Transitioned senior military officers, recruiters, and federal job-placement specialists who participated in MOAA's recent Military Executive Transition Seminar share their top career-search advice:
- Focus on your alignment with the skills, experience, and education specified in the position announcement.
- If targeting federal employment, don't overlook the 30 agencies that don't post on USAJobs.
- A job application without connections equals rejection; build internal support for your candidacy through diligent networking.
- Build a civilian bio and use it as a read-ahead for your network development. (Read “How to Write a Professional Biography” for help getting started.)
- Always have questions ready for your interviewers. Possibilities include: What's a typical day like? How is employee feedback provided? What competitors most concern you? What are the next steps in the process?
- Maintain eye contact with all members during panel interviews, and write down their names if they don't provide a business card beforehand.
- Interviewers value resilience, flexibility, and passion.
- Always prepare your closing statement; make it clear you want the job.
- For those interested in entrepreneurship or starting a business, be clear on what you do and what you don't want to do. Imagine what your clients will need in five years, focus on that product or service, and insist on structure.
- After you land, keep reinventing yourself. Workplaces are always changing. Appreciate there are four generations in the workplace and each processes information differently and has unique work preferences.
Throughout the process, focus on balancing the competing imperatives of skills and experience, passion, and economic motivator. The best career transitions lie at the intersection of these three imperatives.