Former Marine Sgt. Brian Valhuerdi, a recipient of CivilianJobs.com’s Top 40 Under 40 Military achievers in 2011, successfully transitioned to a civilian career as project manager for Flowserve Corp. (Hanover, PA), an industry leader in industrial pumps and motors. We sat down for a Q&A on how he did it:
How far out did you begin working on your transition?
It was spur-of-the-moment, three months shy of my end of service. At first I was skeptical, but I worked with Bradley-Morris, Inc. (BMI), a military-to-civilian recruiter, and they took the burden off my shoulders.
Did you have a particular location in mind?
I had a region in mind, and believe it or not, I didn’t take a position in the area where I was looking. There was a BMI military hiring event in Virginia Beach. After listening to a presentation, I saw the benefits of establishing a career versus a job.
How did you find your recruiter?
Through a TAP (Transition Assistance Program) class on preparing military personnel for civilian life.
Do you have a family?
If so, how did that affect your transition? I do have wife and two kids. It had caused me to make sure I had a solid foundation on exiting. I didn’t want a regular job with no background in what I was doing.
Do you have any good resources for military transitioning out?
I did use web sites, but nothing that gave me any solid leads - nothing solidified. I think being in the military, you make your connections, a lot that are military-related. Bradley-Morris also established networking with the companies. They took the edge off for me.
Was there anything you learned that you would pass on?
Two things - the first thing is to begin your job search as soon as possible, anything from six months or better (to your release). The other is to pursue a degree while in the military. There were times I did classes while deployed on a carrier and while in Japan.