Advice From Business Professionals for Transitioning Military & Veterans
We recently took to LinkedIn to ask fellow veterans, business professionals, and transitioning military members a very important question:
“As a veteran, what is the #1 thing you wish you had (or need now) to get started with your career?”
One week later and 152 people have chimed in. We took some of our favorite words of wisdom from these commentators to pass along to those of you who may be separating soon or others who are seeking a new career.
“Infantry skills aren’t exactly deal sweeteners for regular companies… the biggest thing Vets in that particular situation (without any civilian job skills) are gonna have to reinvent the wheel. They don’t necessarily have to re-invent themselves, as most of our character attributes are pretty well defined, we just need a different skillset to wield immediately.”
– Michael Cunningham, Co-Founder/Chairman of the Board at Warrior Circle
“I would want for someone to have told me that the core values, drive, focus, initiative, ability to adapt, and leadership skills I developed in the Infantry would lead to success in business and other aspects of life. “
– Roger Coventry, Director of Estate Services at Childers & Berg, LLC
“The #1 thing that I wish was available to me as a military member transitioning to a civilian career was a more immediately available and well informed/ well-connected career placement and “career guidance counselor” service. While there are some very successful executive recruiters that seek out the military, the process of finding the right firm to work with, establish a candidate profile and then decide what you want to do “when you grow up” was daunting.
… I hope that the accessibility to executive recruiters or job placement agencies has improved and I hope that the process to set up profiles and accounts with those firms has been simplified. More importantly, I hope there are immediate, user-friendly no obligation resources to help military members navigate through civilian career tracts/choices.”
– Jay Snyder, President at Bloomfield PDC
“I encourage returning war veterans to reach out to NC Outward Bound School. They offer a full-scholarship (including travel and lodging) for a week-long, group wilderness course. These courses, in Pisgah National Forest, the Everglades or Outer Banks, help veterans re-acclimate to civilian life with challenging hikes, ropes courses, rock climbing and other team-building efforts, as well as lengthy discussions about the challenges you face as you re-enter the workforce. “
– Jay Ahuja, Underwriting Sales at WTVI-PBS
“Learning to write your resume in civilian language is key. I’ve interviewed coached and placed vets and am stunned that their ‘career adviser’ helped design a resume that only a 20-year salty sailor could read. Not everyone does more than one enlistment; bring in a civilian resume and interviewing professionals to TAP classes and allow them to de-code all resumes.
Also, a civilian recruiter with a military background can speak wholeheartedly about what to expect regarding pay, a timeline to find a job, how to enroll in school to use VA Education Benefits and explain to people that standing at parade rest when waiting for the hiring manager is weird. Civilian social etiquette is just as important!”
– Kerri Tuttle, Staffing Manager at Professional Perspectives
“Veterans need to learn how to:
Until a Veteran embraces #1 and #2, #3 is often an inefficient and often wasteful use of time for all involved. I feel resumes are emphasized too early in the process, and a bit too much. Goal setting, including self-assessment and how to research potential careers, needs to occur before much time is spent on resume writing.
– Tom Cal, Investment Manager, and Analyst
“Ten different recruiters will give you ten different opinions about resumes; create the one that fits your style and can be modified to fit the position and culture. Don’t worry about a roadmap; you have no idea where the road will fork in your career path – just be prepared to evaluate the opportunities effectively. Life is made up of choices. Life’s tougher when you make poor choices. But a mentor, someone to “help” you mature into your position, responsibilities and the new culture of a new company? PRICELESS!”
– George Kendley, Manager, People PMO at Red Hat
What words of wisdom can you share with fellow transitioning military and veterans? Share them in the comments below!
Got an idea for a blog post? Let us know on Facebook or email Allison@valorworldwide.com
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