Posted on Dec 11, 2013
SGT Ben Keen
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One of the things I get to do and love doing is help Veterans find success while transitioning from the military to civilian life.  As most of you know, this transition is not easy.  With the economy and current job market, finding a job is not easy but it is possible.  Finding a job among the countless others bidding for the same position is a fine art.  Sadly, there is a pretty big learning curve to it.  

In this discussion, I am interested in seeing what tips and tricks others have used to help successfully transition into the civilian sector.  What was one thing you did to set yourself apart from the others?  Is there something you learned that you wish you would have known ahead of time?
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Responses: 11
CW2 Joseph Evans
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Finish the degree while you are in. Any degree.

Use your benefits, GI Bill, Veteran Retraining, disability... Use them, it makes a difference.

It is a different culture, use that cultural sensitivity training until you know the new left and right limits.

Service Values apply in the civilian world and take a little time to add humility to the list.
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CPL Rick Stasny
CPL Rick Stasny
7 y
I encourage any veteran to explore the use of their GI Bill to supplement their income by means of an apprenticeship. You can draw benifits for two years, while you gain experience when you have to start at ground zero. Also if you were in a hard to fill MOS you may qualify for a "kicker" that increases the amount you can draw each month. Not a bad supplement for filling out one piece of paper a month.
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SFC Rich Carey
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One of the biggest items that helped me to transition was to pay off all
bills prior to exiting.



-A big problem I see with most Veterans is their RESUME. I have reviewed
resumes from O-6 on down and they write as if they are in the military, civilianize
it.



-Another area of concern is focus, I have heard many times when I ask this
question, What type of job do you want to do? "I don't
know............" Know what you want and scale it down to 15 seconds,
elevator speech.



-Don't underestimate the power of networking, 85% of jobs are found through
someone you know or meet.



-Go to a job fair not looking for a job. ??? WHAT?  Type up some resumes visit different
industries at the job fair, ask them about their company. You are researching.
Then ask them if they have a moment to look at your resume and make some
suggestions. Let them write on the resume or you write what they tell you.
Thank Them and don’t try and justify or dispute them, say thank you. Go home
make the corrections and apply online.

 



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SGT Ben Keen
SGT Ben Keen
8 y
Yeah, I think we have a hard time writing our resumes in a format that makes sense to civilian employers.  I helped a SPC in the spring with his resume.  When I first looked at it, I was shocked yet amused to see that he listed "Winning hearts and minds of Iraqi people".  Listing awards on your resume is also a topic I have debates with people on.  Personally, I say leave them off but I can see the point of listing a few.  However, if you are going to list them, you need to provide something saying what you did to earn them.  Civilian employers first off don't understand what these medals are let alone what we did to earn them.  So yes, if you earned a medal for doing something that boosts your skills in the workplace go for it but I don't see a reason to list things like Oversea Service Ribbons and the like.
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LTC Supervisor Immigration Services Officer
LTC (Join to see)
7 y
Excellent advice. I recently was on a hiring board for a federal agency, non-military. Because one candidate knew our organization has a healthy population of veterans, said candidate was very militaristic. She was not sensible about her approach to landing the position because of her resume presentation, as well as her interview presentation.
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SSG Global Service Manager
SSG (Join to see)
7 y
SFC Rich Carey , I could not agree more with you pertaining to resumes. I would even go as far as saying that a vet needs to continuously review their resume to see if it supports the role for which the individual is applying. I am not saying to lie on a resume, I am saying if an individual has skills that apply directly to the role they should review their resume and ensure that the skills are highlighted. One thing to remember is that most HR departments utilize automated resume search tools, which use keywords to identify potential candidates.
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SSG Mike Angelo
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Do research your community and organizations that you would like to work.

Set realistic goals.

Be a self starter.

Keep the high expectations and fantasy island what ifs quiet.

Set limits and boundaries on what you like and dislike, be readable to others.

Attitude check. Keep a positive energy field.

Get up for Early Motivation on Mondays. Civilians are energized on Monday mornings so be cautious.

Do not go into a situation where you demonstrate a chip on your shoulder, just because you are a veteran. You are in their, civilian, work environment neck of the woods.

Be prepared to defend your skills, knowledge's and abilities and/or education.

Demonstrate a personal passion for those skills you bring to the table.

Be humble learn.

Maintain your health

Get used to your name. Joe Smith versus Sgt or Captain Smith.

Or let the civilians create a nick name for you.

Stay up on your current events.
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SP5 Rod Cross
SP5 Rod Cross
7 y
Waste Management, Inc offers a wealth of employment opportunites for qualified personnel tranisitioning from the military. Candidates interested in seeking employment should visit our website at http://www.wmcareers.com. They may also contact Rod Cross at [login to see] .
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