Ask for a Reference, Not a Job

Avoid the awkwardness of asking a network contact for a job by asking them for a reference instead.  It’s tempting for military job seekers preparing for the military to civilian transition to employ a script similar to the following:

“Hello Joe.  I am getting out of the military soon… Are you hiring?”

The only thing more awkward than answering this question is having to reply “no” to it.  So consider asking for a reference instead:

“Hello Joe.  I am preparing for a post-military career change and would love to use you as a reference.”

With any luck, Joe would be honored to have been selected as a reference and happy to do a good deed.  Because he now has an invested interest in your military transition,  he might even ask you for a copy of your military resume and begin to actively look for job opportunities on your behalf.

We advise our clients at that networking should be a main component of an effective military job search strategy.  Networking is a highly effective method of getting military resumes noticed and uncovering the “hidden” job market.  But use your network wisely by asking for references, not jobs.  And remember that a reference should know you well, be trustworthy, and have a copy of your military resume to refer to if called upon.