Six months left! Almost no time at all. You could stand on your head that long. You've certainly spent longer that that in worse situations than this. But don't let those six months just fly by. They are the critical time you need to spend to set yourself up for a successful transition.
At this point, you should have already decided on a career field and pursued relevant training and certifications. If not, don't dismay. You are behind the power curve, but you can catch up. Read the articles on what to do one and two years out. Keep in mind, if you are just starting the process of figuring out what you want to do, your options are a bit limited at this point. You should either focus on something where you already have the skills, can easily acquire the skills, or on jobs where on the job training is offered.
If you have not started your resume, this is the time to get serious. Make sure your resume answers the question “Why should I hire you?” Also make sure you call out your accomplishments rather than listing duty assignments. This can be a challenge for many service members. You are used to being a member of a team and not trying to grab the glory for yourself. But your resume must explain why you are a top performer as compared to your peers. Here is some help on how to identify your accomplishments.
Six months out, you should start focusing on specific locations you'd like to end up and specific companies you would like to work for. One way to do this is to create several JobScouts at MilitaryHire. Run a search for each of the locations you'd like to end up using keywords related to the jobs you are seeking. Save those searches as JobScouts by entering your email on the search results page. Each day you'll get an email with any new jobs in the area. Do the same for companies you are targeting. Read the job postings when they hit your inbox. This will help you get a feel for what jobs are out there and what the requirements are.
Now it's time to start tailoring your resume for each of the kinds of jobs you are seeking. Thinking about a role in Project Management? Create a customized resume. Considering first line management or team lead? You'll need a resume for that too. Considering sales? That's another resume. Start with your standard resume and create a focused resume for each kind of job you are pursuing. You can use the keywords you've seen repeatedly in your JobScout results. Here is more info on how to tailor your resume for a job.
After all this work on your resume, you may think you are home free. Not. At. All. The only purpose of the resume is to get an interview. So you'd better start practicing for interviews. The best way to do this is to buddy up with someone else who is getting out and start having frequent interview practice sessions. Make sure you rehearse your answers to common interview questions.
You should also start researching companies you are targeting. The more you now about the company, the better prepared you are for the interview. Expand your research to competitors and the industry as a whole to ensure you are well prepared to ask relevant questions during the interview.
You may be wondering whether you should start applying to jobs 6 months out. That is a bit early. Most companies will not consider you for a position more that 90 days out. So wait just a little longer to start applying. You are almost there! Keep focused and you'll have a successful transition!
Three steps to success:
Comments  by Sean Pritchard — Posted on Mar 18, 2015 in Veteran Transition