Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The 5 Most Common Military Transition Mistakes

I have been working with veterans and teaching career development skills to transitioning service members since 2007. In these years I have assisted thousands of veterans in the job search process as they make the switch to the private sector as a civilian employee. Below I have compiled a list of what I have seen to be the most common mistakes that transitioning service members tend to make in their job search.

Starting Too Late
In this earlier blog post, I detailed a timeline of the military transition process that started as far out as 18 months. There are some veteran's who don't have get the chance to start the transition process well in advance. However, if given the opportunity to plan your transition in advance, take full advantage of the time to get your plans together so you are not caught unprepared.

Lack of Planning
I meet veterans all the time who have no idea what career they want to target when they get out of the military. Writing a resume and entering the job search process without a target is like going fishing with the wrong bait - your chances of success are lowered immensely. Take the time time to figure out what you want to do, research the qualifications or education required in the field, and find out if what you want to do and where you want to live are a match in terms of job prospects.

Undervaluing Yourself
Whether you are a Chief in the Air Force or a Marine who has served for 4 years, by doing your research in advance, you will be able to identify your prospects and find out where your skills fit into the private sector. The military takes away the focus on the individual and highlights team accomplishments. While team work is important, give yourself credit for what you brought to the team and how you can add value in the private sector.

Not Taking Advantage of Resources
Most veterans don't take advantage of the multitude of resources that are available to them. For starters, go through your installation's Transition Assistance Program. It may be a week long, but it is full of relevant information that you can immediately apply to your job search. Also, don't let pride get in the way of utilizing the unemployment insurance benefits that may be available to you if needed. Check with your local transition office to find out what resources can help you, and take full advantage of all the resources to which you - as a veteran who served our country - are entitled.

Failure to Translate Your Military Skills
Keep in mind that less than 1% of the population has served in the military. It will be difficult for a potential employer to determine how you fit into their work environment if they don't speak your language. Here are some resources from a previous blog post that can help you ensure your ability to remove the military language from your resume and interview answers.

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