Tuesday, April 5, 2011

3 Steps to Help Focus Your Military Transition

Military members preparing to transition to the civilian work force often feel as though they are a “jack of all trades, master of none.” As you prepare transition from the military, it is easy to become overwhelmed. The key to avoiding frustration and ensuring success is simple. You must define your career path before you even begin the process of leaving the military.

Find the best way to leverage your military skills.
You can leverage the skills you have gained in the military either directly or indirectly. If you choose to directly leverage those skills, you will stay in the same field, but change your career path to the civilian sector. For example, if your military career focused on logistics management, you can leverage the knowledge, training, and accomplishments you gained in the military to market your logistics expertise.

If you choose to indirectly leverage your skills, you will define the transferable skills you gained in the military that can be of use in a civilian career. For example, if you were a recruiter in the military, you gained extensive sales, presentation, and prospecting skills that would transfer to a sales or account manager position. In this case, your skills don’t change; they are just applied in a different way.

Identify your skills and recognize your strengths.
Your skills are based on the specific tasks that you performed on a daily basis. Your strengths are your talents, or those things that come naturally to you. Project management is a skill, while leadership is more of a talent. Take an inventory of your skills and strengths and make a list of at least 50 of your skills and strengths. If you find this process difficult here are some resources:

Do What You Are, By Paul Tieger and Barbara Barron
Now, Discover Your Strengths, by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton What Color is Your Parachute, By Richard Nelson Bolles

http://www.jobhuntersbible.com/ – an online job search resource hosted by Dick Bolles, author of What Color is your Parachute

http://humanmetrics.com/ – an online assessment of your characteristics and work preferences based on Myers-Briggs personality typing

Discover what makes you happy.
During your military career, you did not have much control over your career. You took the jobs you were assigned and lived where you were sent. Think of your post-military career as the opportunity to discover your passions – or what makes you truly happy. Recent studies show that the average adult changes careers – not just jobs – 5 to 7 times in their lives. Life is too short not to enjoy what you do for a living. Granted, we all have bills to pay. However, if you find the career that makes you happy, it is no longer work because you are doing what you love.

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