Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Three Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Transition From the Military

I teach a monthly class for veterans who are preparing to transition out of the military. I am amazed at how many people go into the transition process flying by the seat of their pants. In this earlier blog post, I put together a transition schedule that starts as far out as 18 months.

The process of transitioning out of the military is long and arduous, whether you have served 4 years or 24 years. Going into your transition unprepared - especially when there are so many resources available - is never a good idea. Here are 3 questions you can ask yourself to help get prepared. These three questions may not be all you need, but take the time to carefully consider your answers in order to get on target to achieve your goals.

What do I want to do?
This is, hands down, the most important question you will ask yourself during the transition process. Chances are that you have held multiple positions in various career fields in the military. If you try to put together a resume that encompasses everything you will overwhelm the reader with unnecessary, irrelevant information. Once you have identified your target, you can do your research that will help you define your transferable skills into your new career in the private sector.

Where do I want to live and work?
It is very important to decide on your geographic location in conjunction with your research in your career field. If you want to be a cactus farmer, you will have quite a hard time if you want to move to Anchorage, Alaska. Use resources such as the Occupational Outlook Handbook (www.bls.gov/oco) and the O-net at onetonline.org to compare labor markets and ensure when and if you relocate, there will be openings in your career field of choice.

How can I demonstrate that I am qualified?
Once you have answered questions 1 and 2, you are ready to start marketing yourself to potential employers. Before you start identifying your selling points, you have to conduct research (bls.gov/oco and onetnonline.org )and do some early job searching to identify what employers really want to know about you.

Keep in mind that we are a distracted society with our minds going in all directions. Therefore, make your resume easy to read by targeting it to the specific hiring manager's needs. Once you know what skills you want to highlight, then you can bring out the Problem-Action-Result formula in order to demonstrate how you can positively impact an organization.

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