- The Essential Military-to-Civilian Transition Resource

Military Spouse Series: 7 ways to re-energize a stalled military to civilian job search
by Janet Farley, Contributing Editor

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Article Sponsored by: Wil-Trans

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The process of finding a job is not only a job itself, but it can be a lengthy task at best. Generally speaking, the average search takes about eight months. During that time, obstacles, real or imagined, can suck the wind out of our proverbial sails. We’re sometimes left deflated, wondering what we’re doing wrong and why we can’t seem to get hired.

military to civilian job search

When that happens, it’s easy to become discouraged and give up. Or worse, we continue doing what we’ve been doing in the past without success.

Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. He had a valid point.

Stop the military to civilian job search insanity. Instead, as this issue is all about the energy industry, I’d like to offer these techniques to re-energize stalled efforts.

1. Go back to the drawing board. Assess your current strategy and tweak it one degree on either side of the unemployment line. For example, assume you interviewed for a particular job already. You thought the meeting went well, but you haven’t heard anything yet and it has been a couple weeks. Instead of waiting around as a strategy, follow up. Contact the employer. Find out if a decision has been made. If you were not selected for the job, find out why, if possible. Get constructive feedback so you can avoid making the same mistake, if one was made, in the future.

2. Network meaningfully. Schedule a meeting or lunch date with your mentor and ask for pointed advice and referrals. If you don’t have a mentor, consider getting one. Of course, you could also reach out to someone who may not be a mentor per se, but who may still be able to guide you in a better direction. In the end, it comes down to good, old-fashioned networking.

3. Brutally revise your resume. If potential employers aren’t showing an interest in your resume by scheduling you for interviews, then you need to make it more interesting. You certainly can’t flaunt what you don’t have, but you shouldn’t undersell what you do have. Understand the difference and revise your resume in a way that communicates your skills in a job relevant way.

4. Think outside your industry. Are you guilty of stereotyping yourself? Do you assume that your next job has to be in the defense industry just because that is where you’ve been the last few years, in uniform or married to it? Step back and ask yourself a couple questions. Answer them objectively. What do you do professionally? What industries or kinds of companies employ those skills? For example, teachers not only work in a classroom but they work as corporate trainers, consultants, tutors, school administrators, university instructors and curriculum designers. Don’t limit yourself unnecessarily. Enough people out there are already doing that for you.

5. Commit to learning a new skill. Upgrade your marketability by acquiring a new and industry-desired skill set. Visit the education center, a local community college or university or go online for ideas. You’ll only make Tip #3 that much easier on yourself.

6. Quiet your mind. Your military to civilian job search and accompanying life transition may be consuming you mentally, emotionally and physically. It’s understandable. Give yourself a break, however. Breathe. Meditate. Take a run or a hike, or just spend some time outside to recharge. Play a round a golf or spend the afternoon at a day spa. It’s good to strive for life balance even in the midst of life change.

7. Appreciate the status quo for what it is. When we’re in the process of changing jobs and lives, it’s easy to get wound up. In addition to quieting your mind, take a moment to appreciate what you do have instead of what you’re lacking at the moment. For example, you may not have a new job yet, but you do have the marketable skills necessary to get one.

Rest assured, this unemployed moment won’t last forever even if it seems sometimes as if it will. Perspective can be calming. A calm mind thinks more clearly.

Janet Farley is the author of "The Military Spouse’s Guide to Employment: Smart Jobs for Mobile Lifestyles” (Impact Publications, 2012) and “Quick Military Transition Guide: Seven Steps to Landing a Civilian Job” (Jist Publishing, Inc., 2012). Follow her on Twitter @mil2civguide and @smartjobchoices for tips, news and inspiration.


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