Posted on Jul 21, 2014
Capt Richard Desmond
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Since we can all agree that TAPs or whatever the other service's transitioning programs are vastly inadequate, what piece of advice would you give that the military should be giving you. My answer would be networking, networking, networking. Sites like this and Linkedin may be a pain sometimes but it is essential. Statistics state 60% of individuals gain employment from networking versus blind resume sites like Monster Jobs.com. Sometimes the adage, "It's all about who you know," rings true.
Posted in these groups: Military civilian 600x338 TransitionGetakwwcoach MentorshipCollege advice Advice
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CPT All Source Intelligence
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Edited >1 y ago
There are a lot of good threads here on this subject so search them out.

My advice: IGNORE anyone who tells you that, "you will have no problem finding work because you have a master's degree, graduated Magna Cum Laude, are a minority, have a disability rating, have a high level security clearance, know everyone under the sun, are an officer, have outstanding computer skills, can play the accordion, bake an amazing bundt cake, whatever..." Get ready for a big yawn. It will NOT be easy no matter what you've got going for you (nor will it be automatically harder if you've got some things going against you...but it's still going to be crazy hard). All of those things I listed are true of me and it still took me 8 months and near starvation to find a crappy job. I worked the crappy job for two years before finding a good one.

I feel like I wasted the first two months fiddle-farting around believing that this was going to be easy (and spent money like my new job was right around the corner - it wasn't) and then wasted the next two months after that feeling sorry for myself. Skip over that part!

Also, don't let anyone (including yourself) convince you to give up. By give up I mean take a dead-end job that will not be a stepping-stone to your desired future. Lots of my friends ran their mouths saying, "if I were in your shoes, I would take anything, even Taco Bell" [disclaimer: I love Taco Bell!], DON'T. Maybe part-time at night, but remember what COL Vincent Stoneking said: looking for work is your new full-time job. If you take a different full-time job, how will you get time off for job fairs, interviews, and the like? You'll be stuck. Yes, I took a crappy job, but it was a crappy job with a DoD Contractor that held contracts for stuff I wanted to do and the job was located at the place I wanted to work. It was a foot in the door that I would have NEVER gotten if I had kept applying to only the jobs I felt didn't offend my dignity (your "dignity" and a dollar still won't buy you a cup of coffee - remember that!)
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COL Vincent Stoneking
COL Vincent Stoneking
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I've got to second what CPT (Join to see) said about accepting interim jobs, but with maybe a different twist.

I am a fan of Mike Rowe, and believe that ANY job is worthwhile, if you do it well. I also believe that you generally look better to a potential employer if you are already employed, unless the position is a total mismatch (working as a security guard, applying to be an accountant).

All of that said, looking for the RIGHT job is a full-time job. That means that if you are working somewhere "temporarily", then you are working TWO jobs, potentially with both of them being full-time. That requires a lot of commitment. Sadly, what I see more often than not is that once somebody has A job, they quit putting in the effort needed to get THE job.

Of course, there are exigent circumstances (the rent is due, food is nice, etc.), but the best bet is to have the job hunt be your PRIMARY job until you get the one you want.
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COL Vincent Stoneking
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In order to not repeat what I've said elsewhere, I'll give two pieces of advice I don't think I've hammered home.

1. Decide what you want to be when you "grow up." This doesn't necessarily mean you next job, it means your ultimate goal. You may well not get THERE, but you'll get closer than if you didn't plan. "Plans are useless, planning is essential." or some version of the quote.

2. WORK. The job search process should be a full-time thing, not something that you do occasionally or in spurts. I am a big fan of the "What color is your parachute?" book, but if you ignored all of the book both this one little bit, you would be ahead of 95% of job seekers. You are in the process of determining what you will do with the majority of your waking weekday hours for the next several years at least, what standard of living you will have, etc. If you take it with the seriousness it deserves, it is easily at least a 40 hour a week gig to look for a job. Before an interview, you can easily put in 10-16 hours with company research, interview prep, interview rehearsals, etc. Before an application, resume rewrites (resume should always be tailored to the job & industry), Cover letter drafts, research of company, etc can easily take 5-8 hours. Networking (which is work in this case) can take 15-20 hours easily. Add on working with a recruiter or really scouring high-quality job posting sites can take another 5-10 hours. So... If you Network, look for jobs, send out two applications, and have one interview a week, you are looking at 40 hours on the low end.

I am often struck with the fact that most people seem to put more rigor into planning their summer vacation than they do into getting the job that will pay for it. And we've hardly touched on the distinction between a job and a career...

Or luck into the right job. It does happen occasionally.
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CMDCM Gene Treants
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Unless you are locked into one Geographical Location, put your HHG into storage and look around. The grass may really be greener somewhere else. To often we lock ourselves into living in a place just because we are used to being there. If you have the flexibility to take a year or two off and travel to find out where you really want to live and where you can live for the rest of your life do it.

The best thing we ever did was sell our house, move into our RV and travel for 2 years before we settled down for the rest of our lives. Living in Norfolk, VA would have been easy. Getting out and looking for the place we wanted to settle was HARD. It took planning and courage to abandon our NEST and get away fro it all. If you take the time to plan it, it is much more that just a vacation.
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