Leaving Active Duty? Smart Steps While Still Serving

Posted by Patra Frame

Transitioning military personnel often wait too long to start their career transition process. Some choose to completely avoid planning for job search but expect it will be easy to find a job. Even when you are in the midst of your current assignment, there are steps you can take to ease your transition and start your preparation for your next career adventure.

Start with the transition programs available to you in person or electronically. These are often dense with information and you may need to take more than one option to get all the details you need.

Build a plan – smart folks start 8-12 months before they intend to leave active duty. If you have less time, you will need to do more, faster. Start by figuring out your interests and goals. Then research what you need to do to achieve them. More here:

One aspect of research is finding out the skills you need for the jobs you seek. Your future career may require particular education, certifications or skills. Take advantage of all the classes and certification programs you can now.

If you do not have one, build a LinkedIn profile. Over 90% of corporate and external recruiters use LinkedIn in searching for or reviewing candidates. After you have built your LinkedIn profile, connect with those you are currently serving with and have served with. Once you separate, it may not be as easy to find your colleagues. Do try to find people you served with who are already civilians – they can offer a wealth of help with your job search.

If you have an active security clearance and are interested in government contracting work, find out when your periodic reinvestigation is due. You can’t change this date, but you can learn your options if your clearance is due to expire.

Most recruiters and companies only deal with immediate needs in hiring. Thus, there is little sense in applying for jobs more than a few months out. But do begin your research into jobs, locations, and compensation as early as possible. You are facing a major change.

  1. First, you have to really focus on a specific career and job arena and translate your military achievements into civilian speak to support your future.
  2. Second, you need to identify where you want to locate and what is available there in the field you choose plus what compensation is realistic.
  3. Third you need to learn enough to target organizations where you can succeed.

You know how to plan and execute – those are military basics. Apply those skills to your transition and you will be fine.

Patra Frame is ClearedJobs.Net’s HR Specialist. She is an experienced human resources executive and founder of Strategies for Human Resources. Patra is an Air Force veteran and charter member of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial.


This entry was posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 7:00 am

One thought on “Leaving Active Duty? Smart Steps While Still Serving”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of updates to this conversation