Have you ever seen the movie Varsity Blues? There is a scene where the head football coach gets frustrated with a player trying to change up the fundamentals during practice. The coach grabs the player by the helmet and begins tapping his whistle on his helmet and saying, “Stick to the basics! Stick to the basics!” I have not seen that movie in 10+ years, but I have always remembered that scene. Sticking to the basics seems, well basic and boring to some, but there is a necessary foundation of fundamental basics. When one chooses to comply with the primary fundamentals of the transition process; success is always inevitable. As basic needs of the human body are essential to our livelihood, so are the basics of proper planning and understanding of the transition from the military. It cannot be adequately executed by ‘winging it’ or making up plays as you go. Winging it may get a single touchdown, but one goal cannot win the game. The ultimate goal is to win and winning starts with the fundamentals and creating a solid foundation. This solid foundation establishes an environment for successful growth and execution.
Your Transition from The Military
Your transition from the military and job search can happen at any time of the year. However, there are a few things you may not know regarding the structure in which a company hires, that could affect your timeline. For most corporations, their fiscal year ends in September, rather than the regular calendar year of December. Doing so allows organizations time to compile data and analyze the companies current finances and create an effective plan for the following year. The beginning of each calendar year, January, a company releases the budgeted funds to do much more than pay their marketing and overhead costs. They also estimate employment costs based on the growth and data acquired during the close of their previous fiscal year. Once all budgeting is in place, the hiring department can then get to work on posting potentially new job listings or the replacement of an existing position. On average corporations spend the majority of March through June taking care of all of their potential hires for the year. Though, this is not always how it goes, the majority of the time it does. There are still job listings online, so when I say that March through June is prime hiring season, I am only informing you of when most companies are doing the majority of hire for their business that year. As it gets closer to close of a fiscal year, it is not always wise to bring on new employees until they can evaluate their current year and analyze the risk of their potential loss/growth for the following year.
What To DO
I have some advice on how to combat this issue when you are considering getting out of the military. Make a long-term plan five years before getting out. If you have 6-months left and have not started your long-term plan, get to work on it, like yesterday! Once you have made a plan, stay focused. Find the answer to questions you should be asking yourself. Will you need further education for your next role? Do you have at least 6-months of expense payments saved up in case you do not secure a job as soon as you separate or retire? What if you have not guaranteed a new position, come separation date? Could you support your household until you did? All of these questions should be answered by the transitioning veteran. These questions will help alleviate unnecessary stress and help make the transition to civilian life much more manageable.
Looking At Your Resume
One of the most overlooked items needed for transition is a professionally written resume. A resume is not a military evaluation report. Until you have a quality product, it cannot be sent to potential employers and expected to get an interview. About 45% of transitioning veterans do not hire a professional resume writer and spend on average 6-months or longer looking for a job. Having a professional resume drafted allows you to begin applying for positions ASAP. A professional resume writer will also consult you on positions that may work best for you. He/she can also help you better understand the hiring process and translate your core-competencies and military training into civilianized job skills. If your resume is not delivering expert results, it is less likely to get a call back from hiring managers. You can save a lot of time if you invest in your future with a professional resume instead trying to plagiarize resume templates and examples from the internet.
Once you have made a plan, stay focused. Find the answer to questions you should be asking yourself. Will you need further education for your next role? Do you have at least 6-months of expense payments saved up in case you do not secure a job as soon as you separate or retire? What if you have not guaranteed a new position, come separation date? Could you support your household until you did? Discover the answer to these questions for your transition. Take ownership of your transition and don’t assume you can figure it out after you separate or on the fly. Get a plan in place. You may have ten ideas, and you need to get them on paper and find a concise plan to execute said plans. Don’t put this off for another day. Make time for proper planning; your future depends on what you do today.
- 6-months Savings
- Professional Resume
- 5-Year Plan (on front and back side of your transition)
- Create a Budget for Attire and Interview Expenses
- Find Mentors to keep you Accountable for Your Transition