Thursday, January 20, 2011

Retirement is a Four-letter Word in the Military Transition Job Search

You are proud of the fact that you served your country for 20 or more years, as well you should be. However, this is not something that you should broadcast when making the transition from your military career. The negative effects of using the word “retired” in your job search can be detrimental to the success of your transition.

The “retirement” stigma.When we hear the word retired, many images come forth. They bring to mind that the person is done with their career, that they are ready to play golf, or travel the country in a motor home. They indicate that the person is “retirement age” – even though many military retirees are only in their forties. This perception may cause involuntary age discrimination. Age discrimination can be based on fear of the candidate’s lack of energy, unwillingness to learn new skills and technology, or that they are so advanced in their career that they may demand a higher salary.

A perceived lack of flexibility.There may be a perceived lack of flexibility for military retiree. If an employer hears that the service member has only known military life, they may doubt their ability to make a smooth transition. You must demonstrate that you are embracing the civilian work environment and prove your adaptability. In addition to avoiding the word “retired”, this can be achieved by translating your military skills to civilian language, avoiding acronyms and military terms, and transitioning to the civilian method of stating dates and time.

Salary negotiation considerations.Another consideration is the fact that when you retire from the military, you receive a pension. If an employer knows that you are already receiving a healthy pension check, they may be more likely to offer you a lower salary. Don’t bring up the fact that you are retiring, and this will not become an issue in the salary negotiation process.

Don’t subject yourself to these red flags and stigmas. Instead of calling yourself retired from the military, mention that you enjoyed a successful career in your particular branch of the military.

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