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Transition Talk

by Mike Arsenault, Vice President of Candidate Services

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Bradley-Morris answers questions from transitioning military job seekers.

Q: I will be transitioning out in three months and I feel embarrassed to tell you that I have no game plan. I don’t know what kind of job I’m best suited for, or even what I want to do as a civilian. I don’t know where I want to live, and every time I look at the job boards I feel even more overwhelmed. Do you have any advice?

A: Thank you for your question. Yes, the transition from the military can be a frustrating and overwhelming experience. However, know that millions have done it and tens of thousands of service members go through this process each month successfully. So with that said, I can address some of the parts of your question individually.


First, not knowing exactly where you want to live can be a good thing when it comes to transitioning! There is perhaps no other facet of your transition that will open up more job opportunities than being flexible in terms of where you want to live. Also, consider that you are in a unique position in that the military will cover all or a large part of the cost associated with your last move.


This is usually very attractive to potential employers, and I would encourage transitioning military job seekers to continue to keep an open mind in this area.


You say that you feel overwhelmed when you look at job boards - I don’t blame you. Job boards are a vast sea of data, and it’s easy to get lost, or worse, spend all your time applying for jobs online that may or may not actually exist.


Job boards do make it relatively easy for you (and thousands of others) to apply for advertised opportunities. As such, this should not be your only strategy. A recent study by our firm showed that fewer than a third of veteran survey respondents found that a using a job board helped them secure their first civilian position after the military. Your job transition plan can contain job boards but should also include military placement firms, military job fairs and TAP/ACAP seminars and job fairs. You should also be networking to try to find a military connection in an industry you might want to work in or a location where you think you might want to live. Try the VFW, call former military colleagues who have already made the transition and reach out to military associations such as AUSA, MOAA, Marine for Life, etc. You can also do virtual networking with military groups on LinkedIn.


As in the military, any successful mission requires a well thought out game plan, which begins and ends with your end goal - a new career.


You have three months to complete your transition plan. Aside from keeping an open mind about geographic preferences and using a variety of resources as discussed above, what are the other steps you should plan for?


I would recommend viewing some of Bradley-Morris’ transition seminar videos which can be found at http://www.YouTube.com/BradleyMorrisInc. Specifically, Career College (CC) 201 discusses the transition timeline and the steps required, but you may want to begin with CC 101 which is an introduction to civilian employment. Good luck and thank you for your service!

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 marsenault@bradley-morris.com.

Return to January/February 2016 Issue