Military Transition Timeline for Working with Recruiting Firms

by Jen Hadac, Senior Recruiting Partner

So you’ve done your research and have decided to include military recruiters in your career search tool belt.

Awesome! Now what?

I’ve been in your shoes. The whole military-to-civilian transition process can be daunting. It helps to understand the military transition timeline for working with recruiting firms. There are a million timeline check lists out there, but the main criterion is pretty basic:

Either you’re 120 days from starting employment or you’re not. Period.

Ninety days from employment is when employers want to see your resume, so this military transition timeline for working with recruiting firms gives you a 30 day grace period to get everything together. Every recruiting firm is a little different but this is a snapshot of what you can expect working with Bradley-Morris.

If you are more than 120 days of starting your next great career:

  • Remain calm. You are not yet in the window to be presented to employers. Most employers will not consider you a viable potential employee until you are within 90 days.
  • Start working on your resume. Ask your recruiter for samples and assistance. That’s what we do!
  • Work on gathering up the professional documents from your service that tell the story of your success.
    • Performance evaluations or awards
    • Transcripts (college / SMART) and your VMET
    • Names, numbers and email addresses for at least three professional references
  • Start thinking about where you want to be, geographically, once you exit the military. Be sure to keep an open mind on geography. The more you put a limit on where you want to live, the more you limit your career opportunities.
  • Create a budget. Know what you need to make in order to handle your current obligations.
  • Review your schedule for the next five months. Create a clear picture of when you will be unavailable, i.e. deployments / underways / prescheduled vacations, etc.
  • Create a list of potential employers / industries that might interest you. Consult the Military to Civilian Occupation Index for ideas of roles that might leverage skills learned during your service.
  • Keep your recruiter informed on where you stand with the above. Every recruiter is working with multiple candidates and will prioritize job seekers that are within that 90-day window. You will need to be proactive at this stage. Proactive communication will signal to your recruiter that you are a serious, squared-away candidate and will solidify your recruiter’s attention and commitment to helping you once you are within the interview window.

If you are within 120 days of starting your next great career, (terminal leave date or when you will be able to start a job):

  • You will need to have your resume done ASAP. Ask your recruiter for samples and/or go to “Training Module 2” in your BMI profile for assistance. Ask your recruiter about our dedicated resume and interview preparation team.
  • You should find and organize the following documents to prepare for the interview and screening process:
    • Performance evaluations or awards
    • Transcripts (college / SMART) and your VMET
    • Names, numbers and email addresses for at least three professional references
  • Contact your recruiter (they should be reaching out but being proactive is key) and go over your career search parameters again to ensure nothing has changed. Be prepared to have answers for the following questions:
  • Where are you willing to be geographically? Remember that certain industries and companies are only located in certain parts of the country; the more open you are with location, the more options we can present for consideration.
  • What type of work do you want to do? In-house Technician, Field Service Engineer, Production / Maintenance Supervisor, etc.?
  • How much money do you need to make? Pick the recruiter’s brain. They are well informed on market trends and what your background has been able to command.
  • What is your availability for interviews? Any limitations due to deployments, watch bill, etc.
  • Purchase and/or prepare interview attire and have it professionally cleaned/altered if necessary.
  • We recommend a dark business suit (black, navy or charcoal gray), white shirt, conservative tie and trouser socks for men.
  • For ladies, a blazer and matching pants or a knee-length skirt is preferred. Avoid distracting jewelry, plunging necklines and open-toed shoes.
  • Review and apply to open positions on the live BMI Job Board. This board updates on the half hour, when you see a role here it means we are actively looking for qualified candidates to present to our clients.
  • BE PROACTIVE (have I mentioned that enough?!). Talk to your recruiter. Ask them to send you the latest job listings. On any given day there are hundreds of open and active job orders in our systems. See what you match with. THE SQUEAKY WHEEL GETS THE GREASE!!!