Bradley-Morris answers questions from transitioning military job seekers.
Q: I’ve been working on my transition plan and trying to zero in on companies that I think are a good fit for me. A friend says that I shouldn’t ignore a job if it’s a good fit just because I don’t like a particular company or industry. For instance, I really don’t want to work in the manufacturing sector because it doesn’t seem like a progressive industry. What do you think? Am I limiting myself? I just don’t want to waste anyone’s time.
A: Your friend is giving you good advice. Let me explain.
Many of the opportunities that military-experienced job seekers are candidates for transcend industries. This issue of Military Transition News is focused on transportation, but you can be a driver, technician or a warehouse manager in many different industries. The job function is largely the same, but the specifics of the industry are what changes and are what you potentially would need to be trained on. Your basic role would be similar. So his advice to focus on the fit of the position is sound.
The second point here is that it’s difficult to understand the full potential or ins-and-outs of an industry from the vantage point of an active duty service member. Yes, you should research as much as you can, but nothing can beat talking to other veterans who are in that specific industry. This might happen as part of the interview process, or prior to your transition as you network via sites such as LinkedIn. Reading business magazines such as Forbes and Fortune can also increase your knowledge base.
You should also consider a particular company or industry’s culture when you focus on the fit of the position. If a company has a casual company attitude and dress code, but you’ve always pictured your professional career to be more suit and tie, the job might not be a good fit for you whether or not your research has suggested that the company/industry is a “hot” one to be in.
Finally, the one big piece of advice that we give to jobseekers is “Win the Interview” even if you aren’t sure about a particular aspect (job responsibilities, company, location, industry, etc.) of the position. Why?
Because at Bradley-Morris, we’ve found a fifth of the successful placements we make are for unadvertised positions. Something is revealed in the interview process that sparks a hiring manager’s interest in the job seeker for a different role than what they were initially interviewing for. That role could be with a subsidiary company in another industry and exactly the type of challenge for which you were looking. You can’t turn down what you aren’t offered, so first win the interview and then see if any doubts can be addressed before you make a final decision.
P.S. A note about manufacturing: You will find many of the most progressive companies in the world are part of the manufacturing sector. For instance, Bradley-Morris is helping many veterans find positions with Tesla, the electric car manufacturer. It is for initial roles within a high-tech and cutting edge facility with a progressive culture and audacious goals within this market. The idea of manufacturing as a big window-less building topped with smokestacks producing endless widgets certainly does not apply here.
Mike Arsenault is Vice President of Candidate Services at military placement firm Bradley-Morris, Inc. He can be reached at (800) 330-4950 ext. 2105 or by email at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
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