Are you starting to daydream? The wind in your hair and the base in the rear view mirror as you accelerate toward your new life? There’s nothing wrong with daydreaming about getting out. It’s vital to start exploring what post-military career path you will pursue — both mentally and financially. But there are some practical things that you MUST be doing in between those bouts of daydreaming when you’re one year to transition.
1. Take a Career Suitability Test
Take advantage of the free resources available to you. Your Transition Support Center offers monthly courses like “Do What You Are” and uses Myers-Briggs style profiling techniques to recommend suitable career paths. Pick up a book on the subject at the library, or use online testing through your prospective college or sites like My Next Move and 16 Personalities. It doesn’t matter how you do it. Just make sure you invest in your future happiness by taking the time to evaluate your daydream alongside your fit.
2. Register with a Placement Specialist
Orion International, Bradley-Morris, Lucas Group and Focus Military are some of the many firms that work with veterans. As with any commercial employer, evaluate if they seem to be a good fit and ask how they work. If they seem like a good match, use them to introduce you to the job market waters.
3. Start Leveraging LinkedIn
It is time to get serious about the number one online professional networking site and launch a strategic campaign to connect with people who work in the companies and career paths you are targeting. Set yourself a goal to connect with 10 to 12 people a month and make sure you take the connection further with at least two of them. Ask for advice, seek their recommendations or request an informational interview.
4. Meet with a Mentor
LinkedIn offers connections to industry mentors through the Veteran Mentor Network and organizations like American Corporate Partners have programs that connect you with business leaders. You could also reach out to someone you know. Just make sure you identify a mentor and start talking to someone who knows the lay of the land in this new civilian world.
5. Vet Your Social Media Accounts — Yes You…Right Now!
98 percent of hiring managers will google you before they bring you in for an interview. Google yourself and learn what a stranger can see. Consider more restrictive privacy settings on your profile, and remember that your first impression will not be made in an interview; it will be made online.
This article was originally published by G.I. Jobs Magazine. Check out the full article at http://www.gijobs.com/one-year-to-transition/