4 Things You Should Do before You Leave the Military

By Christopher Pulley

This isn't a post to beat you over the head about your LinkedIn because that is an entirely different blog posting on its own. You've done your time, and just like that, your time serving in the military is coming to an end. It doesn't matter what branch of the military you served in, or whether you've done 4 years or 20 plus years, making the transition to the civilian workforce can be a stressful phase of your life. Although there is no way to completely eliminate the stressors that come with hanging up the uniform for a business attire, there are some things you can do to better prepare for the next phase of your working life.

1. Buy clothes! - Once I was able to mingle amongst civilians, it did not take long for me to realize wearing sweatpants, shorts, cut off tee shirts, and sneakers, is not acceptable attire on a regular basis, especially if you are pursuing a profession which requires business wear. I would recommend to begin purchasing clothing six months to a year prior to your departure (thats your ETS date for you Army veterans out there). Along with your day to day wear, it would help to buy clothing geared towards your next anticipated career. 

2. Business cards - Yes, business cards. Business cards can be a great conversation starter and an easy way to give a brief summary of who you are, how to contact you, and what your skills are. You can even include a link to your LinkedIn and your website! Speaking of website...

3. Develop a website - If you are not able to secure employment or pursue entrepreneurship, you will be on the job hunt. What better way to showcase who you are than with your own website. You can include your bio, your resume, or both, on screen. Employers can get a glimpse of who you are. Don't forget to include a professionally done headshot. Speaking of professional, don't be afraid to reach out to a professional writer for your biography as well. In addition to a professional writer, you may want to have a few friends review your bio to check for military jargon.   

4. Find a recruiter - Ok, shameless plug, but seriously, there is a recruiter that represents just about every industry you can think of. Recruiters can be a great source of information. From available career opportunities that are not published to the public, to career advisor, to interview and resume prep. The icing on the cake is most recruiters will provide these services for free. Take advantage!

By no means is this list all inclusive, but just a reminder to take advantage of every opportunity you have to make the transition as smooth as possible.  Good luck on your job search, and don't hesitate to reach out to a recruiter, wink, wink! 

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