- The Essential Military-to-Civilian Transition Resource

10 Transition Tricks of the Trade (cont.)
by Tom Wolfe, Career Coach and Contributing Editor

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6. Filters. Filters are such a part of our everyday lives that we hardly notice them. The oil filter in your car, the air filter in your home, the caller ID on your phone and the parental control on the remote control, to name a few. Filters do two things in every system: increase the quality and decrease the quantity of what passes through. Think of your job search as a system with filters – those inserted by you and those utilized by the employers. Companies use them to eliminate candidates who lack the requisite credentials or have mismatched expectations. You have no need to interview for a job that does not fit your decision criteria. Both parties use filters to eliminate impurities, thereby enhancing the attractiveness of the contenders. This is not an even playing field. There are almost always more great candidates than there are great jobs, and the employers want the pool to shrink. You, however, want as many high-quality options as possible. For that reason, be judicious with your use of filters. Keep them at a minimum, apply the most important ones first and insert the others at the end, if you have that luxury.


7. Interviewing empathy. Many things influence your decision. There is much that you care about. However, as focused as you are on what matters to you, you must also have an appreciation for what matters to the interviewer. What does the company need? What are its priorities? What does the interviewer care about? What are the hot buttons? Your sensitivity to those issues is called interviewing empathy. Without it, you will be hard-pressed to make the personal connection necessary to convert the interviewer from an adversary to an advocate.


8. Q&A. Every conscientious job seeker knows the importance of the A. Anticipating, preparing for and practicing Answers to questions is standard operating procedure. It’s the Q of the Q&A that causes many interviews to fail. Answering questions well is critical, but are you also prepared to ask them? The questions that you ask may be the most powerful tools in your transition toolbox. Not only do they help you gather information about the job and company, but also, if chosen wisely, they will also allow you to show interest and build empathy. Subtract either of those and the problem solves itself – there will be no offer to consider.


9. Social media. This is a powerful job-search tool, but it comes with risks. Although it’s a great way to research companies and develop your network, it’s also an easy way for companies to check you out. Googled yourself lately? When was the last time you did some housekeeping on your social networking pages? Are you on Facebook? Will it make an employer more or less interested in you? Inventory those pictures - are you comfortable sharing them with a boss and co-workers? Do you have a presence on LinkedIn? You should. In addition to crafting a profile that represents you well, identify and join any special interest groups that have the potential to expand your network.


10. Close. Interviewing is selling. You are the salesperson. You are also the product. The company you want to work for is the customer, and this customer has a need. You want to fill that need with your product. You package, promote, advertise and market yourself. You have stiff competition - there are many products available that will satisfy that need. You identify the need and find yourself in a position to sell yourself. You make your pitch, give it your best shot, go home and wait for the good news, right? Wrong! You forgot the most important part! You forgot to close. If you want the order, you have to ask for it. Do you think this customer is going to call you and say, “May I please buy your product?” Fat chance. You must ask for what you want – the job (if you are ready to accept) or the offer (if you are not yet certain). Fear of failure stops many job seekers from doing this. Sure, if you do not ask, they can’t say “no,” but they can’t say “yes” either.


Thanks for your service and GOOD HUNTING!


Tom Wolfe is a Career Coach, Columnist, Author and Veteran and can be found at


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