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Bradley-Morris answers questions from transitioning military job seekers.
Q: I’m about 16 months from transitioning and I feel completely overwhelmed. Even with TAP and some of the hiring fairs, I still don’t feel confident that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. Can you provide some guidance on where I begin?
A: First off, the fact that you are thinking 16 months ahead about this important step shows me you are planning properly. I admire your initiative as you’re already ahead of the game.
One of the most important things for you to remember is that this is your transition and while many are transitioning with you, each of you will have your own unique personal transition plan. As you begin to develop your plan, make sure it’s fluid enough for you to make changes along the way as needed.
To get started, I suggest you get a calendar or create one on your smart phone using Google calendars or any other similar app. Label the calendar “Transition Plan” and begin to set goals and milestones. Additionally, if you have a family, get a three-ring binder, use tabs to separate out months and label it “Family Transition Plan.” Keep the family transition plan out in the open so that your significant others can add notes under pages you might label “Wish List,” “No Way,” and “Great Things Ahead,” “Samantha’s Page,” “Mom,” etc.
For your transition plan, make sure you include sections on Finance, Paperwork, Job Possibilities, Friends (who can help you with your job search and be references), and any other item that needs to be addressed. Always make sure that you have a deadline attached to each item.
One of the most trying and time consuming tasks is creating a civilian-ready resume due to the need to translate your military skills into civilian lingo. Your resume will be crucial not just now as you transition, but it will become a vital tool as you grow your career and add to it.
With regards to social media, LinkedIn offers an immediate connection to jobs and groups with people willing and interested in helping you get started. When creating your LinkedIn profile, make sure you use a professional headshot and not one cropped from a family photo and definitely not one that includes your kids, your girlfriend/boyfriend or any other family member. This is your page and that is how it is viewed by hiring managers and business professionals. Once your initial page is completed (and it will be fluid because there are opportunities to add postings, multimedia and more over time), join groups that can facilitate your transition such as veteran mentoring and groups that focus on the job role you’re interested in pursuing.
Lastly, and this is one that is often overlooked, make sure you have a professional email address such as Joe.Smith@gmail.com. Your email will be an important identifier of who you are, so don’t use something like PitBull@yahoo.com, Ladiesman@hotmail.com or JoeandMelanie@gmail.com and make sure your voicemail is appropriately professional as well.
Make an effort to visit your Transition GPS (Goals, Plans, Success) page to find more resources that will assist in this process. Best of luck!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Return to May/June 2016 Issue