Growing up a military dependent forced me to move from one place to another. In the beginning, I hated the moves. It was difficult to leave my comfort zone, friends and everything that was normal to me behind. The moving got easier for me when I realized that there were other kids in the same boat; I wasn’t alone in my feelings. This was comforting to me and made the moving around easier. I began to view our moves as an adventure, a new place to explore, and a new chapter. As silly as it may sound, moving became a chance to “do-over”; an opportunity for me to make a fresh start.
Jennifer “Jen” Pilcher was the presenter on our February HIMSS Veteran Career Services (VCS) monthly webinar, Next Chapter – How to start “over” in a new career field , and it was awesome! Jen is a published author and professional blogger whose writings are based on her life as a Navy spouse. She is also the founder and CEO of Military One Click . During her February presentation, Jen offered the following suggestions:
- Begin your transition: It’s inevitable. You’re retiring from the military! Take all the course the military offers in regards to transitions. Draft a game plan or a timeline for your next move.
- Resume’: Seek a professional resume writer. Begin documenting your military experience, training, skills and awards.
- Social Network: Create your Linked-In Connect with everyone you know. These connections will help vouch for your experience. Consider getting a professional head shot to add to your linked page will add a special touch. (Complimentary photos will be offered to our VCS guests at HIMSS15 –visit the Hero’s Welcome Lounge for schedule)
- Proper Tools: You need business cards! Have your professional resume printed on resume paper. Always be prepared and have your business cards and resume’ available.
- Professional Dress: It’s very important to dress the part. Take the time to invest in a nice outfit or suit for interviews. You do not have to break the bank shopping. Consider exploring thrift shops.
- Job Fairs: Research the local job/hiring fairs in your area. When attending these fairs, come professionally dressed and be prepared for on the spot interviews. Bring your business cards and resume’.
- Prepare for your new career: Keep your “to do” list updated as things will change often. Research the organizations when applying for a position. Your research will help you understand their business and strategic plan.
Change is never easy. Transitioning from military service to a civilian career can be frightening. You may be leaving your comfort zone behind as you dive into unfamiliar territory. You should realize that you are not alone and with the right preparation, the journey will be easier.
How will you prepare to start your next chapter?