Seven things you must do so you have a successful transition from the military to the mainstream.
Circle each item below that you have completed.
1. Be Debt Free. You do not need the stress of needing to find a job to replace your lost income.
2. Have a minimum of two years living expenses in an account you can access. This is separate from your savings account. Do not count on your retired pay to magically appear without a mix up. You will also have a hard time adjusting to living on your retirement check no matter how prepared you think you are. If you plan on signing up for unemployment you will need to do your homework to know when you will be able to apply for unemployment.
3. Research the industry you would like to work. Ensure you have appropriate job skills, certifications, or degree. I recommend you start researching five years before you retire or two years before you transition from a first enlistment. This will allow you to get certified and gain work experience through volunteer work, part-time employment or OJT.
4. Network – networking should have taken place throughout your military career. Let people in your network know you are job hunting. You also want to solicit recommendations from each duty station or billet you held on your LinkedIn profile.
5. Be flexible and be willing to relocate. Remember, if you live in a military community you are not the only person making the transition. You are competing with hundreds of others for that one job.
6. Have realistic expectations. Often veterans do not want to face the hard truth. They are not qualified or the best qualified for their dream job. You must realize that applying for one or two jobs is not enough. You will want to refer to #3, #4, and #5 above.
7. Know your options. Do you have the GI Bill? When can you apply for unemployment, food stamps, Section 8 Housing, or free cell phone service? Where will you go for medical treatment? Will you use the VA Hospital or Tricare?
Count the number of items you circled.
Perfect score of 7 – enjoy your transition – but keep an eye on your spending and continue to network.
Score of 6 – enjoy your transition but work on completing the item you have not completed.
Score of 5 – enjoy your transition but be extremely careful with your money and continue to work diligently on the items you have not completed.
Score of 4 or below – consider postponing your transition until you are better prepared.
Coach Jaynine Howard is The Coach for the Military. She is a retired United States Marine on a mission to help others have a successful transition from the military to the mainstream. You can listen and learn each week as she hosts From the Military to the Mainstream.
You can learn more about career coaching services offered by visiting Write the Right Resume.com or contacting her directly at 910.539.2810.