or interact with some of the finest men and women on this planet! Be proud of your service and please ensure your resume , interview skills and personal narrative reflect your accomplishments and dedication to service.

Good luck

John

25 November 2019 Helpful answer

Advisor

Jerry Welsh Middleville, MI

Keyes,
The LinkedIn advice was spot on, but first decide what your career is going to be! Civilians do not understand what a Green Beret is why it is so hard to become part of the military elite. Keep in mind in today's market only 0.5% will ever serve, so the chance of someone knowing the positive side of a Green Beret. During TAP workshops I had a number of Seals come up to me, to network as transitioning military not Seals, as all Seals have PTSD, hence all special forces have PTSD. I wished the average recruiter knew all that goes into special forces, they only know what they see on TV or the movies.
Back to the most important thing-pick a career and build your profile around that. Create a master resume, and send resumes that only match the job posting you are applying for. To tell someone you are a project manager, operations manager and senior strategic advisor only confuses them and reduces your chance to be caught in a keyword scan. There is a site jobscan.co yes co not com. You load the job posting in and your resume it will tell you how many key words you matched. The key will be once you decide on your new career you will need to learn the civilian side of that career, specifically the language/speak. That is why hiring someone to write your resume does not work, you will speak different than your resume and probably will not make it past the phone interview. I know how some of this information hits you hard as a road hard O-5, that has been running with life on fire for a long time, but civilians still do not understand the fact the military creates professionals. Your degree in History may cause you concerns as you approach the business sector.
American Corporate Partners has a great mentoring program, sign up for this and it will greatly assist you in this transition. If you want to see a couple of really good profiles, take a look at Mark Broc, PMP and Domonick Stewart, IT. You will see they have focused their experience to their chosen career.
Network the heck out of your personal and private networks. Pull together a civilian elevator pitch and work it, market yourself. Most positions are not posted and 90% of hires come from someone knew someone, who knew someone who recommended you. They will look at your resume and cut you some slack. This is your greatest chance of employment! Do not overlook all of your social network, I know an O-5 who created a civilianized elevator pitch for some of his long time friends at his sons lacrosse team, person heard the pitch and said I quote "I thought you were in the USAF, I did not know you were so deeply involved in international supply chain, my company is looking for someone!" Thank you for your service and I hope you can look at this as positive advice prior to a potential wall of disappointment. God Bless

25 November 2019 Helpful answer

Veteran

John Grieger Cedar Park, TX

My circumstances forced me into retirement much earlier than I wanted and I retired to my hometown of Austin, TX and I thought that my skills and experience would easily transition to the job market. I did not have enough time to research and make myself marketable to obtain the high tech trade that is required here and I have found myself vastly under employed and unemployed. I would research locations where your skills and experience that you already have are needed and in demand.

Advisor

Seth Lynch Plano, TX

Something simple but often overlooked.

Research salary and benefits of the job you want and also the job(s) you expect to be offered.

You have probably never negotiated a professional jobs salary before because for the last 21 years, you had a military pay scale.

I didn’t understand how important that was when I transitioned 20 years ago and left quite a bit of money on the table.

Researching salaries (Glassdoor, LinkedIn, etc.) will keep you from going after jobs that aren’t worth your time. Also remember your retirement pay shouldn’t be a factor in what a company is willing to offer you.

Talk to people too including recruiters. They will tell you what the salary range for a lot of jobs are and how to identify lowball offers.

Finally, understand the variable portion of different job roles. The corporate world’s ‘awards and decorations’ are usually cash bonuses. Ask how many times in the last 5 years a cash performance bonus is paid. Are incentives based on your own performance or a larger group’s performance. How much of a signing bonus is available. Are RSUs or stock options a typical year end compensation plan? Read up on what stock options and RSUs are, how they are different, and how they typically vest.

It took me quite a few years to dig out of the salary ignorance hole. Hopefully this helps you start in a much smaller hole in the corporate world.

