As interesting as these pandemic times are, it is easy to get frustrated and stop the military transition process. Instead, take the following steps to adapt to the changing environment and work towards ensuring your success as you depart the military.
FIND THE HELPING HANDS
Begin the journey by finding your sage. Seeking out at mentor is even easier than you think. There are great organizations benefiting service members with their advice and assistance for free. Start with American Corporate Partners who help with mentors. Reach out when you’re a little over a year from transitioning and they’ll partner you with someone in their mentorship program. Hire Heroes USA helps with resumes and assisting you through interviews or check out other veteran resume tips.
USO Pathfinders provides seminars, and the US Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring our Heroes connects transitioning members with state and local chambers and strategic partners from the public, private, and non-profit sectors. Hire Military is another great resource that is more than just a job board as it provides access to internships. Lastly, there is plenty of information on G.I. Jobs Top 100 Military Friendly Companies, be cognizant that companies pay to make the list but must maintain a growing number of military hires to remain on the vetted list.
DETERMINEDLY START VIRTUAL NETWORKING
With mentorship, information, and your mentor at the ready, ensure you’re narrowing your search within a locality where you’d like to live or find a mentor with a background in the areas of your interest. Start the diving into researching potential companies you’d like to work for based on the work you’ve already compiled. Then start expanding your virtual network. Connect with people in your targeted companies and start interactions through LinkedIn or on virtual networking events. For example, if you’re interested in the cyber field ensure you’re looking at organizations like AFCEA. Build those relationships. Lips have never uttered, “I networked too much, or I wish I hadn’t started my transition so early.” Researching professional organizations to build network further.
FIND COMFORT IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA
Practice your pitch. Unfortunately, as we wait for baseball season to get underway, you can see the productive output of your own pitch. Clearly, calmly, and concisely articulate what career you are interested in and a synopsis of your value. As the military encourages rehearsals, this is an area where you need to spend time preparing. It is not just a one and done; work on several pitches. Because the majority of jobs are filled via networking, you’ve got to work on getting out of your comfort zone and find those networks where you want to land. Stop focusing on where you are in the military, work to network outside of your comfort zone.
INCREASE YOUR VIRTUAL GAME
That means technologically go to where hiring managers or recruiters are; because face-to-face interviews are now rare you can make a first great impression by sending a video about yourself with your resume. Create something that generates a positive screening of your resume for forwarding to human resources or hiring authorities. This video will help you rehearse that pitch too. It prepares you for participation in virtual job fairs. As this likely becomes the norm, look at how others are doing their preparedness virtually.
Remember, it took several months for you to make it through basic training or years through a commissioning source, give yourself the grace and time to make it through this transition as well. Some of you have worked for a half dozen years, others continued through to retirement from the military and are now starting the next chapter in your life. This next step need not appear as daunting but instead regenerative. Own your transition and learn the new skills valued in your next environment.