I talk to dozens of military men and women each day and often I hear the same response; I’m a year out from transitioning so I don’t need to start planning. Now, I don’t expect to get everyone to work with me but this response is indicative of a sense that it will be an ‘easy’ or ‘quick’ transition. Unfortunately, neither is the case with the majority of those who transition and still need to work. By only receiving 60% of your pay after retirement there is still a need for most Veterans to make up the other 40%. This doesn’t take into account giving back, sharing your experience, professional development or just keeping busy.
It’s ideal to start 12 months before you transition but 6 months is probably more realistic given existing protocols.
Here are a few things you need to figure out to jump start your successful transition NOW. I will post about this topic for the next 4 days. We’ll start with several steps found with ‘N’:
N – Networking for your Next Career.
First, you need to know what you want to do in your next career. This is usually determined based your training, interest, experience & how much money you’d like (need) to make.
If you aren’t focused in the transition process the search will be frustrating, be longer than necessary and you may end up settling. Don’t be forced to take the first job you come across instead of one on a direct path to your 2nd career.
What unique skills & experience did you bring to your role in the military? Is there a civilian job that stands out as a natural transition? Example A: Are you a recruiter? You can be sales manager, a talent acquisition professional or work in enrollment management at a post-secondary school. Example B: Are you a skilled technician? You can be a technician (that was easy!) a shop manager, or be a Help Desk professional. Example C: Are you a Commanding Officer? You can be an Operations professional, a Project manager or a Management Consultant.
These are simplistic examples of what you do NOW to what’s out in the civilian world.
Once you determine what you want to do then you can start Networking.
Look at every interaction as a connection like you do as you build your LinkedIn network. Every time your neighbor to your colleague asks you what you plan on doing, tell them! Remember from my previous post on Networking, I don’t like traditional networking activities so I have found opportunities to do what I enjoy and turn it into networking. All of your interactions can & should add to your professional network in some way.
Contacts can be: 1) people you can assist; 2) highly connected individuals who can put you in touch with hiring managers; and 3) most will be interesting people that expand your network. Everyone is a networking opportunity – it just takes more time to figure out connections with some people but they exist.
Who have you ‘networked’ with lately? I encourage you to help someone in your personal or professional network; go out of your way to make an introduction, offer a suggestion or pass along information that could help them. Put good out there & good will come back to you.
Join me tomorrow as I discuss “O for Opportunities”.
Your Transition Coach, Liz