Advisor

Brock Renshaw Tampa, FL

put Your accomplishments into your resume.

Grab you OERs and award citations as they have the quantifiable information of how many, how long, what did you fix, how good were you. Not being responsible for stuff but what did you accomplish with that stuff.

If you’d like, email me your resume @ brock.remshaw@citi.com.

I used to work at SOCOM and have helped dozens of former colleagues and friends.

All the best
Brock

Advisor

Brock Renshaw Tampa, FL

put Your accomplishments into your resume.

Grab you OERs and award citations as they have the quantifiable information of how many, how long, what did you fix, how good were you. Not being responsible for stuff but what did you accomplish with that stuff.

If you’d like, email me your resume @ brock.remshaw@citi.com.

I used to work at SOCOM and have helped dozens of former colleagues and friends.

All the best
Brock

Advisor

Brock Renshaw Tampa, FL

put Your accomplishments into your resume.

Grab you OERs and award citations as they have the quantifiable information of how many, how long, what did you fix, how good were you. Not being responsible for stuff but what did you accomplish with that stuff.

If you’d like, email me your resume @ brock.remshaw@citi.com.

I used to work at SOCOM and have helped dozens of former colleagues and friends.

All the best
Brock

Advisor

Brock Renshaw Tampa, FL

put Your accomplishments into your resume.

Grab you OERs and award citations as they have the quantifiable information of how many, how long, what did you fix, how good were you. Not being responsible for stuff but what did you accomplish with that stuff.

If you’d like, email me your resume @ brock.remshaw@citi.com.

I used to work at SOCOM and have helped dozens of former colleagues and friends.

All the best
Brock

Advisor

Emanuel Carpenter Alpharetta, GA

Hi Keyes - My military transition was in 1995. Lots have changed since then. We had AOL and did not have smartphones back then. Here is what I advise:

1. Understand that if you had any type of injury (physical or mental) during your time in the military, you can file a claim with the VA for benefits. It did NOT have to occur at work. Military personnel are officially on duty 24-7. Got hurt playing soccer? File a claim. Divorce affecting your mental state? File a claim.

2. Hire an expert to translate your military experience into civilian experience for your resume.

3. Start connecting today on LinkedIn with people who could potentially be hiring managers for your next career.

4. Send your resume to every friend, family member, and ex-co-worker you know and trust. Companies love it when they get personal referrals.

5. Truly understand how to use your G.I. Bill benefits for education and for purchasing a home before you leave the military.

6. Start exploring organizations that help veterans in any way.

Best of luck.

Advisor

Jeff Westling Virginia Beach, VA

Taking the military retirement physical examination process seriously to have the paperwork completed by the military PCM for submission with the VA claim at the 6 month mark prior to retirement. Find a good military service organization to get the appointment to review your retirement physical and entire medical package between 4.5 to 6 month mark prior to retirement so your VA claim can receive priority under the Benefits Delivery at Discharge (BDD) program. The goal is to have your claim approved for benefits within 90 days of separation from service. If you package is received anytime within the 90 days before separation, your claim will be reviewed as part of the standard process. When I retired in July 2018, I didn't start receiving my benefit until Dec 2018 and the backpay wasn't addressed until April 2019. Get it done early so you get the priority in processing that active duty members deserve. Info on the VA's BDD process: https://www.va.gov/disability/how-to-file-claim/when-to-file/pre-discharge-claim/

Advisor

John Faber Arlington, VA

Hi Keyes,

For me, it was not keeping in contact with former classmates while I was in the military. I also missed an opportunity to reach out to all my former classmates who worked at the company I was interviewing with. Even though I got the job, I missed an opportunity to connect and rekindle old friendships.

To answer your second question, the most important thing to focus on is yourself. What do you want to do? Once you get an idea, it's never too early to reach out to your former classmates and veterans who have made a successful transition to let them know that you are transitioning around this timeframe and this is what you want to do.

Hope this helps!
John

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