Finding a job after leaving the military can be tough.
Tim Lupfer, 69, retired from the army in 1992. Since then, he has put his focus on business. He has helped companies from a wide variety of industries in establishing ethics and compliance programs and in developing codes of conduct. Here are his top 8 tips to find a job if you're leaving the military...
Research the new culture
Review companies’ websites and read company reviews on Glassdoor.com.
Evaluate your experience
Translate what you do into what business people will understand. Note the number of people you led and the dollar amount you handled. You may have to do some research and ask some questions to get these answers. This translates to the level of responsibility you have had, and that is something business people understand.
Talk about NOW
A company wants to know what you can contribute to them now. They are not interested in your potential. They want you to articulate precisely how you can lead, how you can handle the supply chain, outline your data analytic skills, and so on. You must show the value you bring right away.
Finalize your new location
The government owes you one relocation, so while on active duty, go on interviews, visit places you may want to settle in. Then make a decision and start job hunting in that specific region. Saying you’ll move anywhere is too broad. Fine-tune it to one place or two before you depart, and then you can zero in on jobs in that region.
Show your leadership
Picture the people you are presenting yourself to in an interview or in a resume, as the parents of someone you would lead in the military. You want to come across as a leader they would trust with their children. You have learned to take excellent care of your subordinates. You won’t find many people doing this well in the business world, but noting how you are an outstanding manager of people is an excellent way for you to shine.
Talk to people who have made the transition. Make as many contacts as possible. Ask about their transition and a few inquiring questions about their job and what their company is like. This will help educate you more on the world you are entering and allow you to be able to communicate more effectively with business people. You should go to LinkedIn.com, set up a profile and search out veterans.
Talk their language in the interview
A lot of military people try to save their leave so they can get paid for it after separating. It’s wiser to use some of this time to go to job interviews. You’ll need to not talk like you would to fellow soldiers. Don’t say “yes sir, yes ma’am” as that isn’t how business people converse. Dress as they do. Talk like they talk. Do not use any military jargon or acronyms. Don’t say, “I commanded a company,” say, “I led 100 soldiers.” Be careful about discussing combat or warfare experience as the business person is very far removed from this and doesn’t want to hear about bombs and killing the enemy.
Lose the military look
Invest in a new suit and business-casual clothing meaning for men dress slacks, collared button-down shirts with long sleeves, and some nice shoes. Grow your hair out just a bit. You don’t want to reinforce the stereotype of military people. Women should buy some conservative dresses and skirts, a business suit, dress pants and sweaters or blouses that aren’t see-through. Be sure to have a contemporary hairstyle. And be friendly with a firm handshake and warm smile. It would help if you were engaging, and not quiet.
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