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How far in advance should I apply for a job?


Jessica Papapietro Tampa, FL

I am looking to move in the next year and change, how soon should I start applying for jobs in that area?

21 February 2020 4 replies Military to Civilian Transition



Keith Van Sickle Menlo Park, CA

I'll echo Jeff Martin's advice and add one more piece. I suggest you try to organize "informational interviews" with people inside target companies, specifically those in positions you aspire to--both now and in the future.

An informational interview is where you interview the other person, asking them what their job is like, what they like and don't like about it, what their career path was to get them there, what advice they would give you as you pursue a job in that field/company, etc. Most people love to talk about themselves and are happy to help a vet, especially when you aren't asking them to really do anything on your behalf.

The nice thing about informational interviews is that they not only help you learn about jobs/industries/companies, but they also help you build a network that you can reach out to when you are ready to actually apply for jobs. Good luck!

21 February 2020 Helpful answer


Derell Nathaniel Arlington, VA

Hi Jessica,

There are a lot of factors involved with creating a timeline for applying for jobs after leaving the service. Many companies are looking for immediate needs so I would say 30-60 days would be ideal unless a security clearance is required for a position. Once you post your resume to some of the job sites you may get responses from recruiters who will be able to provide more insight on that topic. When I retired from the Army I started 60 days out and that worked for me, but I didn't have to relocate to a new area which could cause additional challenges. I hope this helps.

Feel free to message me if you have additional questions


Ed Haugh Westminster, MD

I agree with the other posts here. I would add, talk with friends and family about what you are planning on doing, where you are planning on going, and don't be afraid to let them talk about it with their friends. When I was retiring, I started doing job fairs locally (I was stationed in Korea at the time). I sent out dozens of resumes and applied to to many companies to count. And want to know what worked. My wife was attending a wedding and in talking with her sister at the reception, a family friend overheard and new my background. Also my brother-in-law had friends in the area I was planning to retire in. I ended up taking the job my wife basically got for me at the wedding, and the other job my brother-in-law was working for me also panned out. Don't be afraid to broaden you network. Family and friends are great.


Jeff Martin Ashburn, VA

Your question is hard to respond to without additional details about the type of work that you do and the type of company or industry you are looking to work in and the job market conditions for the city you are moving to. I would suggest that you start researching the job market for the city you are moving to in order to better understand what companies are there and what the job market looks like. While most companies try to fill open roles in 2-3 months there is often a good deal of networking that can be done well in advance of actually applying and interviewing for an open job. You can learn about specific companies and then target your resume to be more attractive to their hiring needs. You might try to network with current employees at the target companies through LinkedIn or something like that in order to learn more about the company and maybe even get a current employee to submit you as a referral for an open job when the time is right for that. Hope this helps and good luck!

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