Give Yourself Time to Plan for Post-Military Success

Heidi Miller is a planner. A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, she’s now the Director of Military and Spouse Career Resources for Bradley-Morris/RecruitMilitary. But if she could turn back time, she’d start coordinating her transition even earlier and do more networking. “I thought that would immediately find ideal employment, but after hundreds of online applications and a handful non-ideal job offers, I found myself at a standstill and running out of time,” she said.

Miller credits the work ethic she learned while serving as a main contributor to her success as a civilian. “In the military, you are constantly proving yourself and trying to work as hard as possible to make your team/ organization better, sometimes even in combat situations. I learned the importance of sucking it up and doing what it takes to support the organization,” she said.

Having endured the interview process and now teaching interview preparation to veteran job seekers, Miller warns against making these mistakes during the hiring process:

• Coming into an interview with an arrogant attitude. “Sometimes you need to take a step backwards to move forward.”

• Getting nervous about the unknown, to the point where you’re not enjoying the interview process or putting your best foot forward.

• Picking a position based on salary or location, instead of finding that ideal organization. “Finding the right organization instead of just a position can best support finding the right career with upward mobility.”

• The inability to throw out military bearing and be an authentic, likable professional.

Instead, Miller suggests the following:

“An estimated 85% of jobs are found through networking, so put yourself out there, do not undersell yourself and consistently grow your professional network,” she said. “Reach out to those who have transitioned and are working in positions that spark your interest.”

Many companies offer bonuses to employees whose recommendations lead to a hire, so it can be well worth a contact’s time to talk with you. “Connecting with individuals from similar backgrounds can provide insight into how you will adjust and perform in similar roles and organizations,” said Miller.

###Be the Early Bird###
Miller encourages starting the transition process early, even by two years, so there’s time to do it right, without rushing. While time is available, she advises building a quality LinkedIn page, complete with an up-to-date resume. Additionally, start attending networking events and job fairs and take the time to start looking through job postings.

###Get Help###
“Lean on military recruiting firms, such as Bradley-Morris/RecruitMilitary, which are staffed mostly by veterans. They can place you in a great career and help support you during the transition process!” Miller added.