11 tools for the transition toolbox

To be successful you must find and develop a contact at every one of your target companies

11 tools for the transition toolbox

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Elijah Cecil, 74th Aircraft Maintenance Unit load crew member, replaces tools in a toolbox during a weapons load competition, July 15, 2016, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. In addition to the weapons load process, teams were also judged on their job knowledge and adherence to Technical Orders and safety procedures. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ryan Callaghan)

Make sure these tools are in your transition toolbox:

Timeline. There are three phases to your search: preparation, execution, and decision. Start one year out. Months 12 through 5 are the preparation phase. Months 4, 3, and 2 are interview months. Month 1 is decision time. Month zero? Start your new job!

Self-knowledge. All of your research, knowledge of products and industry, and mechanical preparations will be for naught if you fail to know thyself. Do not overlook your weaknesses and failures. Your ability to discuss this subject shows self-confidence and creates empathy.

Work smart. Focus on organizations that have a history of hiring veterans. Chase someone who wants to be caught. 

Network. To be successful you too must find and develop a contact at every one of your target companies. Add all of those contacts together and you have your network. You either have contacts already in place or you will have to work hard to find and foster those relationships. Congratulations—your membership in RallyPoint has jump-started your network.

Homework. Researching companies was once difficult. The Internet arrived and we now have the opposite condition—it’s easy! Insufficient or inaccurate research is inexcusable. 

Filters. Your job search is a system of filters—those inserted by you and those utilized by the employers. Both parties use them to eliminate impurities, thereby enhancing the attractiveness of the contenders. Be judicious with your use of filters. Keep them at a minimum. 

Interviewing empathy. As focused as you are on what matters to you, you must also have an appreciation for what matters to the interviewer. Your sensitivity to those issues is called interviewing empathy. Without it you will be hard-pressed to make the personal connection necessary to convert the interviewer from an adversary to an advocate.

Q & A. Every conscientious job seeker knows the importance of the A. Anticipating, preparing for, and practicing answers to questions is standard operating procedure. It’s the Q of the Q & A that causes many interviews to fail. The questions that you ask are your most powerful tools.

Social media. This powerful job search tool comes with risks. Although it’s a great way to research companies and develop a network, it’s also an easy way for companies to check you out. Do some housekeeping on your social media sites. Are you on Facebook? Will it make an employer more or less interested in you? Do you have a presence on LinkedIn? You should!

Close. Interviewing is selling – you are the salesperson and the product. The employer is the customer with a need and you want to fill that need. You package, promote, advertise, and market yourself. You make your pitch and close the sale. Ask for what you want—the job (if you are ready to accept) or the offer (if you are not yet certain).

Dive Deeper. Read Out of Uniform (2nd Edition; © 2018): Your Guide to a Successful Military-to-Civilian Career Transition (http://www.out-of-uniform.com) for a more in-depth discussion of the above tools and much more.

©2018, Tom Wolfe; all rights reserved; used with the permission of the author