By the time you are one year from transition, you should have decided what career path to pursue after the military, and you should have a plan to acquire the necessary training and certifications for that field. If you have not yet taken these steps, please read Veteran Transition Timeline – 2 Years Out.
At the one year mark, you should be very focused on gaining the skills, experience, and certifications you will need. In many career fields, one year out is not too late to start this process.
The first area to consider is skills. What skills will you need for your new career. Do you need formal training to gain these skills? Are online courses available to help you learn the skills? Can you teach yourself the skills from books, Internet research and hands on practice (this approach works better for web design than for brain surgery!)
The next area to consider is experience. While training and certification can be very helpful when changing fields, nothing beats experience. Consider whether you can get an assignment prior to leaving the military that will give you some experience. This may involve an additional assignment. For example, I volunteered to run our office network for my last year in the service and gained valuable hands on technical experience as a result. You can also consider volunteering at charitable organizations that may have roles similar to those you are seeking after the military. You could also seek a part time internship with a local company as a way to gain experience.
The third thing to consider is certification. Professional certifications are a way to show a potential employer that you have developed expertise in your field and can apply that expertise. If your chosen field has certifications you can pursue, this can be a big help for bolstering your resume.
Your resume is the fourth thing to consider. You should start putting together your resume. Remember that your resume should focus on achievements rather than assignments. Start putting your resume together early. And be sure to leverage all resources available to you such as your local transition office and friends and family to review your resume.
One year out is a good time to start interview preparation, too. Rehearse answers to common interview questions. Begin the Reconnaissance process to learn what companies are hiring and for what jobs in your chosen field. A great way to monitor this is to create one or more Job Scouts on MilitaryHire. JobScouts are searches that automatically search the database and notify you daily of any jobs matching your criteria.
There are many steps to take in preparing for career transition, but by taking these steps you ensure a successful transition to your new career!
Three steps to success:
Comments  by Sean Pritchard — Posted on Feb 23, 2015 in Veteran Transition