Getting out of the military can be a challenging time, especially for those who only served one enlistment and are heading to college. In my case, I dropped out of school in 2008 and enlisted, then in 2012 left the Marines and returned to college, except this time I had a new identifier permanently affixed to myself. I was now a veteran, but I had no idea how that one little detail was going to impact and alter how I behaved. I felt like I was equipped with a wealth of experience far beyond my peers. I’d gone to war, done some stuff, and now I was going to show these civilians just how easy they had it. Post-military life would be a cinch and I’d be making mad bank in no time.
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
Transition doesn’t end when you get that DD-214 and report to your first job or school. Trust me, nothing is more depressing than leaving the top of your game in the military and shifting into the civilian world and not getting that same feeling of respect, responsibility, and accomplishment. But, there are incredible opportunities out there for veterans who are willing to take charge of their transition and work as hard as or harder than they did in the military. Here are several ways to kick ass when you transition to set yourself up for a successful post-military life.
In our current economy, competition is fierce, and all for seemingly scarce opportunities. It’s not enough to have a resume and upload it to several online job boards. You have to be visible and actively engaged on social media. You also need a strategic plan, with a persistent approach to managing your personal brand across a variety of platforms. Another critical key to personal brand management success in this digitized world is human interaction. It’s absolutely imperative to get out and shake some hands, or to at least get on the phone and hold some compelling conversations.
At Hirepurpose, we have a team in the field meeting with transitioning service members and veterans at military bases all over the country. These guys talk to hundreds of service members on a weekly basis in different stages of transition out of every branch. They know what concerns military job seekers have about the civilian world, what mistakes they consistently make, and what keeps them from getting employed. We asked our team to share the most common pieces of advice that they give out at hiring fairs. Here’s what they said.