Cameron-Brooks Alumnus Provides Advice on a Successful Career Search

I recently received this e-mail from a Cameron-Brooks Alumnus who transitioned from the military to corporate America at our June 2010 Career Conference.  I asked him to post a Review on Facebook, but I guess I learned not all people are on Facebook as he does not have an account.  I thought the blog would be a good venue for his letter to other Cameron-Brooks Candidates.  He added his contact information at the bottom in case you have questions for him.


To the Cameron-Brooks Candidate


Hopefully you have started your preparation several months out, but if this is not the case, then buckle down and stay positive!  Your attitude is your altitude.  In your preparation, I suggest modifying your lifestyle early.  This doesn’t have to mean withdrawing yourself from the responsibilities of being in the military, but refocusing the use of your personal time.  David Bach, the author of Start Over, Finish Rich teaches a concept called the “Latte Factor”.  I believe this concept can be applied to the way people manage their personal time.  Time management in the civilian sector is a topic for great discussion.  Follow the program and learn to reflect on how you have accomplished such amazing tasks in the military.  You want to take time to examine your weaknesses and failures and what you learned from them.  Preparation is about understanding what you have to offer.  Why do you make a great fit for this job position and company?           

Reading program-

The Reading Program is critical to helping you build the linkages of that between the military and the civilian sector.  Careful evaluation and judgment is placed into organizing a selection of books for your recommended reading list.  It is a different language.  During your interviews the companies will assume you have read these books and you wouldn’t want to disappoint a potential opportunity.  

Conference experience-

This experience was both intense and exciting.  Stay calm, listen to the Cameron-Brooks team and follow their instructions.  It is going to seem like they are taking a lot of your preparation time, but they have been doing this for years and their methods work.  Consider both the benefits and the concerns you might have with bringing a spouse.  I saw spouses at the conference that were trying to be helpful, but only added stress to the process.  You know your relationship better than anyone. 

Rehearse your flashcard questions thoroughly, and try to get as much feedback from sit-down sessions.  Be early, the first one and stay motivated to listen and learn.  You want to be balanced, excited but not too excited, confident, but not too confident.  You don’t have to fight for anything.  The one thing that will destroy your interviews is anything that can be interpreted as negativity.  Recruiters are coming to the conference to find well-balanced, professional leaders that they can visualize enjoying the job that is being offered and be a fit for the organization.  I felt like 95% of the questions during the conference were personality questions or flashcard questions, not to discourage you from studying the companies.  I was shocked that companies didn’t ask more questions focused on what you knew about the company.  I mean, you are given all this information about the companies with only two days; shouldn’t you stay up all night getting to know everything you can about them?  I refer you back to Cameron and Brooks. Trust their process and get some sleep!  Don’t go into an interview looking tired!  Time management is the keyword here.             

Follow up-

You have less than a week.  I recommend three things in preparing for the follow-up interview.  1) Don’t be lazy… you haven’t got an offer yet!  Get a book on the business.  2) Try to visit a store or location close to where you live.  Go learn more about the company!  3) Develop a tentative plan on how you would fill the position if hired.  You might not have time to do this for all your opportunities. 

Be prepared to give 7 years of prior work history on applications.  You need to be organized.  Also, when rental cars are mixed with 5 o’clock traffic, you might miss your flight!  Look for these conflicts and ask questions.  Be prepared for the company’s credit card to decline.  The airline you take out, might not be the airline you take back, look closely.     

Ranking of the companies-

You should know what matters the most.  Money is going to be important.  You might feel discouraged to talk about it.  Know that Cameron and Brooks did this homework for you already.  If you are the “best of the best” then remember that Corporate America has bonus and incentives.  Are you ready to show results?  Don’t look at the base pay and dismiss an opportunity.  I would imagine all companies expect you to show results first.   

Cameron-Brooks Agreement (exclusivity)-

Integrity.  You can’t give a 100% if you are spread too thin.  Cameron and Brooks will never say don’t talk to anyone else.  You will have this opportunity, but you have to focus on the process, prepare without self-inflicted distractions by other commitments you created.  You will not get the full benefit from the process.  Why go if you’re not going to be available for the opportunity? 

Developing an effective search strategy- 

Opportunity, Business Growth Rate, Profitability, Base Pay, Location… you will have to decide what is most important to you.  This will help guide your search strategy.  Decide what it is early.  Discuss this with your family and see what they think.  Visualize your career, not what you look like carrying a brief case to work every morning.  Do you want a desk?  Do you want to get your hands dirty?  Are you willing to do both?  Ultimately, what is going to drive you to wake up every morning (even on bad days) and give a new energy to drive results?  Put into words what you believe and say it to people who know you best, see how people respond.  Is it sincere?  Do people believe you?  Are you emotional or professional?  Knowing what motivates you will drive you to success.          

Randy Michael

Warehouse Manager

Carrier Enterprise, LLC.

South Central Region – South Zone

Port Allen Facility (work e-mail) (personal e-mail)