I was thinking given the leadership at Manager Tools has some military back ground and confident that there are followers that have made the transition I wanted to ask one big question.

What is the best advice you received that has led you to a successful transition into Corporate America. Have you used a "head hunter" was it worth it? and are you happy with their service?

Really looking for some general lessons learned, so feel free to post anything concerning military transition.




yolitzb's picture
Licensee Badge

Joe, I recently retired from the Air Force, tomorrow represents my 6 month mark in my new career.  Here are my general recommendations...many of which will sound familiar if you've spent much time with Manager Tools:

1 - Start your OPR/OER/FITREP and award/decoration documents.  Build your Career Management Document (and update it periodically) as the source for your resume.
2 - Remember your audience doesn't speak your current language.  Make sure your resume is in acronyms  
3 - Highlight your leadership and management experience...number of directs, budget, etc.  They are hungry for those with demonstrated experience.  State your accomplishments in terms of specific dollars saved or percentage increase in efficiency where ever possible...again in English.
4 - Buy the Interviewing Series.  Listen to it.  Even if you only execute a portion of the recommendations, you'll be well ahead of others.  
5-Understand yourself. Do the DISC tool, use it as a guide in describing yourself in the interview process and in assessing various opportunities.
6 - Know there are a ton of people who want to help you, LinkedIn has several groups dedicated to transitioning military members as do many professional organizations like Society of American Military Engineers (SAME).  Build and sustain your network of current and former colleagues...stay in touch with them. 
7-Have faith. Have fun, enjoy the ride. There is a rich professional life on the other side.  
All the best!


StllSmyln's picture


When my brother left the military four year ago, he asked my help in preparing him for the transition into a corporate environment.  Based on that single example, I’ll offer a couple of thoughts.

1.     Show no fear on your resume.  My brother was concerned that his resume was thin, primarily due to a lack of formal education.  Showing duty stations on four continents, three combat tours, and multiple accommodations (including a Purple Heart) is more than equal to four years at a small college.  Your resume is your avenue to an interview.  Make them want to talk to you.

2.     In the minds of most of us non-military personnel, your service represents dedication, sacrifice, and an understanding of mission.  These are invaluable qualities to an organization. All other things being equal, I’ll hire a vet every single time. Your attitude in presenting these attributes is everything.

3.     There are plenty of people out there who have served.  Use this to your advantage.  You’ll find an instant network; you need only tap into it.

4.     Finally, to reinforce YOLITZB, watch your acronyms.  A TDY at SAC is awesome, unless I have no idea what that means. 

Thank you for your service, brother.  Good luck to you.


svibanez's picture


I retired from the military nine years ago when the job market was a little better than it is today, but not great.  I was also very nervous, but I paid close attention to the advice I received from those who had gone before - most of it is recounted in the posts by YOLITZB and STLLSMYLN above.

After a few months of fruitless hunting, I did turn to a recruiting firm that specializes in placing military personnel.  I'm quite pleased with how that turned out for me.  One of the things they taught me to do was to be proud of my accomplishments while serving.  If you're like a lot of us, you look at them in terms of just doing what needed to be done - but many of them were truly noteworthy and you need to share them with potential employers.  Putting them in terms everyone can understand is the key.

As STLLSMYLN pointed out, there are a lot of people who will value your dedication, reliability, and focus on the mission.  Combining those qualities with a list of easily-understood accomplishments will help you get interviews.

If you do decide to go with one of the military-oriented recruiting firms, be open to their suggestions.  They regularly hold job fairs, which amount to a day of prep work followed by a day of interviewing.  If you're lucky, you can get several interviews in on a single day.  That day is pretty brutal, but it can pay off.  Even if you don't come away with a job offer, you'll have a few more interviews under your belt and you can use that experience to prepare for the next interview.

Thanks for your service, Joe.  Best of luck to you!

Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

As it happens, my time as a recruiter was recruiting military officers at Cameron-Brooks.

The JMO recruiting firms are very helpful to the officers they work with.  I helped thousands of people in my years there, and loved doing so.  My sense is that now there are firms that provide similar services to NCOs, and I encourage you to use whichever serve you best.

And there's a good beginner level book on Amazon, PCS to Corporate America.  It's a bit overblown, but so many folks make so many of the mistakes that this book addresses that it's still worth it.

Be careful of assuming that a transition due to resignation (for a younger person) is the same as a retirement.  The markets are different. 

If you send me your resume, I'll take a look as thanks for your service.  Please do listen to our cast with resume guidance first.


dschreiber's picture
Training Badge

I know this thread is older - hoping someone has some ideas for where I could volunteer my time to help individuals leaving the service transition and find work in the private sector.

I've reached out to a number of different people and organizations and have found it difficult to volunteer my time to work individually with someone where I can provide coaching and guidance. I am an experienced executive, a Manager Tools manager, and spend time coaching my own team to help them succeed professionally. I believe my experience could be used to provide individuals with guidance as an executive in the private sector on how to find jobs, sell themselves and succeed professionally where the only work experience they have would be in service to our country. In many ways translate the MT guidance to our veterans who deserve it.

If anyone knows of an opportunity to volunteer or suggestions of organizations to contact I would appreciate it.